(Editor’s note: Much was made this past weekend of the vintage but electric-powered E-type Jaguar driven to their wedding reception by British Prince Harry and his American bride Meghan Markle. Bob Golfen reported on the electrified E-type back in September 2017 and we are republishing his article here today so you don’t have to go searching for it.)
This 1968 Jaguar E-type appears to be a lovingly restored roadster from a half century ago, but it actually is a high-tech concept that looks directly into the future.
Called the E-type Zero, the roadster is no longer powered by its classic 4.2-liter DOHC six-cylinder engine but features a fully electric drivetrain engineered by Jaguar Land Rover Classic. The Jaguar will make its debut during the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest held September 8-10 at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts in London.
At a time when modern electric vehicles seem to be making major advances both technologically and in the marketplace, and collector car owners wonder about what the future might hold, the intent of Jaguar was to produce a classic car that retains its style and performance while emitting zero emissions and consuming no fossil fuel, the automaker said in a news release.
“Our aim with the E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership,” Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, says in a news release. “We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.”
The electric E-type stays true to the driving characteristics of the original, according to the engineers at Classic Works in Warwickshire, UK, where the car was produced. Special attention was made to create a battery pack and motor that would fit directly into the space where the engine and transmission would be in the original car, ensuring comparable balance and weight distribution.
The electric roadster weighs about 100 pounds less than the original, with the basic structure, steering and suspension remaining unchanged, Jaguar says.
“We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point,” Hannig said. “We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA. We could use this technology to transform any classic XK-engine Jaguar.”
The E-type Zero is also quick, sprinting from zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds, shaving a second off the time of a gas-powered E-type, although doubtless the rich exhaust thrum of the straight-six will be absent.
The driving range for the E-type Zero is around 170 miles before needing a recharge, which Jaguar says can be done overnight at home, with power provided by a 220kW electric motor fed by a 40kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
“The unique electric powertrain of the E-type Zero was developed by an electric powertrain specialist in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover engineers and to a specific brief from Jaguar Land Rover Classic,” the news release says. “It uses some technology and components borrowed from the upcoming I-PACE, the first production all-electric vehicle from Jaguar Land Rover.”
The E-type Zero will be displayed at the Tech Fest alongside the I-Pace Concept, Jaguar said, giving visitors a look at both the probable future of transportation and the possible future of classic cars.
Jaguar Land Rover announced Thursday in advance of Tech Fest that all of its vehicles starting with 2020 models will be electrified, either gas/electric hybrid or fully electric. The company also has revealed a sleekly futuristic and fully autonomous electric concept car, the Future-Type, which the automaker says represents its vision for the car of 2040.