Unreconstructed, hard-drinking, hard-fighting James Bond could soon be seen behind the wheel of an electric car, says the chief executive of Aston Martin, the car maker behind 007's favored form of transport.
Andy Palmer, Aston Martin CEO, told CNBC why electric vehicles – whose future popularity in the car market was, he said, "almost as inevitable as death and tax" – would suit the spy.
"What does electric give you? It gives you phenomenal acceleration, phenomenal torque (force) – immediate pick-up, there's no lag, so if you use it well and certainly in the near and medium-term and in our terminology, the long-term, you're going to have at least a combination of battery, electric and gasoline and then you get the best of both worlds."
"You get the engagement and the sound of a V12 or a V8 engine but you get the power supplemented by the electric motor, so you get the best of both."
Palmer believed that electric cars, which are still in the minority, would become the norm in future. "At some point in the future we have to move to electric drive, be that via a hydrogen pack or battery pack. It just is how it is."
"It's a long, long away…but eventually as a population, do we have to eradicate carbon-burning technology? Yes we do."
Asked what the fictional spy, whose love of fast cars and women are well-known, would think of Aston Martin's latest unveiling; the DBX Concept, Aston Martin's first "family-friendly," electric crossover car.
"James is an important customer for our sports cars but he occasionally gets married so maybe there's someone out there for him although you can get a baby seat in the back of an (Aston Martin) DB11. But it's about reality and Aston is more than just James Bond. It's about being British, being independent, it's about craftsmanship and it's about business itself," he said.
"If we want to be here for the next 100 years we have to adapt to the buying patterns of new customers and our younger generation who will become our customers, they want SUVs and crossovers, and we need to interpret what that means to an Aston Martin customer, preserving our beauty and soul but offering something in that space."
Aston Martin has been a stalwart of British car design and manufacturing since its founding in 1913. It is now owned by a consortium of private investors with Ford retaining a stake in the luxury brand. U.K. production, design and engineering is now concentrated in the carmaker's headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire.
The U.K car industry has contracted over the years and the latest shadow hanging over the industry is a referendum on European Union (EU) membership that is taking place on June 23. Palmer said that should the U.K. leave the 29-nation political and economic bloc, the company could look at its production plans.
"You adapt plans, of course, and my position to all of the staff here is very neutral, which is that you have to make your own decision. Would the U.K. be worse off if we came out of Europe? Financially, yes, but there are other factors that people need to consider."
"As far as Aston Martin is concerned, about 20 percent of our sales go into the EU so we would be affected to some extent if tariff barriers go up, if you believe that they will go up. I think, more importantly, we sell to luxury customers and destabilization of the industry is always going to be a worry because it affects purchasing power."
When asked if the company could move production elsewhere if tariff barriers rise, Palmer said "we'll see."