The rapid growth of electric vehicles in Europe and China has allowed for new players to use EV platforms to produce vehicles in small numbers, including reimagined versions of the great classic cars.
The latest of these is the 1960s MGB-inspired RBW EV Roadster that uses a brand-new body shell that sits on a drivetrain system developed in conjunction with Continental.
The patented system places the 70kW electric motor at the rear of the car and the lithium-ion battery technology under the bonnet, to give it similar weight distribution and handling characteristics as a classic roadster and a top speed of 130km/h.
It can be driven up to 260km between charges, and that range can be extended to 320km if you install a seventh battery cell.
While the handcrafted bodywork and interior fittings are faithful to its classic heritage, the RBW Roadster, like many retro EVs, features modern conveniences including a multi-function digital dashboard display, Pioneer infotainment system with smartphone mirroring and satellite navigation, and high-quality audio to compensate for the lack of a throaty exhaust note.
Sadly, plonking classic body shells in EV platforms doesn’t make owning a classic roadster any more affordable, with pricing starting at $163,000 before, which is more than a Tesla Model S.
RBW's EV architecture can be installed under other bodyshells such as Austin Healey, Jaguar E-Type, Mini and many more, which can be built to the clients’ personal specification and requirements.
Here are some other electrified classic cars, as well as some that feature all-new retro-inspired designs that could sway even the staunchest EV critic.
The E in Jaguar’s iconic sportscar’s nomenclature gained an all-new meaning when the company’s in-house Classic Division ditched its original six-cylinder engine for an all-electric powertrain, capable of propelling it to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds.
Called the Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero, it hit the world stage in style as the chariot of choice of Prince Harry and Megan after their wedding.
If you prefer an EV built from the ground up rather than a conversion, RBW also builds an E-Type on the same platform as the new EV Roadster.
MW Motors Luka EV
There are two versions, including the In Wheel that features four small 12.5kW motors (50kW combined) that drive each wheel resulting in a lighter overall weight, improved efficiency and increased luggage capacity.
It offers a 300km driving range, too, though its pace is slower thanks to the smaller motors.
Both the In Wheel and Traditional models are available as left- and right-hand drive and are priced from $66,000 and $50,000 respectively.
The novel Nobe 100 features a top speed of 109km/h, a range of 219km per charge and a removable battery pack tucked under the dashboard that resembles a leather attaché case.
As well as being three-wheel-drive, it also seats three people; two up front and one in the tapered rear.
It should cost around $A47,000. However, the Estonian-built car is yet to enter production, with its fortunes dependent on a crowdfunding campaign. The company website is taking pre-orders, though.
Swind E Classic Mini
The original Mini was always a great candidate for electrification and this one is built around a restored original Mini body on a bespoke powertrain with 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and 82kW electric motor that pushes it to a top speed of 130km/h.
It has a lower centre of gravity than the original Mini Cooper that helps delivers enhanced performance and handling, and the removal of the petrol tank increases boot space to a handy 200 litres.
Its $145,000 price is more than double that of the brand-new BMW-built Mini Electric, and you have to pay extra if you want creature comforts such as an infotainment system, air-conditioning, electric windows and central locking.
Heated seats are included in the price, however.
Priced from a relatively affordable $44,000, the Carice Mk1 is inspired by the Porsche 550 Spyder and is designed purely to ‘get back to the essence of driving’.
Designed and built in the Netherlands, it is unashamedly no-frills in terms of equipment levels - just like roadsters of old. However, you can see the attention to detail in the finished product, which combines retro driving pleasure with new EV tech.
The Morris name is returning to UK roads in 2021 after a 35-year hiatus. And it’s being pushed at fancy small business owners who want a premium zero-emissions van.