Earlier this year, Jaguar announced plans to restore, recreate and rebuild some of its classic models, now Jaguar Land Rover Classic is announcing a thoroughly modern classic car — the electric E-type Zero. That’s quite a twist on a car that was once mocked for its electrical problems.
The restored and converted sports car concept will be introduced at this weekend’s Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest, staged at University of the Arts in London.
“E-type Zero combines the renowned E-type dynamic experience with enhanced performance through electrification. This unique combination creates a breathtaking driving sensation,” said Tim Hannig, Director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic. “Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership. We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.”
The E-type Zero is a restored Series 1.5 Roadster that has been restored to original specifications, outside of the 21st Century powertrain and the accompanying required instrumentation, though the latter was designed to fit right in with the original’s style. The headlights are also high-efficiency LEDs, but housed in a manner true to the original.
The engine compartment houses a 220-kW motor (295 hp) and its 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that weigh similar to the original engine/transmission combo. Restorers located the combination in precisely the same place as the original’s 3.8-litre inline 6-cylinder (265 hp or 198 kW) and transmission. The motor sits behind the battery, in the same location as the original’s transmission, and sends power via a new propshaft to the original rear differential. The powertrain/drivetrain saves 46 kg over the original.
It was important to maintain the dimensions and weight of the powertrain to preserve the weight distribution and negate the need to change the car’s structure and chassis. This simplified the conversion and ensured the electric E-type handles, rides and brakes like the original, and gets 270 km on a full charge (which Jaguar claims will take six to seven hours, depending on the source).
“We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point,” explains Hannig. “We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA.”
Conversely, Hannig says the new powertrain could also be used in any of the other classics of the time — XK120, Mk2 and XJ6 — that used the same XK-engine as the E-type.
Ironically, the electrified E-type is quicker in acceleration trials than its ancestor, knocking off 0-100 km/h in 5.5 seconds — about a second quicker than the Series 1 E-type.
“In order to seamlessly combine the new electric powertrain of E-type Zero with the dynamic set-up of the original E-type specification, we have limited the vehicle’s power output,” says Hannig. We believe this provides the optimum driving experience.”
The company commissioned an electric powertrain specialist to develop the powertrain to exact specifications, since the technology and some components will be used in the upcoming all-electric I-Pace crossover.