So this is progress. You take a classic E-Type Jaguar, remove the XK 3.8-litre six-cylinder engine, and replace it with an electric motor. You can see why Tim Hannig, JLR Classic’s boss, referred to it at first as Project Marmite. But, love it or hate it, here it is.
This is Hannig’s project, a product of the Classics division. Could it be for you? Well, it might if you agree with Hannig’s vision of ‘classic motoring without the oil leaks’.
That aim is of course going to be enhanced by removing the engine and the gearbox altogether. Instead of that big and heavy iron-block engine you put in a 295bhp electric motor, its single-speed reduction gearbox and a battery good enough for a range of 170 miles.
At this point you might be thinking hmm, I wonder if that engine will come onto the market now? Afraid not. The beauty of this treatment is that the whole process is reversible, so you can add back the weight and the oil leaks of the old mechanicals whenever you like. The electric version is 46kg lighter, so overall performance should be about the same, whatever the motive power, with a top end of 150mph and a 0-60mph time of 5.5sec or so.
From the electric powertrain, power runs to the rear wheels through the original tailshaft and diff. Back there, in the boot, you’ll also find the inverter and power electronics, although if this conversion goes mainstream they’ll do some more work to ensure there’s more boot space than currently.
Will it go mainstream? That’s partly down to the strength of orders and interest, even though the EV-Type is going to cost over £300,000 fully restored.
So, what is it like? We went shotgun to find out.
It’s an E-Type, that’s for sure, with you sat low behind that epic bonnet length, but the sound is more like that of a jet engine than the characterful roar you’d normally associate with the scene before your eyes. But there’s no arguing with the massive torque thrust of that electric engine from absolutely nowhere. We didn’t go fast enough to find out too much, but it certainly works.
Whether it works for you is another matter. To some this is sacrilege, heresy, a crime against nature. But we live in a rapidly changing world, where legislation is changing equally rapidly. What does the future hold for those who want to run classic cars on the road? We don’t know. But this seriously out-there concept by JLR Classic could be one solution for a world that’s getting closer by the minute.