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RBW EV Roadster is the latest in cool rechargable rides

By David Bonnici, 09 Oct 2020 Car Advice

Classic EVs

The new MG-inspired roadster is one of a growing number of retro electric cars offering classic driving thrills without the oil leaks.

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.

960s MGB-inspired RBW EV Roadster

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.

OPINION: Converting a classic into an EV isn't cheap

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.

MORE: Electric Holden Torana E-A9X

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.

Jaguar E-Type  

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.

Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero

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.

MORE The man behind the eclectic E-Type

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

Czech Republic-based MW Motors specialises in retro-styled EVs including its Luka coupe that harks back to classic Euro fastback models such as the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and the Volvo P1800.


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.  

MORE: Volvo P1800 snapped in camo: classic goes electric?

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.

Nobe 100

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.

Nobe 100

As well as being three-wheel-drive, it also seats three people; two up front and one in the tapered rear.

MORE Nobe's delicious three-wheel drive city scoot revealed 

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.

Swind E Classic Mini

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.

MORE: New Mini Electric pricing and features

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.

Carice Mk1

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’.

Carice Mk1

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. 

Morris JE

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.

Morris JE EV

Paying homage to the iconic Morris J-Type, which was made from 1948 to 1961, the JE has a carbon fibre body and 320km range for emissions-free deliveries but comes with a hefty $115,000 price tag.

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