Electric cars don’t always have to look hideous.
Enzo Ferrari famously described the Jaguar E-Type as "the most beautiful car ever made", and it's hard to argue. In contrast, most modern electric cars leave a lot to be desired in the looks department. So Jaguar decided to convert an original 1960s E-Type into a fully electric sports car concept for the modern age. Dubbed the Jaguar E-Type Zero, this all-electric beauty is the latest creation from Jaguar Land Rover Classic, a division that gives some of the company’s most iconic cars new leases of life as continuation models.
Revealed at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest in London alongside the Future-Type Concept and I-Pace to coincide with Jaguar’s plans to have every new car electrified from 2020, the E-Type Zero is based on an original Series 1.5 Roadster. From the outside, it looks like an original specification 1968 E-Type. JLR Classic has added more efficient LED lights and tweaked the instrumentation and facia, but these changes are still in keeping with the original E-Type’s styling. Things are very different under the hood, however. Gone is the original E-Type’s XK six-cylinder engine, and in its place is a bespoke electric powertrain developing 220 kW of power.
The lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions and similar weight to the original unit, while the electric motor lies just behind the battery pack in the same location as the E-type’s gearbox. With these modifications, the E-Type Zero is 46 kg lighter than the original car. Jaguar says the all-electric E-Type will hit 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds, has a real-world range of around 170 miles, and takes six to seven hours to recharge. If you think the idea of fitting a classic car with a 21st century electric powertrain is blasphemous, fear not, because you’re still able to reinstall the original hardware according to JLR Classic’s Director Tim Hannig.
“We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point,” he said. “We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA.” Also, because every Jaguar made between 1949 and 1992 adopted the same XK six-cylinder engine, the electric powertrain could potentially be used in any car from this period. Jaguar may have just found a novel way of preserving classic cars in the future here.