You may have noticed that lately both classic car enthusiasts and manufacturers have been showcasing the possibilities of creating electric classic cars. As well as converting classics there has also been an influx of brand new cars that are powered by electricity while also drawing design influences from classic cars. From Ferrari’s to VW buses we’ll take a look at some of the recent announcements.
Starting off is a new concept from BMW. In contract to the new large and bulky Minis that BMW have been manufacturing of late comes the showcasing of a classic John Cooper style Mini. This new concept is powered completely by electric with a top speed of 75mph and range of 65 miles when fully charged. The Mini retains all of the charm of decades past and even features the iconic white stripe along the bodywork. Unfortunately you won’t be able to get your hands on this exciting concept anytime soon as this was a one-off to champion BMW’s electric ambitions for the future.
To convert a Mini is one thing but to tarnish the E-type with batteries and chargers could almost be considered an act of heresy. This is something dismissed by JLR with their new project: Concept Zero. Head of the classics division at JLR Tim Hannig acknowledges the outrage this move may have caused but none the less has made the “E” in E-Type stand for electric in this one off. To keep the waves of furious enthusiasts at bay the conversion made to Concept Zero are reversible, keeping most of the mechanical components intact. You may have seen Concept Zero appearing in the press over the last couple of weeks, this is due to it featuring in the royal wedding. The electric E-Type was the chosen mode of transport which was used to ferry the recently united couple from Windsor Castle to Frogmore House.
From one member of motoring royalty to the next; there exists a Ferrari 308 which has been transformed from petrol guzzler to eco warrior. The brave team of enthusiasts who took the job on admits that it was an expensive and lengthy process, but the result is a battery powered Ferrari which is faster than the original. They also commented on how this project was only made possible by the increasing availability of smaller and more effective lithium batteries.
As the previously mentioned technology used to create classic EV conversions is further developed the more accessible it becomes. This is what sparked a UK business to set their eyes on developing a DIY electric vehicle conversion kit. The reality of this may be a few years away from now but in the meantime they’ve converted a Morris Minor to electric which can be spotted silently skimming through inner city London. The final objective is to provide the public with a kit which will enable enthusiasts to convert their own classics to electric within their own garages.
As well as “electric one-offs” manufacturers have also been presenting their plans to put electric classic-esque vehicles into a larger scale of production. One of the stand out examples is the Volkswagen I.D Buzz. This reincarnation of the classic Kombi is planned to be put into production in 2022. Another vehicle powered 100% by electricity the Buzz will be one of many vehicles to feature in the Volkswagen electric I.D range.
Morgan Three Wheeler
Another company joining VW in the trend of electric vehicles with classic flares will be Morgan. After a successful year of increased profits the Malvern based business will be investing money into research of electric powered vehicles. As a result they have announced they will be creating an electric version of the iconic Morgan Three-Wheeler.
Is it a Crime to Convert?
All of the above allows us to ask the question of whether or not it’s really that bad to convert classics to electric? Admittedly you will lose a lot of the authenticity of “genuine” classics which include the smells, sounds and sensations of a traditional engine. In its place an electric could debatably perform better and more reliably than the latter. With the announcement from numerous countries and cities of zero emission zones the EV conversion also offers a solution to keeping classics on roads from which they are being exiled.
Would You Convert to EV?
Even with this in mind it’s going to be more than a few years before your average classic car enthusiast decides to convert their MG Midget to an EV. Both the amount of effort and vast amounts of money required to complete the job reserves these types of projects for those with a strong conviction to own a battery powered classic.
This leaves us with a few questions to conclude with:
- Is it a classic car crime to convert a classic to an EV and if so why?
- If the processes became cheap and easy enough would you ever consider converting one of your own classics to an EV?
Another big point of discussion regarding classic cars are their values and the current condition of the market, click here for the full article.