January 16, 2019

Should I convert my classic to electric?

Making headlines for its silent transportation for last year's hottest royal couple, the E-Type Zero electric conversion by Jaguar Classic was not only a turning point for electric conversions, it was also a topic of discussion for enthusiasts thinking about binning petrol or diesel and adopting electric.

We delve into this topic by looking at the benefits, potential drawbacks and, most importantly, the cost implications of making the change.

So, what are the benefits?

Better acceleration

You could argue that going electric means better acceleration. Electric motors deliver maximum torque from the beginning of the power delivery, unlike petrol or diesel cars, which must hit a power band (and then a gear change). Gearless electric motors don’t have to do this. As a rule, an electric conversion can help you to make your classic faster, but you’ll have to swap your Top Trump cards from bhp to kwh.

Cost-saving on fuel

Another benefit is a cost-saving on fuel. After you’ve paid for the electric conversion and maybe sold the engine (should you wish), you will save cash every day by running on electricity over petrol or diesel fuel. If you’re a heavy user of your classic, you could see your fuel bill slashed by a larger percentage than if you’re not.

Less to go wrong

There’s less to go wrong. If you have a well-maintained car that you have converted to electric you may well experience fewer hiccups because, in essence, there are fewer moving parts with an electric drivetrain.

 

The environment

Lastly, there’s the environment. With global temperatures reaching alarming levels, you might feel it is high time that you joined the party and did your little bit to help our planet. That might mean going electric.

So, what are the drawbacks?

Range anxiety

Internal combustion engines using conventional fuel are tried-and-tested. They’ve been around since the 1890s – a 130-year history. With the average car taking less than five minutes to fuel and with petrol stations never that far away, swapping to electric-only can cause range anxiety. A driver of a conventionally fueled car does not have the worry that owners of pure electric vehicles (and conversions) have, which is that they might run out of power before they reach their end destinations.

Infrastructure

At present there is not the infrastructure in place to power electric vehicles on a large scale. However, with a growing number of public and private charging options and councils and government backing the idea of electrification, this may not be the case in say, 10 years’ time. Only you can decide whether it’s an option that works for you, based on usage, proximity to public charging and your ability to charge at home.

Paperwork

Changing the way that a classic car is powered will mean a change in your V5C certificate and added paperwork. The DVLA will then decide if your car needs to be inspected from a road-going point of view or should it need to be given a new vehicle tax bracket. A change to an electric drivetrain will also mean a change in weight and could affect the seating configuration and boot space too.

Battery capacity and lifespan

Another worry for many EV drivers is the battery capacity and lifespan. Currently an electric drivetrain doesn’t last as long as an internal combustion engine. Of course, the game is constantly changing with this technology and if you have decided to go electric you might well be in danger of putting a ‘VHS’ in your car not fully appreciating that ‘streaming’ is only around the corner.

Cost

If you are convinced that electric is here to stay and you’re really serious about converting your classic to run on electric, the elephant in the room will undoubtedly be the cost.

Everything EV offers kits for off-the-shelf cars that cost upwards of £4,500 to convert your car, and can be priced to £7,500, not including the hours nor tools to add this to your classic.

Alternatively, a company such as Electric Classic Cars can just supply you the parts and you can do the work yourself at a reduced cost. This is not a job for rookies, however and those without the skills will probably just hand their vehicles over to the experts at Electric Classic Cars and let them do it at the workshop.

Electric Classic Cars’ prices range from a sub-100-mile range conversion that costs £12,000, to a large 4x4 vehicle with in excess of 200 miles could be as much as £50,000.

Finally, while it’s not just the newlyweds powering up their marital E-Type, did you know that Aston Martin converted the Prince of Wales’ DB6 Volante to be run on disused English white wine? If electricity isn’t your bag, there’s always the humble grape.

Footman James did tell us if it increases insurance costs! .. Sure it changes a classic, but so does fitting bigger ICE , wide wheels, disc brakes , fancy seats. If your classic is just for driving to shows, the EV conversion is not cost effective , & probably not environmental cost effective due to the energy needed to make the batteries. If you want to drive a classic and do the uk average mileage then EV conversion makes some sense for the planet, & you will be let into cities without a pollution charge. But better would be to find a way to reduce your annual mileage . In the 10 year term, I guess than classic cars go the way of film cameras, everyone loves them but the number of people wanting the hassle drops.

One Planet, 28/07/2019

The most obvious point and i would put under ' disadvantage' is that you don't have a classic car anymore merely an electric car that looks like a classic car. The part that gives it soul and unique attributes namely the engine has gone, replaced by something that whilst having efficiency advantages and may well be the future has completely removed the reason why people love old vehicles.

GN, 11/02/2019

Hi to all DO NOT DO IT OR INDEED EVEN CONSIDER IT , Let the worlds leading powers get there act together first,by the time we’re seriously onside ring the matter,there will be plenty of alternatives,and greener fuels on offer. One must remember these vehicles represent were many one came from,in other words our true motoring Heritage,these old girls will be in there minority ,taking all into consideration,the number of electric vehicles that will be replacing everyday use motor vehicles,let alone alternative means of travel,ie drones ect In the grand scheme of things ,the offset will be extremely marginal to say the least. I notice there to be no mention of the inevitable level of depreciation of your classic ,by carrying out such alterations,thus taking away its originality. Sorry guys ,someone just has to stand up and say these things ,stick with it ,and hang on in there, AS ONCE SAID CARRY ON REGARDLESS REMEMBER IF IT WERE NOT FOR US CLASSICS WOULD BE WELL AND TRULY DEAD! !!!!!! THINK ABOUT IT

Del boy, 19/01/2019

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