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.
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.