The Jaguar E-Type is one of the most iconic and desirable cars ever to grace the world’s tar. Now Jaguar’s done the unthinkable — or the inspired, depending on your feelings about “updating” classics — and created a concept version that uses the shell of a 1968 Series 1.5 E-Type Roadster, but replaces the fossil-fuel guzzling, carbon dioxide-spewing engine with an electric powertrain capable of catapulting it from 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds.
Being future-looking charlatans with under-developed senses of tradition or propriety, we absolutely love it. In fact, it’s now the electric car we most want (sorry Tesla). Look, films like Gattaca (and that crazy episode of Black Mirror with the recording implants) with it’s old-school-cars-in-the-vague-future aesthetic has already primed us for classic cars with contemporary innards. Now Jaguar has turned what we’d argue is the ideal combination of pleasing design and eco-consciousness into a reality.
The E-Type Zero was made possible by Jaguar Land Rover Classic’s division “Classic Works” near Coventry in England that restores and rebuilds classic Jaguars and Land Rovers… and now, as the E-Type Zero demonstrates, can turn them electric, too. Though there’s no plan to make the E-Type Zero a mainstream reality — or buy up and gut all existing petrol E-Types, thank heavens — JLR Classic director Tim Hannig says the company could use the electric engine in the Zero “to transform any classic XK-engine Jaguar”.
“Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership,” Hannig says. “We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market,” Hannig adds.
We suspect the number of classic car owners eager to replace the engines in their prized vehicles with giant batteries and electric motors is, well, small. But nonetheless, we want to salute Jaguar for it’s novel take on what the electric future could look like. It won’t, of course, because the future never looks like one expects it to, but it’s great to dream nonetheless.
Jaguar Land Rover showed off the E-type Zero at its Tech Fest event in London this week, where it also exhibited the I-Pace, the all-electric SUV that is set to go on sale next year, and a custom rescue vehicle with a drone that takes off from, and lands back on, a roof carrier. You can see all of the aforementioned in the video below.
Bespoke electric, suits you, sir
But back to the topic at hand, the E-type Zero. An electric powertrain designed especially for it develops 220kW of power, and the custom lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions — and similar weight — as the original six-cylinder XK engine you’d find under the bonnet of a conventional E-type. Furthermore, the team behind the new, electric powertrain ensured it sits in exactly the same location as the XK engine… meaning no structural modifications are required.
“The electric motor (and reduction gear) lies just behind the battery pack, in the same location as the E-type’s gearbox,” the company says in a press release about it, adding that, “a new propshaft sends power to a carry-over differential and final drive”. The result? An E-type that weighs 46kg less the an original one, but more importantly, handles just like one.[vrview img=”https://stuff.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/IMG_4088.jpg” ]
“We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point,” Hannig explains. “We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA.”
The E-type Zero has a range of around 270km, which isn’t great, but when it looks as good as it does, we’re willing to forgive it that hiccup. Now to find an E-type, and few hundred thousand pounds so we can get a Zero to call our own.