+VIDEO ‘The most beautiful electric car in the world’ is how Jaguar describes its latest project, the Jaguar E-type Zero. Absolutely accurate. It’s also a contender for the most beautiful car in the world, full stop.
The electric-powered E-type Zero was produced by Jaguar Land Rover Classic and first shown at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest on 8 September in London.
It’s not just a headline-grabbing marketing exercise according to Jaguar. Tim Hannig, Director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: “Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership. We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.”
Why is Jaguar doing this now? Well, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced that from 2020, every single model of its new cars will be available as an electric version. That, plus the British government’s announcement that all new cars will have to be electric by 2040. That means petrol will become less available which will have a knock-on effect on classic cars.
Should we worry? Yes, because there’s no way all classic cars can be converted to electric power. So lots of us will be storing petrol (ok, gasoline for Americans) which will have its own issues.
However, on the bright side, electric cars are not to be sneered at when it comes to performance, especially acceleration from standstill. The Jaguar E-type Zero wallops the original petrol-engined E-type on the 0-62mph time – 5.5 seconds, about a second quicker than the original. Range is always the factor with pure electric cars but Jaguar has done well to achieve about 170 miles, probably as much as a classic car owner would want to do in a day.
The E-type Zero shown here is a restored Series 1.5 Roadster. It’s totally original in specification, apart from state-of-the-art powertrain and modified instrumentation and facia. LED headlights are also used to achieve energy efficiency.
Bespoke electric powertrain
An electric powertrain developing 220kW has been specially designed for the E-type Zero. Its lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions, and similar weight, to the XK six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type. It’s also located in precisely the same location as the XK engine. The electric motor (and reduction gear) lies just behind the battery pack, where the original tE-type’s gearbox would be. A new propshaft sends power to a carry-over differential and final drive. Total weight is 46kg lower than the original E-type.
Using an electric powertrain with similar weight and dimensions to the outgoing petrol engine and transmission means the car’s structure, including suspension and brakes, has not changed, simplifying the conversion and homologation. It drives, handles, rides and brakes like an original E-type. Front-rear weight distribution is unchanged.
Tim Hannig said, “We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point. We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA.”