Would you exchange your basic automotive to electrical? How one of many world’s finest automotive restorers reveals the way in which
If, like me, you want to buy electric cars to save the planet, but also want to rush through the country roads in your vintage car on a sunny Sunday, then you have a challenge in hand. More and more owners of classic cars are asking about converting their cars to electric, but have had to make some blatant decisions. This has led many purists to simply ditch and forget about the idea, despite pressure from green-hungry millennials, some of whom believe classic gasoline cars should only be meant for the junkyard.
The selection is based on a series of simple offers. Take the engine and transmission out and throw them away, forget about the driving experience of a car shifting up through gears and quickly downshifting around a bend. That is past. All you have to do is accelerate and the car will be just as fast to 60 mph as the classic gasoline version, maybe even faster, but the experience of actually driving the car has been lost.
However, there is finally hope that one of the world’s most recognized classic car restoration companies has teamed up with one of the UK’s leading electric vehicle engineering companies to solve this classic dilemma. Classic Motor Cars (CMC) in Bridgnorth has been restoring classic cars for nearly 30 years with a reputation for restoring some of the most important E-Types and Jaguars of all time, as well as Aston Martins, Bugattis, Ferraris, Lancias and many more.
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The idea of converting a classic to an electric drive was anathema until recently, although the company was always up to date and fulfilled the wishes of a global customer base.
You can stop looking: I’ve found the perfect electric car
“The problem wasn’t that we didn’t want to keep up with the times, especially when customers asked us for a solution,” says CMC Managing Director Nigel Woodward.
“But finding a powertrain that worked and offered a real driving experience was impossible. We didn’t like the idea of putting motors on the wheels or adding an electric motor to provide a fast stop-and-start driving experience that would look like a bumper car at a fairground.
“We were worried when we looked at how some conversions were carried out with radical conversions of classic bodies and from our individual personal experience in working with large manufacturers in the field of electric vehicles, we could clearly see that many of the conversions we looked at to be desired.
“As a company, that was a dilemma. We knew we could revert a classic car to an award-winning specification, but we couldn’t find an EV partner who could achieve this level of expertise in converting the car from an internal combustion engine to an electric drive train. ”
Then the solution finally became apparent after a casual comment from one of Woodward’s friends led CMC to visit Electrogenic in Kidlington, Oxfordshire. What he found led him to an agreement that was signed earlier this month to allow the two companies to work together.
Nigel Woodward, left, and Steve Drummond, right, look at the electric drive of a 1964 Porsche (Photo: Dick Barnatt)
The mastermind for Woodward went into the Electrogenic workshop and saw an E-Type that had an electric motor in the right place under the hood and not on a wheel. It even had a proper clutch and gearbox. The moment of realization was the same for Steve Drummond, CEO of Electrogenic.
“Our goal from the start has been to make our cars better versions of themselves, and that includes keeping the classic driving experience,” says Drummond. “We wanted to keep transmissions whenever possible and offer a range of power and charging options, all of which blended seamlessly with the character of the car. We wanted the cars to be the same weight as the gasoline engines wherever possible, maintain their original driving characteristics and redistribute the weight where possible to improve handling. Now every time I get behind the wheel of a classic car, I think how much better it drives when it’s electric.
“We are very focused on our technology, however, and although we do a lot in-house to build things like battery boxes, engine mounts, and so on, we don’t restore vehicles. CMC obviously does and after spending some time at their Bridgnorth premises we are incredibly impressed but only with their organization and quality of work they do. We are therefore happy to have a trustworthy restorer to whom we can refer our customers. And we’re even more pleased that CMC stands for us and will refer customers to Electrogenic. ”
Not every classic car owner will convert to electric overnight, some will never do it and of course some cars should never be converted. But you can convert a classic Porsche to run around in environmental zones or to drive in environmental zones. Given that all the builds are reversible – and some of the owners are taking the engines home with them – there’s no reason not to think about remodeling your classic and doing something for the planet.