Electric Cars

Jaguar's electric E-Type Zero is an engineering marvel

It's faster and lighter than a stock E-Type, which means it's bound to be a riot.

Jaguar

Some view electrifying a classic car as heresy, while others appreciate how it blends both old and new. I was originally in the former category, but after seeing Jaguar's electric E-Type Zero, I've changed my tune.

Debuting as part of Jaguar's Tech Fest, the E-Type Zero is based on the 1968 Series 1.5 E-Type Roadster, which originally packed a Jaguar XK inline-6 engine. Since that's not very tech-y, Jaguar scrapped the entire powertrain and replaced it with a battery-electric setup.

If every electric car looked this good, I'd be much more optimistic about the future of EV design.

Jaguar

With about 295 horsepower on tap, the E-Type Zero can reach 62 mph in just 5.5 seconds, which is about a second quicker than a stock Series 1 E-Type. With a 40-kWh battery in tow, it can go about 170 miles before it needs some juice. The only parts of the powertrain that remain are the rear differential and final drive. Jaguar claims the E-Type Zero is about 100 pounds lighter than a standard E-Type, which is doubly impressive.

The outside doesn't look any different, and that's because it isn't any different -- save for some LED headlights and a charging port where the gas cap used to be. Inside, a new dashboard includes a gauge cluster screen as well as an additional infotainment screen. Since it doesn't have a manual transmission, a new rotary-style Jaguar shifter hangs out in its place.

If you're thinking that this would work pretty well in other vehicles, Jaguar's two steps ahead of you. The company notes that its new EV powertrain could "conceivably" be used in any old-school Jags rocking the XK six-cylinder engine, including the XK120 and XJ6. I smell a small-batch run of classic Jaguars with EV guts...

Because there's always a marketing angle, the E-Type Zero features some parts from the upcoming I-Pace crossover, which Jaguar hopes to have in dealerships in 2018. It'll closely resemble the concept from last year's LA Auto Show, but with some of the more extreme elements toned down a bit. It's still unclear when Jaguar plans to unveil the production version of the I-Pace to the public.