No Time To Die / 7 October, 2021
No Time To Die

With all those gadgets you’d think Q could at least offer him an electric car….

It seems like No Time to Die, the recently released James Bond movie, has been “coming soon” for an eternity thanks to the pandemic. But it is happening, and Aston Martin recently reminded everyone that its cars would be appearing in the movie.

As it turns out, this includes the Aston Martin Valhalla — a new supercar that’s also a plug-in hybrid. Really, though, Bond shouldn’t be driving a hybrid. It’s about time Britain’s favourite super-spy actually sat behind the wheel of an electric car.

Teslas have already appeared in a smattering of Hollywood movies, while the likes of the BMW i8 and Audi e-tron made cameos in Mission Impossible 4 and Avengers: Endgame, respectively. Despite this, Hollywood has mostly stayed clear of electric cars in favour of old-fashioned internal combustion engines. Just look at the Fast and Furious franchise.

Really, there’s no better place to start making that change towards big screen EVs than a Bond movie. Especially given the franchise’s long-standing history with cars and the impact it has on Aston Martin’s own car sales.

It’s often said that Bond classic Goldfinger helped to increase sales of the Aston Martin DB5, and Aston Martin itself also said that it expected No Time to Die to help reverse its declining sales. That was pre-pandemic, back when Bond 25 was expected to release in mid-2020 and before all the financial difficulties the pandemic has inflicted on people. Needless to say Aston Martin’s sales figures did not fare well throughout 2020.

But it’s not just cars. The Bond franchise is a treasure trove of product placement, from Omega watches to Smirnoff vodka. In fact, having your products in a Bond movie is such a big deal that Ford (then owner of Aston Martin) reportedly paid £50 million to ensure its own cars were used in 2002’s Die Another Day. That’s the equivalent of £83 million today, once you account for inflation, and it just goes to show how valuable the Bond franchise is in terms of product placement. If any movie is going to help push people towards electrification, James Bond would be the star.

The only real issue is deciding which EV Bond would be driving on screen. Because Aston Martin doesn’t actually sell one.  They announced plans for an electric car, the Rapide E, back in 2015, but then shelved those plans last year. According to Aston Martin, what was supposed to be the Rapide E will now “become a research project used to further Aston’s broader electrification programme”.

In the meantime the company has produced two plug-in hybrids: The Valkyrie and the Valhalla. However, the Valkyrie was a limited run model that didn’t get a wide release, and the Valhalla isn’t due to arrive until 2023. Perhaps by the time Bond 26 rolls around, Aston Martin will have one or more fully electric cars on the road. 

The company has claimed 90 per cent of its cars would be electrified by 2030, and it would be building new electric cars in the UK from 2025. So it just depends how long it takes to recast Daniel Craig and figure out where Bond goes next.

Though, the honest truth is that Bond should have an EV already, and shouldn’t be relegated to driving a hybrid. Because this isn’t 2005, and electric cars are not the gimmicky jokes they once were. Even if Aston Martin has held off on selling an all-electric car to the general public, it’s not like MI6 doesn’t have a proven track record at modifying cars with whatever technology Q feels Bond might need on his mission.

After all, if MI6 can put together an invisible Vanquish, or a Lotus Espirit 1 that’s also a working submarine, swapping out a DB5’s petrol tank for a battery should be a piece of cake….