Molecular diodes operating in the tunnelling regime are intrinsically limited to a maximum rectification ratio R of ∼103. To enhance this rectification ratio to values comparable to those of conventional diodes (R ≥ 105) an alternative mechanism of rectification is therefore required. Here, we report a molecular diode with R = 6.3 × 105 based on self-assembled monolayers with Fc–C≡C–Fc (Fc, ferrocenyl) termini. The number of molecules (n(V)) involved in the charge transport changes with the polarity of the applied bias. More specifically, n(V) increases at forward bias because of an attractive electrostatic force between the positively charged Fc units and the negatively charged top electrode, but remains constant at reverse bias when the Fc units are neutral and interact weakly with the positively charged electrode. We successfully model this mechanism using molecular dynamics calculations.