In a world where the electric car is only going to become increasingly common, is it a good idea to convert classics to EV as well?

Well Jaguar has given it a go with their E-Type “Zero”, an all electric version of the legendary 60s performance car.

Tim Hannig, Director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: “E-type Zero combines the renowned E-type dynamic experience with enhanced performance through electrification. This unique combination creates a breathtaking driving sensation.“Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership. We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.”

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The new electric classic doesn’t just look or drive like an E-Type, but it’s faster than the original with a 0-62 time of 5.5 seconds.

The E-type Zero vehicle, displayed at Tech Fest, is a restored Series 1.5 Roadster. It’s totally original in specification, apart from its 21st century state-of-the-art powertrain and modified instrumentation and facia – although these are also inspired by the original E-type. LED headlights are also used to achieve energy efficiency. Again, they adopt the styling theme of the original Series 1 E-type.

What the hell is powering this thing?

An electric powertrain developing 220kW has been specially designed for the E-type Zero. Its lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions, and similar weight, to the XK six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type. The experts responsible for developing the electric powertrain have ensured it will be placed in precisely the same location as the XK engine. The electric motor (and reduction gear) lies just behind the battery pack, in the same location as the E-type’s gearbox. A new propshaft sends power to a carry-over differential and final drive. Total weight is 46kg lower than the original E-type

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Using an electric powertrain with similar weight and dimensions to the outgoing petrol engine and transmission means the car’s structure, including suspension and brakes, hasn’t really changed at all, simplifying the conversion and homologation. It drives, handles, rides and brakes like an original E-type. Front-rear weight distribution is unchanged.

When you think about that carefully, that’s actually pretty impressive, because the cars fundamental characteristics have remained the same. However, does it lose some of that magical classic feel now it doesn’t have an oil leak and a slightly out of time engine?

The E-type, launched in 1961, has regularly been voted the best-looking car of all time. Even Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made”. E-type Zero’s unique electric powertrain was developed by an electric powertrain specialist in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover engineers and to a specific brief from Jaguar Land Rover Classic.

It uses some technology and components borrowed from the upcoming I-PACE, Jaguar Land Rover’s first production all-electric vehicle.The E-type Zero has a ‘real world’ range of 270km (about 170 miles), helped by the low weight and good aerodynamics. It uses a 40kWh battery, which can be recharged from home overnight.

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So what do you think? Is this a credible route for the future of classic cars or should they remain with their petrol hearts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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