The announcement in recent months that both France and the U.K. are to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 has sent shockwaves through the car industry and will force automotive manufacturers to step up the pace of change to hybrid and electric powered cars.
The French announcement in July by Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot is in line with the Paris climate accord and part of a commitment by the French Government for the country to become carbon neutral by 2050.
However, it was the loss of a Supreme Court battle to environmental group ClientEarth in 2015 that has forced the British Government to act. The U.K.’s air pollution problems have been in breach of the EU limits for years, and several British cities have failed to meet standards on nitrogen dioxide levels since 2010. According to the Royal College of Physicians, around 40,000 deaths in the U.K. per year are caused by air pollution.
All of the above is no doubt something of a nightmare to owners of vintage and classic cars that could in future years be penalised in some way or be seen merely as anti-social for using a “dirty” petrol driven vehicle. It, therefore, must come as some sort of relief that at least one company is offering an integrated option to solve this dilemma.
Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry are part of the Jaguar Land Rover group responsible for maintaining, restoring and building continuation classic Jaguars. But it is their latest offering, the Jaguar E-Type Zero that allows owners “to have their cake and eat it too”.
The Concept Zero featured, is built around the 1968 Series 1.5 E-Type Roadster, which has been converted to utilise an electric powertrain that offers equivalent performance but with zero emissions. The conversion is fully reversible and future-proofs classic car motoring.
The good news is the conversion 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 engined classics.
The lithium-ion batteries have the same dimensions and similar weight to the six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type and are placed in the same location. The electric motor (and reduction gear) lies behind the battery pack, in the identical position to the E-type’s gearbox. A propshaft then sends the power to a carry-over differential and final drive.
The electric power unit develops 220kw and compares favourably against the 198kw of the original XK6 petrol engine, and is 46kg lighter while the overall weight is 82kg lower than the Series 1 E-type. It’s also quicker than an original E-type; 0-100km/h (62mph) takes only 5.5sec, about one second faster than a Series 1 E-type. The 40kwh battery has a real-world range of 270km and can be completely recharged in six to seven hours.
Another positive aspect of the conversion is that by using an electric powertrain with comparable weight and dimensions to the outgoing petrol engine and transmission, the car’s structure, including suspension and brakes, doesn’t need to be changed. The E-Type Zero drives, handles, rides and brakes like an original E-type, thanks to a front and rear weight distribution that remains unchanged.
Outwardly there are only a few hints that this is no regular E-Type. The dash sports modified digital instruments and facia, inspired of course by the original E-Type and the headlights are L.E.D. in the name of energy efficiency.
I only hope owners of a Zero are given a USB to play through the cars sound system that features the sonorous melody of an XK engine, being driven hard….
Words © Geoff Dawes 2017. Images and video courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover Ltd,