When you see a Land Rover Defender transformed into an E-Lander as part of an impressive display in Selfridges (for its planet friendly bid to make shopping more sustainable), entitled Project Earth, you know that electric vehicles have finally captured the zeitgeist.
Fashion and cars have always been intertwined and now it seems the country’s desire for beautifully restored classic cars in all their original glory has taken a new direction as some owners abandon the idea of elegantly pootling along in their traditionally powered motors and opt for greener electric propulsion.
But is this emerging trend more about style over substance? SPAL, purveyors of high performance EV engine and battery cooling fans, investigates.
Popular TV programme charting the transformation of these vehicles called Vintage Voltage was an ideal place to start. Watching a 1980s Ferrari 308 get an upgrade was an act of sheer genius and absolutely fascinating to witness.
The whole set up of the car has to be re-engineered. Decisions need to be made where you put the battery packs and thermal cooling thereof. Also fitting a Tesla electric motor into the existing engine bay takes some wrangling but all this can actually improve the weight balance and handling of the car. Though you have no roar of an V8 engine, the power is effectively doubled to 450hp.
Although not one for the purists, converting a classic to electric promises to save money on fuel, road tax, and congestion charges but also on maintenance and servicing costs since electric drive systems are largely maintenance free. Above all the owner of the vehicle finally has a reliable ride that is even better than the original inside, while looking exactly the same on the outside.
For all the savings however, a price tag of £65k is fairly eye watering but comparable with any faithful restoration, and of course it is a beautiful thing to give a new lease of eco-friendly life to a classic car for many years to come.