Although the basic idea is defined, the details are not and Spires says much about the demonstrator would not make it to a finished system. That includes the Volante’s continued use of its original five-speed manual gearbox. A fully developed one would switch to a single-speed drive. The concept is also passively cooled, so it’s unable to deal with the thermal loads of hard use. A production version would be actively cooled and therefore be both tougher and capable of supporting fast charging.
To call the conversion discreet is an understatement. Despite circling the DB6 twice, I can see precisely nothing from the outside to show that it runs on electrons instead of petrol. It even still has exhaust tailpipes, left on to keep it looking as original as possible. Only popping the left-hand fuel filler cap and seeing a charging port reveals the transplant.
It’s the same story in the leather-clad cabin, where the Volante keeps a comprehensive set of chrome-bezelled Smiths instruments, although only the speedometer now works. Spires says a production version would repurpose the other dials for EV-appropriate tasks. The concept also still has the controls for what is now a non-existent heating system.
Driving couldn’t be easier. Despite the presence of the manual gearbox, there’s no need to use the clutch to get rolling, or indeed once on the move. Spires tells me to select second and then to treat the car like a single-speed EV. Initial acceleration is less keen than I’m expecting it to be and it takes a good shove on the throttle pedal to deliver an Aston-appropriate level of urge out of the pits. There’s no traction control, but nor does it feel like there needs to be, despite the motor’s ability to produce big torque from standstill.