The EV conversion will be fully reversible, allowing owners to refit the straight six if required. Jaguar is yet to release pricing information, but an estimate "north of £300,000" was given. The Concept Zero's most notable appearance to date was during the royal wedding earlier this year.
The birth of the E-Type Concept Zero
The Concept Zero, aptly dubbed Project Marmite in the early months of its 18-month gestation, is Hannig's brainchild.
An avowed old-car lover with his own classic collection, Hannig is quick to acknowledge that an electric E-Type won’t suit everyone and may outrage a few. But he has nevertheless coined the motto ‘We future history’ for JLR’s newest division, believing it must look to a time when big cities have zero-emissions zones, and to a new breed of buyers who desire classic motoring “without the oil leaks”.
The Concept Zero’s saving grace from the purist’s point of view is that its electric conversion is designed to be reversible. Traditional mechanical parts will be retained so an owner can return a car to its original specification.
Beneath the long bonnet, the Concept Zero’s battery sits in the space formerly occupied by the E-Type’s famously heavy 3.8-litre six-cylinder iron-block engine, with the new drive motor (plus its single-speed reduction gearbox) in the space previously occupied by the four-speed gearbox. A modern Jaguar’s rotary controller dictates forward/reverse movement and no clutch is needed. The result of the work, remarkably, is a 46kg saving.
The electric powertrain connects to the rear wheels via the original tailshaft and differential. The inverter and power electronics sit in the boot. These components will be redesigned to save space (and improve boot room) utilising ‘family’ components from the I-Pace and other upcoming electric models, much as Jaguar spread the XK powertrain through its range 60 years ago. Having engineered this conversion for the E-Type, Hannig believes he has a set-up suitable for most Jaguar classics.
Riding shotgun in the 'EV'-Type
With Concept Zero’s project manager Stewart Bramham at the wheel, we hardly went faster than 40mph on a closed, single-lane road on London’s outskirts. But on this brief ride, it was still possible to feel the strong off-the-mark torque and the accurate response of the electric motor, whose faraway whirring, overlaid by a gear whine, gave the whole thing the surreal sound of a jet engine. Surreal or not, this was still an E-Type: same low seating, same high sills, same long nose, same wind curling at you over the top of the screen. Not sure it would suit me but, after this episode, I can see it might be just right for others less obsessed with originality.