Don’t hate classic electric car conversions
If there is one subject likely to arouse emotion among car enthusiasts, it is when a classic has been converted to run with an electric motor. Some people already have an irrational hatred of electric vehicles, but they lose perspective when a famous old vehicle has had its fossil fuel engine taken out. It sounds like the ultimate parody against a nostalgic view of vintage cars. However, with a few caveats, the electrification of classic cars is a very good thing. Here’s why.
Two conversions made in the UK that are particularly likely to invoke rage are the Ferrari 308 GTSi converted by Electric Classic Cars and the Rolls Royce Phantom from Lunaz. These are iconic vehicles that evoke a sense of history and for many the engines inside are a big part of it – the exotic Ferrari V8 and the Rolls huge V8. Likewise, the Porsche conversions created by UK-based Everrati miss the sound and soul of the legendary air-cooled six-cylinder boxer engines which are replaced by an electric powertrain, which some might consider essential. .
It would be a travesty to take a very rare classic and electrify it. Anyone who thinks that there shouldn’t be old fossil fuel cars allowed on the road doesn’t like automobiles at all. In the same way that buildings are listed to be maintained for posterity, so we allow their shortcomings from modern designs, there is a place for well-maintained classics. They are part of history, and they shouldn’t just sit still in museums all the time. Festivals in their honor like the London Classic Car Show (which I have attended for years) or Goodwood Revival are rightly popular. They testify to the ingenuity of the human genius of the past and the inspiration for the future.
The problem with a lot of classic cars, however, isn’t just the fact that most of them will have been produced before the emissions standards were even designed, let alone get as stringent as they are. now. They can also be extremely unreliable. The service interval on a Ferrari 308 was only 6,250 miles, even in new condition. If you own one now, chances are good that it will sit in the garage most of the time, unused, and when you take it out you probably won’t want to drive it on a long, important trip in case it does. would break down. .
Electric vehicles, on the other hand, are much more reliable than fossil fuel cars. Yes, there have been software issues with newer models like Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4. But mature electric vehicles like those made by Hyundai, Kia and Nissan hardly need attention. They are perfect everyday drivers for short trips around town and for commuting because they just work.
However, while there is fun in the modernity of the latest electric vehicles, especially Tesla’s radical approach with the minimal interior of the Model 3, the fact that they were generally designed using dynamics. Computational fluids (CFDs) and wind tunnels generally mean that electric vehicles are pretty bland. Watch. Very few have the characteristic appearance of a classic Ferrari, Rolls Royce or Porsche. Unfortunately, the best airflow design tends to lead to similar shapes, while the quirks of a classic design are often what make them less effective in this regard.
The electrification of a classic car offers the best of both worlds. You get most of the character of the original design (minus engine noise and gear changes), but with the reliability and convenience of an electric vehicle on a daily basis. For example, the British company Electrogenic recently converted a Triumph Stag into electric power. The stag is a beautiful design, and every kid I knew in the 1980s wanted one. But even when new it had some reliability issues. I had a few friends whose fathers were able to live the dream and buy a deer, but they never drove them because you couldn’t be sure they would someday start.
Classic cars are also not very fast by today’s standards. Go back a few decades and anything that hits 60 mph in less than 10 seconds would be considered sporty. Now virtually any family car can do this. Replacing an old internal combustion engine with a new electric one almost always results in more power and a lot more torque. Quite a few Volkswagen Beetles have been transformed into speed demons by electrification. In fact, it’s almost the perfect platform for the conversion, as the original Beetles are quite cheap to buy and barely rare, with 21.5 million produced.
It’s also great to see new electric cars designed to look like classics, like Watt Electric’s Porsche 365a-inspired vehicle. It’s sure to turn heads, but it’s much faster and safer than the original 365, and a car you could use every day. However, Everrati’s Porsche 964 conversions promise driving sensations far beyond what even the original car could deliver, via a reliable everyday EV transmission. EV West in the United States also offers many kits to convert classic Porsches and Volkwagens to electric vehicles. None of this is cheap, but the end result will be something unique and character.
As part of the transition to greener transportation, we run the risk of wasting much of the history of the automobile. It would be a shame to see roads entirely filled with bland new cars designed entirely for efficiency rather than aesthetic flair. Electrifying classic cars, rather than ruining the past, can make it more visible by ensuring that more of these vehicles stay active on the road rather than rot in garages. So don’t get mad about it. It is something that can put vehicles of the past back into everyday use, preserving their memory rather than burying it.