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It’s about time James Bond drove an electric car

tesla roadster james bond
(Image credit: Tesla / MGM via 007.com)

It seems like No Time to Die, the next 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 favorite super-spy actually sat behind the wheel of an electric car.

Bond has boosted sales before, and he could do it for EVs

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 favor 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 $35 million to ensure its own cars were used in 2002’s Die Another Day. 

That’s the equivalent of $53 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.

Of course there will be some people out there that would be outraged to see James Bond driving an electric car. The kind of idiot that would whine and moan about Bond succumbing to some sort of woke agenda, then immediately ruining their engine by going home and doing some coal rolling.

Frankly having Bond show up in an EV, even for a single car chase, would be absolutely priceless exposure for whichever company was on screen. It’s just incredible that nobody seems to have realized that.

Which EV would bond drive?

The only real issue is deciding which EV Bond would be driving on screen. Because Aston Martin doesn’t actually sell one. 

The automaker announced plans for an electric car, the Rapide E, back in 2015, but then shelved those plans last year. According to the automaker, 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. Or at the very least one that’s far enough into development that the next Bond actor can fire passengers out through the roof. 

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 gas tank for a battery should be a piece of cake. Hell, ordinary people have been able to make a business out of retrofitting classic cars with electric innards, so Q could probably knock one out in an afternoon.

There's no shortage of Bond-worthy EVs on sale

Arguably Tesla would be the ideal candidate for an electric Bond car, no matter what your thoughts are of Elon Musk. Tesla is the brand that proved electric cars could work, and something like the 2022 Tesla Roadster is the perfect mix of things you’d expect from a Bond car. It’s sleek, sporty, and it’s fast enough to get Bond away from whatever henchman is after him.

But Tesla isn’t the only EV maker out there, and arguably it's popular enough that it doesn’t exactly need the exposure a Bond movie appearance would provide. There are plenty of other luxury automakers out there who would kill for the kind of publicity you can only get from a Hollywood blockbuster.

Classic British carmaker Jaguar already has electric cars on sale, while Bentley and Rolls Royce have unveiled their own plans for electrification over the next few years. However if the filmmakers aren’t so bothered about keeping Bond behind the wheel of a British (or historically British) car, they’re basically spoilt for choice.

Bond could introduce brands like Rimac or Polestar, that have been making waves among EV enthusiasts, to the average moviegoer. Then you have all the established automakers that are slowly weaning themselves off the internal combustion engine, like Ford, Audi, Mercedes Benz, and BMW. All of whom could offer something suitably ‘Bond-worthy’ for a future movie.

Bottom Line

Hollywood should be trying to make this a standard feature in its movies, not just the ones starring James Bond. Well most movies, because I’m not entirely sure an electric car would work quite so well in the next Fast and Furious movie

Then again the most recent entry features Roman and Tej blasting into space with a rocket car. So stranger things can and do happen in that franchise.

But there’s absolutely no reason why Bond shouldn’t be able to drive a whole range of electric vehicles. Here’s just hoping that whoever plays the next Bond, be it Idris Elba or someone we’ve never heard of, gets to speed off without the roar of an engine and leaving a huge plume of exhaust in his wake. 

007 may have a licence to kill, but that doesn’t excuse reckless disregard for local air quality.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online. 

  • El-Borak1
    Since a hybrid may have a larger or smaller carbon footprint than an EV depending upon the cleanliness of the local power grid, isn't this a bit semantic? Surely Bond behind the wheel of a hybrid drives the same pro-environmental message.
    Reply