Classics Go Electric



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Sunday April 22, 2018 Classics Go Electric Unless you have been living off grid you will be aware by now that on May 19, 2018 England's Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, an actress from right here in Los Angeles, CA.  After the wedding the couple left Windsor Castle to a reception hosted by Harry's father, Prince Charles, at Frogmore house.  What was unusual is that they drove there in a Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero electric car. 


The Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero is the product of Jaguar Range Rover Classics a division of Jaguar Range Rover devoted to preserving the marques heritage.  It is a car built to the same design as a 1968 E-Type Jaguar with the 4.2 liter inline 6 cylinder engine replaced with an electric power train.  The long hood where the engine once sat makes a perfect place for the batteries with an electric motor and controller behind them.  The car is said to be able to do 170 miles on a charge although I would expect real world range to be more like 150 miles.  0-60 time comes in at 5.5 seconds, a little faster than the original which came in at about 7 seconds.  The electric is also about 80 Kg lighter than the original.


Jaguar Range Rover Classics managed to do all that without significantly altering the structure of the car.  This means that any owner of a classic E-Type Jaguar can get there car converted to electric for driving around London, and still have the option to put the old power train back in when they take their car to classic car shows.


This idea is not that new.  The Destiny 2000 was a Pontiac Fiero that was modified to use an electric drive train, although these were fitted with Lead Acid Batteries which was the best option available at the time.   The original concept for Phoenix Motors was to take reproductions of classic cars and produce them with electric drive trains.  They produced at least one running example but the concept never caught on and they eventually switched to working on an electric pickup truck.  Even the Tesla Roadster had some elements of this as it was based on the Lotus Elise although Tesla made significant changes to the design so the two are not easily confused.


I think that this concept is also a good idea for preserving many cars where the owner wants to drive the car rather than show it.  The likelihood of failure for an ICE is much greater than for an electric motor and since many older cars have shown to be fairly unreliable the use of electric power can extend the life of such vehicles.  For the purest this is sacrilege, but for the guy who just wants to drive around town it is a way to go.  You  loose the growl of the exhaust but you get a clean quite ride with lots of torque to give you that EV smile when you push down on the go pedal.


Cities in Europe such as Paris and London are already talking about banning gas and diesel cars from the center of the city.  It remains to be seen if they are willing to give classic vehicles a pass since they tend to be driven very little.  Here in California cars that are older than 25 years become exempt from smog checks on the assumption that these cars are now collector cars which will be driven rarely on the streets and will be maintained in tip-top condition by their owners.


Enzo Ferrari called the E-Type "the most beautiful car ever built" and there are many today who agree with him.  Personally I would like to see the E-Type return to our streets in electric form.  I know I could never afford one, but it can dream.


If you want to comment on this topic, email me, but please include your Name, City and State or Country

Audrey in Crystal River, FL Wrote:


We have been converting CLASSICS for 25 years. You have no idea how many people at car shows that we show these at, have no clue that can be done. I take a 67 Austin and a 56 Ford F 500, all electric to the car shows, and we are absolutely the hit of the car shows!

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