Ten years ago, electric vehicles were extraordinarily rare and rather unrefined but in 2019, they’re not only becoming increasingly common from the world’s largest automakers but have started to pique the interest of car builders looking to update the powertrains of classic automobiles.
Small companies converting gas-powered vehicles to electricity have started to pop up around the world and the BBC recently had the opportunity to speak with Richard Morgan, the owner of Electric Classic Cars in Newtown, Wales.
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In recent years, Morgan has converted numerous ICE vehicles to electricity, including a Ferrari 308. Morgan refers to himself as an “ex-petrolhead” who has been converted to electricity and won over by the numerous advantages which EVs offer over vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel.
“It was nothing environmental, purely from a car point of view. How can I make it faster, better, more reliable?” Morgan describes when referring to his decision to open up his shop three years ago. In addition to converting a Ferrari 308, he has also created an all-electric 1974 BMW E9 and a Porsche 911 Targa. The Ferrari will hit 60 mph (96 km/h) in approximately 3.5 seconds and Morgan says that time could be lowered to 2.7-seconds but other components of the car wouldn’t be able to handle such acceleration.
Electric car builders often source their powertrains from Nissan Leaf or Tesla vehicles that have been crashed. Most then remove the engine and fuel tank from the cars they’re working on and replace them with a battery pack and an electric motor often connected up to the car’s original gearbox. Such conversions cost upwards of $24,000, but as more electric vehicles hit the roads, prices will inevitably start to fall and classic cars powered by electricity will become more common.