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September 11th, 2017 by


On the night of July 25th, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival with a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar in his hands. That night, he changed the world of Rock n Roll forever.

Minutes into the first song, the hippies began to boo. He was supposed to be their saviour, to liberate the world from the British invasion and The Beatles. Now, Dylan had gone electric, over to the enemy, and the followers of folk could not have been more irate.

Bob Dylan June 23 1978 58e11e2c5f9b58ef7efe9714 - Classic Goes Electric With The E-Type Zero

In a strange, roundabout way – this must be what petrol-heads and classic car enthusiasts feel like these days. Electric cars are here, and they’re here to stay.

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In With The New

Electric Vehicle (EV) Conversion has been around for a while. No doubt, by now a number of Randfonteiners have surely electrocuted themselves trying to DIY convert a Ford Cortina in their backyard.

A number of professional companies abroad have popped up, specializing in EV Conversion. There are also some in South Africa, here and there.

Here’s a term worth adding to your lexicon; Electric Vintage. For the classic car enthusiasts out there, you’ll be glad to hear that a few of these specialize in exactly that – converting your classic or vintage car to electric. These companies include Zelectric Motors, Wilderness EV and E-Drive Retro.

And now for something really worth getting excited about…

The Jaguar E-Type has long been considered by many to be the most beautiful car ever made, even by the likes of Enzo Ferrari. It’s so overwhelmingly beautiful that even the Museum of Modern Art has had one on display. That’s right… It’s not just a car. It’s a work of art.

And now, Jaguar Land Rover has launched the E-Type Zero.

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Based on the 1968 Series 1.5 Jaguar E-type Roadster, breathtaking design meets zero emissions for the first time. It not only drives and looks like an E-type, it also delivers terrific performance. The Zero features a cutting-edge electric powertrain, specially designed, enabling 0-100km/h in just 5.5 seconds.

Its lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions, and similar weight, to the XK six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type. It can be recharged at home in about seven hours. The car’s structure, including suspension, front-rear weight distribution and brakes, has not changed. It is designed to drive, handle, ride and brake just like an original E-type.

With the E-Type Zero, Jaguar may have future-proofed classic car ownership.

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05062017 CTAs 01 10 - Classic Goes Electric With The E-Type Zero

Out With The Old

Back in July, it was announced that France and Britain would ban all sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by the year 2040. Likewise, Volvo announced that it would only be making fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards.

The decision has been hailed as the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine. Concerns about the rising levels of nitrogen oxide posing a major risk to public health and the environment have been growing. We’ve finally reached that moment.

Norway and the Netherlands are also on board – pushing for a ban to be implemented as soon as 2025. Germany is aiming for 2030.

South Africa? We have about 300 electrical cars humming around our streets at the moment. By 2050, there should be three million. We’re hopelessly behind, and there are a number of problems holding us back. This includes the fact that the BMW i8 / i3 and Nissan Leaf drivers in South Africa have less than 100 stations at which to charge their electric cars.

Ever heard of range anxiety? The environmentally conscious waking at night in bouts of high fever have added it to their vocabulary with disdain. It refers to the constant stress experienced by an electric car driver, worrying that their car will run out of charge before they reach a charging station.

Right now, it may be the most significant reason why many are reluctant to purchase electric cars. Another reason – what about all those collectable cars we’ve been investing so much money in?

Thankfully, while government spends the next 30 years figuring out how to get their pants on, there’s still time to enjoy your classic V8 beauties.

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  • Francois Engelbrecht

    See how range anxiety will start to happen when you can’t afford fuel anymore.