Not everything about the car industry is doom and gloom in 2020. British EV conversion specialist Lunaz has doubled the workforce and introduced a new model for 2021.
Having started building the world's first electric classic Rolls-Royces for those who want timeless style mixed with the latest electrified powertrains, it's now offering what it claims is the world's first fully electric, convertible SUV...
Joining the $600,000+ 1960s Rolls-Royce Phantom V or Silver Cloud in their catalogue, a fully restored, electrified and retrimmed original Range Rover is available from $450,000 - plus taxes, of course.
Like the Rolls Royce range, you can pick from four-doors, with long wheelbase optional, two-doors and even a convertible.
Lunaz has already established a sustainable business converting classic Bentleys and Jaguars at its Silverstone base near the famous F1 circuit, and claims to have been first to convert old Rolls-Royces. Now it's claiming the first fully-electric SUVs, too - retaining the 4x4 system of the Range Rover.
It's not exactly a ground-breaking price that'll transform the market, but for $450,000 a fully restored, electrically-powered Range Rover is Lunaz's most rational product yet.
Not only is the original Range Rover a trendsetting legend that established a template for what many consider to be the epitome of luxury cars now - height and dominance over the road and countryside alike - it's a great model for sustainable motoring, with lightweight aluminium panels, a bolt-on approach to maintenance and proven track record of repairability and accessibility that classic Rolls-Royce and Bentley models lack.
Lunaz converts the Range Rover as part of a bare metal restoration.
It's also not that unrealistic a price, given the values of even ropey Range Rovers are heading skyward and a full nut and bolt restoration isn't a cheap undertaking - even without the EV conversion. Better yet, you can hope that the donor cars are mopping up the unloved and unwanted, rather than the cherished and rare.
A good example of that is the Safari Top. Rather than seeking out rare converted open-top Range Rovers to electrify, Lunaz is converting models from standard hard-top bodies to create the desired open-air experience. The first one has already sold...
The Lunaz Range Rover comes in two flavours, 'Town', and 'Country'. Town represents something Range Rover never built itself - a two-wheel drive, passenger-focused experience with luxurious rear seating (choose the long wheelbase) and the option to really go to, er, town on the luxury appointments. Simplifying the drivetrain helps range, of course, but it also reflects the anticipated use of these as a city-centric vehicle.
The Country model offers all the benefits of a classic Range Rover, with a rebuilt - but authentic - four-wheel drive system on the single-motor model, or a motor per axle on the twin-motor setup. Details have yet to be released around performance, but we can assume it'll be quick, tractable and capable off-road given the original drivetrain beyond the motor isn't being altered significantly. Anti-roll bars improve the handling.
Unlike the monster packs in the Rolls-Royce conversions below, the Range Rover can be specified with 60kWh or 90kWh packs; these should give a potential for around 320 kilometres given the relatively light - by modern standards - construction of the Range Rover; at least before too many lavish options have been added.
Customers have a great deal of flexibility - including the aforementioned Safari conversion - but Lunaz is aware of the many details and diversions that exist within the Range Rover's evolution.
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We're assured that any upgrades will be sympathetic; if you've a hankering for 1970s simplicity or the refinement of the last soft-dash luxury, speak to Lunaz. Conversions on your own Range Rover are available too (as with the other classic cars Lunaz has worked with) but as part of a bare-metal restoration, the saving for providing your own is probably quite small.
Even in challenging economic circumstances, Lunaz is finding demand for converted, restored classics is growing - with a younger demographic finding the appeal of artistic, legendary styling with modern powertrains rather more alluring than the oily-rag enthusiasm of old.
As such, the workforce at Silverstone has doubled to meet capacity as an ever-more sophisticated process allows a wider range of classic cars to be converted using a blend of traditional coachbuilding techniques and F1-developed powertrain and chassis improvements. Demand for export is high as cities around the world turn to excluding ICE vehicles - classics included - to drive down local emissions.
Electric classic Rolls-Royces: how Lunaz converts them
Batteries of up to 120kWh mean these electric Rolls-Royces can travel up to 480 kilometres on one charge
First, suitable examples are sourced and given a ground-up restoration. Out go the period petrol motors (sigh...) and in comes Lunaz's proprietary EV powertrain.
That means a substantial 120kWh lithium-ion battery pack for the Phantom (claimed to be the largest cell of its type in production), which is enough for a claimed 500+ kilometre range. The Silver Cloud models make do with a smaller 80kWh energy pack, which interestingly carries a similar range claim.
Period details are retained throughout, although Lunaz will upgrade details like the Bakelite telephone between the rear seats with modern cellular technology. Sounds pretty cool to us - and clients can influence the design and personalisation to a high degree, as you'd expect at this lofty price.
Lunaz founder David Lorenz said: “The time is right for an electric Rolls-Royce. We are answering the need to marry beautiful classic design with the usability, reliability and sustainability of an electric powertrain. More than ever we are meeting demand for clean-air expressions of the most beautiful and luxurious cars in history. We are proud to make a classic Rolls-Royce relevant to a new generation.”
Prices for the Silver Cloud start at $630,000 (plus local taxes), whereas the Phantom models start at a cool $900,000.
This story was originally published on carmagazine.co.uk