• Jaguar E-Type Zero

Is the electric motor the way forward for classic cars?

Jaguar Land Rover has been full of surprises in the last month. In the wake of the Government’s announcement that it intends to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, JLR joined Volvo and announced that it all new models will be electrified from 2020. And then the JLR Classic division rolled out the all-electric Jaguar E-Type Zero – a case study for electric classic cars.

For classic car enthusiasts, this is all a bit of a worry. While the drive towards electrification of new cars seems inevitable, what happens to our beloved classics? Indeed, for many people with a big investment in classic cars, this is a huge worry. Will it kill the market?

Is the E-Type Zero the future for classic cars?

The E-Type Zero, on the face of it, provides a solution of sorts. Just whip out the old petrol guzzling lump and drop in a few batteries and an electric motor, and hey presto, your classic has a future. Jaguar even managed to slip the futuristic electrics straight into the space left by the old XK six-pot, so the 1968 Series 1.5 E-Type remains completely authentic in every way, except that it’s silent…

It make be quick but…

And therein lies the problem. It should work. It’s completely logical. Damn it, the electric E-Type is even quicker than the petrol original! But it just doesn’t stir the soul the way an E-Type should. Will classic cars still have the same appeal without the growls, barks, roars, howls and screams of the original engines. What will it be like not to feel the spine-tingling anticipation of the thrum of a performance engine on turning the key? The eerie silence as you woosh from 0-60mph in just 5.5 seconds in the E-Type will take some getting used to.

The electric Porsche 911

Jaguar, of course, is not the first to try this. Richard Morgan and Graham Swan at Electric Classic Cars have been converting classics to electric for some time now. So far they’ve converted a couple of VW Beetles, a BMW CSL, a Range Rover and most notably, a 1979 Porsche 911 Targa. Like the E-Type Zero, the Porsche is quicker than the original, and with the electric motor at the rear and Tesla batteries in the front, the pair claim the 911 has a 50:50 weight balance and handles better than the original.

So, classic cars do have a future, even though a little of the magic may have gone. And we can all look forward to a greener, cleaner future – well, once we have built the extra 10 nuclear power stations needed to charge all these new electric cars and found a way of recycling all those dead Lithium-ion batteries…

By | 2017-09-11T13:43:30+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Automotive, Blog|

About the Author:

Chris Box boasts a wealth of automotive public relations knowledge having worked for a variety of major car manufacturers, as well as those in the supply chain. Prior to working in public relations Chris enjoyed a career in journalism and is NCTJ qualified.