As Governments around the world wrestle with the possible long-term effects of climate change and aided by a groundswell of public opinion to stop global warming, Electric and Hybrid vehicles continue to gain traction in the model line-up of many of the mainstream automotive manufacturers.
It has also created the by-product of a potential electric future for classic vehicle enthusiasts to consider.
Last year Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, part of the Jaguar Land Rover group, revealed the E-Type Zero. The Concept Zero is built around a 1968 Series 1.5 E-Type Roadster, which has been converted to utilise an electric powertrain that offers equivalent performance to the original petrol engine but with zero emissions. The conversion is fully reversible and future-proofs classic car motoring, and the good news is it can be applied to any classic Jaguar built between 1948 and 1992 and is intended to preserve the looks and handling of the original petrol XK engine classics.
And now this year, 60 years on from the birth of the iconic Mini, British engineering firm Swindon Powertrain, is offering an electric classic Mini. The Swind E Classic is the brain-child of Swindon Powertrain’s managing director Raphael Caille, who saw an opportunity to produce an electric car that people from all walks of life would instantly fall in love with. “This is the first time an electrified classic Mini has entered production,” confirms Caille. “There have been one-offs and prototypes before, but Swind is the first company to launch such a car to the public. The classic Mini has such a special place in people’s hearts, not only in the UK but around the world. The packaging of Sir Alec Issigonis’ 1959 design was truly ground-breaking, and now we are making it relevant again. Its compact size and good visibility, together with contemporary performance and handling, make it a car you’ll want to drive in the city and put a smile on your face.”
It is city driving that the Swind E classic is built for, utilising state of the art EV technology, replacing the petrol engine and gearbox with a bespoke 80kw electric motor and 24kWh lithium-ion battery give a range of over 200km. A full charge takes four hours from a type 2 connector and with the petrol tank removed boot space is improved by 200 litres. Performance is nippy to with 0-100kph in under 10 seconds and a top speed of nearly 130kph
The conversion adds 80kg to the total weight of the car, but the centre of gravity is 44mm lower, helping to enhance its already legendary handling. Weight distribution is also superior from 68:32 to 57:43 front and rear. Other nice modernities are new brakes with regenerative capability, new suspension and contemporary rust protection. Also, there’s heated front, and rear windscreens, underfloor heating, 2 USB ports, and leather heated seats.
There are a number of options on offer as well such as an infotainment system, electric air-conditioning, central locking, electric front windows, openable rear windows, electric power steering and full electric sliding roof.
The Swind E Classic is also available in left or right-hand drive. Only 100 are to be produced and with a price tag of 79,000 pounds ($145,000 Australian) without options.
Words © Geoff Dawes 2019. Images © 2019 Courtesy of Swindon Powertrain https://swindonpowertrain.com, Jaguar Land Rover Classics https://media.jaguar.com/news/…/jaguar-e-type-zero-most-beautiful-electric-car-world