Jaguar Classic division to sell restored E-Types converted to run on battery power, with deliveries set to begin in 2020
Steve Cropley Autocar
7 September 2017

Jaguar will put the all-electric E-Type Zero into production, following the enthusiastic reception received by a one-off concept version unveiled last year. 

Jaguar Land Rover Classic, the company’s fast-growing heritage division, will sell original E-Types that have been restored and converted to run on battery power. It will also offer a conversion service for existing E-Type owners, alongside its current E-Type Reborn programme. First deliveries are expected in summer 2020. 

The firm hasn't released full technical specs but says it is aiming for a range of more than 170 miles, using a 40kWh battery. The E-Type Zero Concept shown last year featured a 295bhp electric motor and had a claimed 150mph top speed - matching the original 1961 car - and a 0-60mph time of 5.5sec. The powertrain takes many of its components from the Jaguar I-Pace EV.

The battery of the E-Type Zero takes the place of the original's 3.8-litre six-cylinder iron-block engine under the bonnet, with the electric motor fitting in the space of the newly absent gearbox. The E-Type Zero weighs 46kg less than the original. 

It also receives modified instrumentation, with a touchscreen available as an option. LED headlights are added, but otherwise the concept is described by Jaguar as "largely original". 

Jaguar Land Rover Classic boss Tim Hannig said that "future-proofing the enjoyment of classic car ownership is a major stepping stone for Jaguar Classic". 

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. 

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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.

Comment: Heresy, nicely done

Should we give this hare-brained project space in a serious motoring magazine? The purist in me says no, but the rest of me is just as sure we should. 

JLR Classic is definitely pushing the envelope with this one; when the company got serious about building a heritage business a couple of years back, none of us imagined an electric E-Type would be in the frame. 

But the modern car world is changing with bewildering speed, driven by legislation. Punitive laws already cramp old-car owners’ style and will do it more. And soon. Here is a bold attempt to find a solution to an emerging classic car problem, and to appeal to new buyers along the way. We should let it breathe. 

Related stories: 

Eagle E-Type review 

The history of the Jaguar E-Type

Jaguar F-Type R

Join the debate

Comments
22

7 September 2017

Old cars are actually very well suited to electrification, as they tend to be quite lightweight to start with, and have less complex systems.  At the other end of the scale there are people electrifying 2CVs.  This works terrifically as very few engine driven ancillaries to reverse engineer.  Bring it on I say!

Cars are to be used.  This makes them more usable and useful, and a classic makes far more sense as an urban runaround than a long distance daily driver as the compromises on comfort and safety are much less critical in that context.

24 August 2018

This is why you shouldn't let Google Translate come up with your motto.

289

24 August 2018

WTF nice biscuit!

Why would you wish to do this to a fine classic car....a large part of the excitement of these cars is its aural pleasure. 

Old cars have never been about reliability or efficiency, and what is all this JLR bollocks about 'Future Proofing the enjoyment of classic car motoring'.....with no sound?!!! The mans a prat!

This is all about profit and fleecing idiots with more money than sense and absolutely no soul..... to hell with the fact that they are crippling values of former matching number cars in the process....someone will have to pay for the storage of the original drivetrain.....if it isnt kept, then this vehicle is effectively ruined.

I cant believe that any country will ban classic cars from being driven....it is part of everyones heritage after all. And even if they did go so far as banning them from City centres (that would be the end of concours shows in cities -no loss anyway), so what? Why would you want to drive an E Type in a city anyway?

I thought the speculators who squirrel away classic cars (forcing up values in the process) and never bringing them out into the light of day were the scum of the earth, but anyone who is prepared to do this to an E Type (or any other classic) is a whole echelon above this in heresy. 

7 September 2017

I really should hate this but it's very interesting. You can go on tour in your classic with complete reliability. You could of course stick a modern engine into it and do the same. Both options completely ruin the originality but offer effociency and reliability into something that's never been accused of being either.

The more we learn about electric power the more interesting it becomes. Kids being born now will just accept electric cars without questioning in the same way they use phones and tablets instead of heavy desktop PC's that you had to find an actual room for in your house and run an extension cable to your phone line to get onto the internet.

7 September 2017

From what I can see from the photos, this 'conversion' is completely reversible, so the car could be returned to original specification without too much trouble.

If this technology means I can enjoy classics in 20-30 years time, then I'm all for it.  Its not really much different than people replacing the unreliable Stag V8 with the Rover/Buick unit all those years ago?

7 September 2017
speckyclay wrote:

If this technology means I can enjoy classics in 20-30 years time, then I'm all for it.  Its not really much different than people replacing the unreliable Stag V8 with the Rover/Buick unit all those years ago?

Well the Rover converted Stags are often the ones which have been broken for parts and no longer exist. There are far fewer on the road relatively than there were, and the few that remain are worth significantly less than those that still have the original engine.

It's highly unlikely it won't be possible to drive petrol engined classic cars in 20-30 years time, There are so many of them owned by a complete cross section of society to make it politically unwise to try to prevent it. They have almost no impact on pollution or emissions, due to low annual mileage.

7 September 2017

Just replace the rusty steel with carbon fibre and you have the perfect marriage of form and function.

7 September 2017

There are already companies specialising in classic to electric conversions. Zelectric and Electric Classic Cars are two which spring to mind. There was an article about ECCs '79 Porsche 911 Targa on Influx a while back. I think we will be seeing a lot more of this over the coming years.

7 September 2017

I love the idea and am definitely of the view that if we have to have electric vehicles, then we really ought to be able to have vehicles that have style as opposed to the horrid little utility boxes that car manufacturers seem to think we want.

7 September 2017

I love the idea and am definitely of the view that if we have to have electric vehicles, then we really ought to be able to have vehicles that have style as opposed to the horrid little utility boxes that car manufacturers seem to think we want.

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