14th Dec 2018 7:00 am
Fitting electric motors to classic cars could turn them into replicas.
Love them or loathe them, it is likely that all cars in the future will be electric, and that the end of the road for internal combustion engines seems to be fast approaching.
If your car is not already an EV, aftermarket conversion kits should soon be widely available for older cars, but should you really fit one on your vintage, classic or youngtimer? I’m not very sure. While fitting electric motor kits may seem fairly straightforward, it would take away the character of a car originally fitted with an internal combustion engine. Legendary car builders like Enzo Ferrari took great pride in the engines they put in their cars, and to fit electric motors to classic cars, in my opinion, could turn them into replicas. To give you an idea, imagine a Lamborghini Countach with a silent electric motor instead of a roaring V12.
Every major manufacturer, today, already has an electric or hybrid model on sale. If you are a performance car fan, it isn’t all bad news though. Electric cars, like the Tesla Model S, boast performance that can rival any performance sedan, and Volkswagen smashed the 2018 Pikes Peak record with their I.D. R electric race car. Electric cars can be pretty impressive to drive too, as electric motors instantaneously deliver maximum torque as soon as current flows through them. However, the biggest drawback of full electrics today is still their somewhat restricted range, and a full charge could take at least a couple of hours as opposed to only a few minutes to fill up your tank at a regular gas station.
Manufacturers seem keen about electrics too. A classic Mini with an electric motor was displayed at the New York auto show and Jaguar too showcased the electrified classic E-Type Zero Electric at Pebble Beach this year, which, it claimed can sprint from 0-100kph in just 5.5sec. As much as I respect manufacturers like Jaguar for such an effort, I’m sure it wouldn’t sound as great as an original straight-six or V12-engined E-Type. But what I particularly liked about the car is that Jaguar says that the battery pack has the same dimensions, and similar weight, as the original’s six-cylinder engine and you can even get the car back to its original spec, should you wish to.
With the world moving swiftly towards EVs, the Government of India too has rolled out schemes like FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles), which will eventually get electric cars on our roads. Just like modern diesels changed the way we looked at diesel cars (before Dieselgate) a decade or so ago, I reckon we shall eventually adopt electrics once we experience them and see their benefits.
What I hope for though, is that classic cars are not electrified in large numbers, and are preserved. In that way, each car would preserve a slice of automotive history!