Aston Martin Chairman Lawrence Stroll Is Bullish on Internal Combustion

aston martin valhalla
Aston Chairman Stroll Outlines an ICE FutureAston Martin
  • Aston Martin will release the mid-engined Valhalla (above), its first plug-in-hybrid vehicle, by the end of 2024.

  • EVs are also coming, but based on a lack of consumer demand, they aren't coming until 2026 at the soonest.

  • Chairman Lawrence Stroll, whom C/D interviewed in New York this week, instead expressed excitement about an upcoming 12-cylinder engine and future specials that will appeal to enthusiasts.

Aston Martin used to have lofty goals for electrification. As recently as a couple of years ago, it plotted a full rollout of BEVs, vowing to have a fully electrified lineup by the end of this decade and even planning a futuristic (or, just intentionally weird-looking) electric sub-brand in Lagonda. That has all changed.

The brand's first electrified car will be its mid-engined V-8 hypercar, the Valhalla. “We will start delivering Valhalla at the end of the fourth quarter of this year," Stroll tells Car and Driver, during a conversation at the brand's Q by Aston Martin showroom on Park Avenue and 57th Street in New York. "That'll be our first plug-in hybrid."


In terms of the promise of a fully electric vehicle, Stroll says that, working in part with Chinese conglomerate Geely, the brand has "developed and designed one platform" that will fit four vehicles: a GT, a supercar, a crossover, and an SUV.

Aston had been planning to launch the first of those vehicles starting in 2025 and then roll out one every year thereafter. But that's changed as well, according to Stroll, "solely due to the lack of consumer demand." Instead, he says, the brand has pushed back that launch by one year. "So instead of launching in '25, we will launch the first of those vehicles in '26."

Demand Is There—for Hybrids, Not EVs

Stoking the electrification front, Stroll says that the brand is "seeing more demand for something we had not seen previously, which is hybridization." In addition to Valhalla, he says, Aston will have other "hybridized" products in the portfolio, saying they will be coming "very soon." And he attests to his belief in electrification: "So I still believe EV is the future, but a much more distant future. And certainly for the sports-car customer."

f1 grand prix of bahrain
Clive Rose - Getty Images

However, when asked about the brand's plan to discontinue the use of internal-combustion engines, Stroll delivers a flat response. "We have absolutely no plan to do anything of the sort," he says. When we ask if he means that Aston has no plan to stop producing gas-powered motors, ever, he demurs. "Ever is a long time. I can't say ever, but certainly not in the foreseeable future," he says. "If I had to guess, I’d tell you, combustion engines will certainly, in my mind, maybe with hybrid, certainly go till 2035 at least. It's my personal feeling."

An 850-HP Twelve Is Coming

In fact, the marque has developed an all-new 12-cylinder engine that it will be using in the as-yet-unnamed replacement for the DBS supercar, which, Stroll brags, will make nearly 850 horsepower. When asked about how the development of this honking new engine fits in with ever-tightening tailpipe emissions restrictions in Europe and elsewhere, Stroll waves off the concern. "The small manufacturers have different quantities. If we're below that, we're allowed to stay" with internal combustion, he claims. "So in studying all the rules with the amount of quantity we make, we're comfortable at least till the mid-2030s that we don't have any problems."

aston martin valour
Aston Martin Valour.Aston Martin

This engine will also likely find its way into specials, the highly profitable coachbuilt one-off or few-off cars that Aston builds for its best clients, cars like the recent Valour. And he doesn't rule out mating the new engine with a manual transmission, as in the Valour. "Instead of everyone [thinking] it's going electric, it's going back to a stick shift," he says. "I’m talking car enthusiasts. Petrolheads. I mean, it couldn't be more the reverse. We're studying that opportunity big time."

Stroll says that the company has already had a request for a custom special based on the Valhalla's plug-in-hybrid platform. But when we ask him if he's had a client express interest in a one-off fully electric Aston Martin, he shakes his head. "We haven't had a single one," he says.

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