The most beautiful EV in the world: Jaguar make electric E-Type
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Jaguar is accelerating back to the future with a fully electric version of its legendary E-Type sports car as it sets out its ‘green’ plans to electrify every new model in its range from 2020.
The British car firm has taken a 1968 version of its elegant roadster dubbed ‘the world’s most beautiful car’ and given it an automotive heart transplant – removing its powerful petrol engine and replacing it with a zero emissions electric motor and plug-in battery.
But although it is 80kg lighter and faster than the original, the battery-powered leaping-cat loses its traditional roar. Is it superb or sacrilege? You decide.
Future Jaguar buyers will get the chance to buy into some form of electrification, however, as the car maker also said all its new cars from 2020 will be offered with either a hybrid or pure electric version of each model.
As the first of a select group of journalists to experience the electric E-Type first hand as a passenger, I can tell you the effect of the powerplant switch-over is exhilarating but rather weird, as the revamped soft-top classic runs eerily in almost total silence, save for a faint hiss reminiscent of a milk float or golf buggy.
The electric E-Type Zero is one of three cars that Jaguar is showcasing at its special ‘Tech Fest’ event in London as bosses pledges that by 2020 all of its new cars will have an electric component – ranging from electric-hybrid to fully electric.
It also showed a film of how a ‘FUTURE-TYPE’ electric semi-autonomous Jaguar could look in 2040 – with a personal 'smart' steering wheel you keep with you when changing cars - as well as highlighting its new I-PACE electric car on sale from next year.
The car giant said it wanted to show its commitment to electrification ‘with new electric models from Jaguar’s past, present and future.’
The re-born E-Type Zero is brain-child of Jaguar Land Rover's Classic division in Warwickshire - close to where the original E-Type was born in Coventry in 1961 - and is designed for motorists who want to drive their classic cars when politicians ban all but electric vehicles from the road.
Converting the classic E-Type means owners can ‘future proof’ their classic cars, says Jaguar after the UK Government said it will outlaw ’conventional’ diesel and petrol engines from 2040, with the Scottish Government saying it will do so eight years earlier in 2032.
According to the Jaguar Classic team, the original engine can even, if required, be substituted back into the car.
With the zero-emissions powertrain in place, it will accelerate from rest to 62mph in 5.5 seconds – about a second faster than the petrol version – with a top speed of 150mph and a ‘real world’ range of about 170 miles, though that could increase to just over 200 miles.
It can be fully charged at home overnight in six to seven hours with the fuel cap flap opening to reveal the electric charging point.
The original dashboard has been replaced with hi-tech carbon-fibre and the classic instruments given a digital revamp with hi-tech virtual dials showing road speed and engine speed.
However, all the other basic underpinnings, including brakes and suspension, and are the same to ensure the car still drives and handles like the ‘original’ E-Type.
The main catch - other than the fact it doesn't have a six-cylinder engine under the bonnet - is that the electric E-Type car will set you back around £350,000.
Jaguar say one of their own restored ‘Reborn’ range - where they take an original car and update it with modern components - costs £280,000 - £70,000 less than an electrified one.
Classic E-Types can cost from around £70,000 (NZ$126,000), depending on condition.
Jaguar says that £350,000 (NZ$634,000) price tag could drop if more orders are received.
The E-Type Zero is just one of the features at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest taking place at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London, which is open to the public from September 8 to 10.
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.’
He added: ‘The Jaguar E-Type Zero not only drives and looks like an E-type, it also offers outstanding performance. It’s quicker than an original E-Type: 0-62mph takes only 5.5 seconds, about one second quicker than a Series 1 E-Type.’
Jaguar said the restored Series 1.5 Roadster is’ totally original in specification, apart from its 21st century state-of-the-art powertrain and modified instrumentation and fascia,’ though even these are inspired by the original E-Type. It also has LED headlights to save energy.
The electric E-Type Zero’s lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions and similar weight as the original XK six-cylinder petrol engine and sits in precisely the same place. The 220kW motor lies just behind the battery pack, in the same location as the E-type’s gearbox.
Mr Hannig said: ‘It drives, handles, rides and brakes like an original E-type.
'We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point. We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA.'
The E-Type’s original XK six-cylinder engine was made from 1949 until 1992, and was fitted to nearly all iconic Jaguar models of that period, including the E-type, XK120, Mk2 and XJ6. Tim Hannig said: ‘The new electric powertrain could be used in any of these vehicles.’
Jaguar Land Rover chief executive officer Dr Ralf Speth added: ‘Every new Jaguar Land Rover model line will be electrified from 2020, giving our customers even more choice.
'We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. Our first fully electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE, goes on sale next year.'
Greenpeace UK's clean air campaigner Anna Jones responded to the news saying: 'After a similar announcement from Volvo, it's good to see another major car maker stepping up a gear in their efforts to embrace electric and hybrid technology.
'As UK sales of diesel cars plummet and those of electric and hybrid models keep rising, this is a move that makes both business and environmental sense.
'It's now time for other leading car manufacturers to realise that toxic diesel has no future and start switching to genuinely clean models that can help tackle the air pollution crisis blighting our cities.'
- Daily Mail