Autocar – Jonathan Bryce – DeLorean DMC-12

Electrogenic dumps the 1980s icon’s wheezy V6 for a rapid-charging battery and a punchy EV motor

Original article published June 2024

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/delorean-dmc-12-goes-electric-215bhp-and-150-mile-range

DeLorean DMC-12 goes electric with 215bhp and 150-mile range

Electrogenic has revealed a ‘plug-and-play’ conversion package for the DeLorean DMC-12, swapping the 1980s film star’s much-maligned V6 for a quicker and quieter EV set-up.

The Oxfordshire firm, which has previously produced electric conversions of the Citroën DS, Land Rover Defender and Jaguar E-Type, now offers a ‘drop-in’ EV conversion kit for the DMC-12.

It’s fully reversible and is said to turn the coupé into a “true sports car” with more power and far punchier performance figures.

The powertrain has been engineered to preserve the car’s original structure, with the “OEM-grade” 43kWh battery fitted in place of the rear-mounted fuel tank and the electric motor integrated into the rear axle.

The motor sends 215bhp and 229lb ft through a fixed-ratio gearbox, resulting in a 0-62mph time twice as quick as the original car’s, at 5.0sec.

The conversion can be fitted to original DMC-12s – with a manual or automatic gearbox – and adds just 40kg to the weight of the donor car.

Electrogenic electric DeLorean dashboard

Electrogenic CEO Steve Drummond said: “With its sci-fi design – still jaw-dropping over 40 years on – and underwhelming engine, [the DMC-12] really is the perfect candidate for conversion to electric drive.

“We’re now delighted to reveal our plug-and-play conversion package to the world. Developed entirely in-house using our proprietary technology, it gives the DMC-12 the sporting performance its futuristic shape always deserved.”

The battery gives the DMC-12 an 150-mile range and is chargable via regenerative brakes that adjust according to either of the two driving modes: Eco and Sport, the latter of which sharpens up throttle response and adds weight to the steering.

The battery can be fully charged on a CCS rapid charger in “under an hour”, although Electrogenic hasn’t quoted a maximum charging speed.

Drummond said the project “generates interest and excitement like nothing else” and he’d been “blown away” by the response that Electrogenic had received from the public.

Customers can specify their DMC-12 electromod with modern features including Apple CarPlay, an uprated air conditioning system and a bespoke virtual dashboard with displays for the driving modes, battery usage and charge status.

While prices depend on the condition of the donor car and rates set by Electrogenic’s partners who install the equipment.

Electrek – Scooter Doll – DeLorean DMC-12

Electrek article electric DeLorean

Great Scott! The DeLorean DMC-12 can now be retrofitted with an EV conversion kit announced by Electrogenic, bringing it into the 21st Century without any risk of going back in time and getting hit on by your mom. Phew. 

Original article published June 2024

https://electrek.co/2024/06/26/electrogenic-delorean-dmc-12-back-to-the-future-drop-in-ev-conversion-kit/

The famed DeLorean gains an EV conversion kit

Where BEV conversions are going, we don’t need roads… Actually, we still very much need roads, but we no longer need to look at the original DeLorean DMC-12, considered by many as a design far ahead of its time, as a dated combustion classic. The EV conversion experts at Electrogenic have introduced a new “plug and play” kit that can bring any sample of the original DeLorean into the future of electric mobility. It still can’t actually travel through time, though…

If you haven’t heard of UK-based EV conversion specialist Electrogenic yet, its latest addition to the portfolio will help you remember the name. Since being founded in 2018, the company has not only made it possible to electrify several classic cars but continues to do so using clever designs that maintain the integrity of the original vehicles with subtle touches to support their new all-electric powertrains.

The company uses specialized “drop-in” kits that present a “plug and play” solution for a growing lineup of notable models, including Land Rovers, classic Porsche 911s, and a 1960s Jaguar E-Type. Last summer, we covered Electrogenic’s most complex EV conversion to date – a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II commissioned by Aquaman himself, Jason Mamoa.

For its next EV conversion project, Electrogenic has once again tied itself to Hollywood and has gone (slightly) younger in the DeLorean as its next classic chosen to be electrified. The DMC-12 was the flagship model of DeLorean Motor Company that held a brief moment in the sun during the 1980s thanks to its gull-wing doors and stainless steel exterior (you’re welcome, Cybertruck).

The original rear-engine vehicle served as a lesson in design by Giorgetto Giugiaro… and a lesson in how not to run an automotive company by John DeLorean. Still, the DMC-12 remains a cult classic in pop culture thanks to its starring role in the Back to the Future franchise.

The original iteration of DeLorean Motor Company only lasted seven years, but it was revived as an all-electric brand in 2022. However, DeLorean 2.0 also shuttered its headquarters a year later. While we aren’t likely to see a new DeLorean EV model on roads any time soon, Electrogenic has introduced an EV conversion kit to electrify the original.

Electrogeinc electric Delorean by Lloyds Building

Great Scott! The DeLorean DMC-12 can now be retrofitted with an EV conversion kit announced by Electrogenic, bringing it into the 21st Century without any risk of going back in time and getting hit on by your mom. Phew.

The Electrogenic team said it exhaustively developed this new “drop-in” EV conversion package for the 1980s DeLorean, complete with its own proprietary EV powertrain technology that is “future-proof” and entirely reversible.

The conversion features 43 kWh of OEM-grade batteries positioned in place of the fuel tank beneath the front luggage compartment and above the rear motor. Thanks to its clever battery packaging, Electrogenic can keep the original structure intact without cutting anything.

It may not leave a trail of flames when it accelerates like it did on the big screen, but future drivers of the “plug and play” DeLoreans can take advantage of 160 kW of power and 310 Nm (~229 lb-ft) of torque. Despite the EV conversion weighing about 40 kg (88 lbs) more than the original V6 DeLorean, its all-electric powertrain halves its 0-60 mph acceleration from over ten seconds to less than five.

Other features include regenerative braking, range-saving Eco mode, and a Sport Mode for maximum power. Inside, you can add several other new features, such as Apple Car Play (thank you), enhanced air conditioning, and a bespoke virtual dashboard. The DeLorean DMC-12 is also the first Electrogenic EV conversion to feature “Launch Control” for sprints off the line at a red light… or if you want to try to bend space and time.

As with all Electrogenic EV conversion kits, the DeLorean offers CCS fast charging that can replenish in one hour, as well as vehicle-to-load (V2L) capabilities – 3kW of 240V power in case you want to set up a public screening of Back to the Future in a JCPenney parking lot somewhere.

Due to the limits in battery storage within the vehicle’s existing chassis, Electrogenic’s EV conversion of the DeLorean only offers 150+ miles of all-electric range, but that’s more than enough to cruise around and show it off. The DMC-12 has always been a head-turner, and BEV capabilities only add to its lore. Electrogenic CEO Steve Drummond shared a similar sentiment:

We’re delighted with the results of our ‘plug and play’ DeLorean EV conversion package; it transforms the DMC-12 from an American cruiser into a true sports car, with performance that perfectly matches its timeless space-age visuals. When John DeLorean set out to make the DMC-12 over forty years ago, he was determined to create a sports car that was sustainable and would stand the test of time. An EV conversion therefore makes total sense and feels in keeping with the ethos of the original project. I can also attest that the car’s original, Lotus-engineered, suspension is more than up to the task of handling the new-found torque; the car is fabulous to drive.

During the DeLorean’s road testing and calibration program for over the past few months, our engineering team has been blown away by the response it gets from the public; it generates interest and excitement like nothing else. You’re constantly being stopped by DeLorean fans asking for pictures or wanting to take a closer look at the car.

The DeLorean DMC-12 EV conversion kit is now available for sale through Electrogenic’s vetted global installer network, which includes numerous partners in the United States. 

Goodwood – Ethan Jupp – Rolls-Royce

Thought to be ‘the most complex classic car EV conversion yet completed’, this Phantom II now has in the place of its 7.7-litre pushrod straight-six a 93kWh battery delivering 150 miles of range. 

Original article published September 2023

1929 Rolls‑Royce Phantom II gets sympathetic EV conversion

Some cars were just born for all-electric power, even if they’re a century old. Take this 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, for instance. A car so elegant and celebrated for its refinement and luxury, can only get quieter, more powerful and more effortless with the switch. That’s why it’s the basis of Electrogenic’s latest EV conversion.

Thought to be ‘the most complex classic car EV conversion yet completed’, this Phantom II now has in the place of its 7.7-litre pushrod straight-six a 93kWh battery delivering 150 miles of range. 

The electric powertrain has been carefully and sympathetically integrated into the car’s existing structure, to ensure that the conversion is entirely reversible should someone desire in the future. The original form is entirely preserved, with no drilling or cutting used in the process.

Happily, the Phantom’s cavernous under-bonnet area, where that huge engine and transmission used to reside, is the perfect spot for a battery bank. In a bid to not entirely lose that under-hood form factor, Electrogenic has created a hand-formed and riveted aluminium cowling that should be in keeping with the rest of the car.

It wasn’t getting the electric bits into the Rolls that presented the challenge. It was integrating them with the car’s existing systems. No, we’re not talking about infotainment in a century-old Rolls. We’re talking about its famous centralised ‘through-flow’ chassis lubrication system, which connects the car’s phosphor-bronze bushes in its suspension system that informs the famous silky-smooth ride and drive. The same is the case with the classic cable braking system which has been adapted to integrate with the battery install. They now also work in tandem with the motor’s in-built regeneration function.

The batteries power an electric motor mounted between the chassis rails via a custom single-speed direct-drive transmission. The power is fairly spectacular, with the Rolls getting four-times that of its original petrol engine – 203PS (150kW), while the prop gets 1,000Nm (738lb ft) of torque.

On the inside, it’s been sympathetically modified, with gauges that now speak more accurately to readings around an EV powertrain, as well as a new HiFi system

“We’re delighted to reveal this fabulous EV converted Phantom II to the world,” said Electrogenic Director Steve Drummond. “It has been an immensely complicated and rewarding project, carried out over the course of 18 months by our team of sector-leading engineers, programmers and fabricators.

“This is undoubtedly the most complex classic car EV conversion yet attempted, the stunning results really are a testament to the world-leading talents of our team.”

So what do you think of this EV-converted Rolls-Royce Phantom II? We reckon the best car in the world can only get better.

Top Gear – Cat Dow – Rolls-Royce

Electrogenic showcases its latest modern-electric-meets-classic-stunner creation

Original article published 30 August 2023

https://www.topgear.com/car-news/electric/ooh-electric-1929-rolls-royce-phantom-ii-yes-please

Ooh, an electric 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom II? Yes, please

The talented lot from Electrogenic have been at it again, this time electrifying a Rolls Royce. And not just any Rolls: a superb 1929 Phantom II classic. Set to be showcased at the fancy Salon Privé event this weekend, the motor is a million miles from the gas guzzler of yore.

Electrogenic has taken the ginormous 7.7-litre pushrod straight six engine out of the Phantom II and replaced it with a 150kW electric motor sitting between the chassis rails. It’s powered by a 93kWh battery, sitting under the bonnet.

The Oxfordshire-based brand has a reputation for creating ‘drop in’ EV conversion solutions (and don’t forget its infamous commitment to preserving character in its cars). Yet this particular project was tricky to get off the ground after being commissioned by a private collector. 

Steve Drummond, Director of Electrogenic, said: “It has been an immensely complicated and rewarding project, carried out over the course of 18 months by our team of sector-leading engineers, programmers and fabricators… It’s been technically challenging – from initially exploring the feasibility of the project and technical specifications, to then developing different rendered options for how we would integrate the EV componentry. This included options for how the batteries should be displayed under the bonnet.”

There are certain hallmark quirks of a Rolls build – such as the centralised chassis lubrication system that creates the smooth drive, and the braking system – which Electrogenic tells us challenged its efforts to sympathetically re-engineer the Phantom to be all-electric. 

Shifting that engine and transmission out of the engine bay left, as you’d expect, a great void in which to sit the batteries. In typical Electrogenic fashion, there’s a sculpted aluminium cowling over the batteries so when the Phantom’s bonnet’s raised, the innards of the car are still as impressive as they ever were.

The Phantom now has an LED state of charge (SoC) gauge and a swathe of other EV-focussed meters, which we are assured have been ‘creatively re-worked’. Among the contemporary conveniences is a high-end multi-speaker audio system, which boasts Bluetooth connectivity and a sub under the rear seat for aural delights.

While Electrogenic hasn’t managed to reduce the two-tonne kerb weight of the thing, the Phantom II has around 150 miles of real-world driving range and a ‘power-harvesting’ regenerative braking system – which involves hitting the ‘regen doubler’ downhill to maximise those miles. Fun.

Drummond also said: “This is undoubtedly the most complex classic car EV conversion yet attempted, the stunning results really are a testament to the world-leading talents of our team.
 
“While it sounds like we’ve carried out a great deal of modifications – and we have – I’m particularly proud of the fact that, as with all Electrogenic conversions, nothing has been drilled or cut on the car. All the parts can be reassembled, and the car returned to its original state, if required.”

Naysayers, does that put your mind at ease?

Wallpaper – Jonathan Bell – Rolls-Royce

This Roll-Royce Phantom II is perhaps the most complex EV conversion ever undertaken, transforming the 1929 classic into a strong, silent EV that’ll fit right in with modern traffic

Original article published 31 August 2023 

https://www.wallpaper.com/transportation/rolls-royce-phantom-II-by-electrogenic-bespoke-ev-conversion

Electrogenic breathes new life into this 1929 Rolls-Royce with a bespoke EV conversion

The debate about the electrification of classic cars rumbles on. For some, it’s a necessary transformation that breathes new life into old designs, future-proofing them for the next generation and ensuring they can continue to be used in every setting. 

(Image credit: Electrogenic)

Others see the process as something approaching sacrilege, the desecration of the beating heart of an old car, removing the sound, smell and sensations that give an automobile its meaning and soul. Electrogenic obviously doesn’t agree. The UK-based company has applied its electrification skills to a wide variety of classics, creating bespoke EV versions of everything from the Volkswagen Beetle to the Citroën DS. It also produces kits for the Land Rover Defender, classic Porsche 911, and Jaguar E-Type, reducing the complexity of a conversion with a standardised feature set. 

(Image credit: Electrogenic)

This, on the other hand, is almost guaranteed to remain a one-off. Commissioned by a private collector, this transformation of the 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II into an EV is the culmination of an 18-month process – ‘an immensely complicated and rewarding project’, according to Steve Drummond, Electrogenic’s director.

(Image credit: Electrogenic)

Interwar EV conversions are rare enough, but tackling the majestic scale of the Phantom II took the company’s skills to another level, with thousands of hours’ worth of work required to install 93kWh of batteries beneath Rolls-Royce’s long bonnet. The cells are housed in a hand-riveted aluminium cowling that evokes the complexity of the original 7.7-litre straight-six (removed and retained for future reinstatement, should that ever be necessary). The braking system was subtly updated, and a contemporary sound system was also embedded discretely within the original cabin.

(Image credit: Finn Beales)

Electrogenic’s specialism is incorporating batteries into a car’s existing structure, and while the Phantom II offered a lot of space within its HJ Mulliner & Co coachwork, there were still extensive calculations and CAD modelling required to combine two technologies separated by a century. The end result emphasises classic Rolls-Royce values – smooth, silent, effortless progress – with a range of around 150 miles.  

Top Gear – Paul Horrell – Citroën DS 

“Behind me are the ghosts of the DS’s creators… finally satisfied that after all these years this is exactly the DS they would have built were they able.” 

Original article published 13 September 2022 

https://www.topgear.com/car-news/big-reads/driving-restomodded-electric-citroen-ds

Driving a restomodded electric Citroën DE

Behind me, sitting in the big sofa of a back seat, I have passengers. They’re the ghosts of the DS’s creators, but the apparition doesn’t feel sinister. They are surely delighted, finally satisfied that after all these years this is exactly the DS they would have built were they able. 

It’s beyond argument that the DS is one of the most beautiful cars ever. But also for its era the most advanced, both stylistically and technically. During its Paris show appearance, Citroen took 80,000 deposits, a record unbeaten until Tesla’s Model 3. Right from its 1955 debut it had high-pressure hydraulics for the self-levelling suspension, steering and brakes, which had discs mounted inboard to cut unsprung mass. It ran on radial tyres. The monocoque body had demountable panels and a lightweight glass fibre roof. Later, that shark nose got faired-in headlamps that steer around corners. 

But none of that is what we’re here to talk about. Because missing from that list of advances is the propulsion. The DS was meant to have a new flat six. But Citroen ran out of money, so it inherited the boring pushrod four from the older Traction Avant. 

Photography: Mark Fagelson
This feature was originally published in Top Gear magazine

So it makes perfect sense to replace that with electric drive as Oxfordshire converter Electrogenic has done. You might think other electromods – perhaps evicting a wonderful Jaguar XK engine or a Porsche flat six – are sacrilege, but surely you can surely get behind a transplant that gets rid of an engine the car’s creators never wanted. Or do you fear an electric drivetrain will subtract from the complex engagement of driving a classic? Carburetted engines cough and splutter; old gearboxes have weak synchro. Negotiating that lot takes skill. Wouldn’t a one-gear electromod be duller? 

Well bless my soul, this one has a clutch and gears. It runs at a lower voltage than today’s electric cars – 110V instead of 400 or 800. This simplifies the installation. It also means the motor has a narrower rev range, so it’s worth keeping the original gearbox. Of course the motor, unlike an engine, can drop to zero revs. So in town if it’s not hilly you can just stick it in second or third and drive like a ‘normal’ EV. But for interest – and efficiency – you can use the upper gears on faster roads, and shift down to get extra regeneration, which adds range because it’s not a blended brake system. 

As with anything mid-century Citroen, the gear lever is unconventional, a large wand branching off the steering column. It’s not actually intimidating to operate, easing through its up-down gate with a gentle ker-lunk. One rather hilarious touch is this car still has its original choke knob. Pull it out and you switch the motor, for reversing. Oh and one more quirk. Although you use the clutch for changing gear, you don’t touch it for starting or stopping because, remember, the engine’s ‘idle speed’ is zero. 

Open the gorgeously contoured door, sink down into the pillowy seat and activate the systems. With a hiss the body gently arises from its slumbers. The accelerator has a long travel, with a very gentle tip-in, so it’s easy to be smooth. But flex your ankle all the way and it has the sort of surge that, while not overdone, is definitely handier than the original. Power is 120bhp. Torque delivery has been carefully mapped to preserve the transmission, which means it rather resembles the long-stroke OHV engine that lived here before. 

Batteries sit under the back seat in place of the fuel tank, as well as above the motor under the bonnet. Total is 50kWh. Range would be about 150 miles. Enough for the owner of this car, who drives it daily, to have just returned from a lovely tour of France, with plenty of lunches. You wouldn’t mash the range by hauling down the autoroute, would you now? Because it’s low-voltage, DC rapid charging would cook the cells, so this one takes 22kW three-phase, enough to replenish in just over two hours. 

It’s cleverly packaged, stealing not a jot from the immense cabin space, nor the boot. Unless you lift the bonnet, the only sign is the missing tailpipe. The cabin too is as per original, although the glovebox hides a charging info screen. Electrogenic’s conversions swerve criticism of historical vandalism by being wholly reversible: “We don’t cut the original car.” They start by unbolting the newly superfluous – engine, radiator, exhaust, fuel tank – before digitally 3D scanning the original body and chassis. Then they design a package of electric components to fit those spaces and suit the original weight distribution: batteries, motor, charger, inverter, DC-DC converter and cabin heating. In the case of the DS and a Rolls Silver Shadow, also fluid suspended, they built an electrically driven hydraulic pump too. 

It’s costly, of course. Electrogenic doesn’t like to put a number on things until it has had an honest talk with a prospective customer about how the car will be used. People tend to start by overspecifying, paradoxically. It’s not a prix fixe menu. Most of Electrogenic’s conversions are bespoke, and it offers loads of choices in motor, battery size, voltage and more. (There’s a cheaper drop-in kit for Land Rovers, as used at Glastonbury’s Worthy Farm, and there will soon be one for Minis.) You’d be looking somewhere around £40,000. But then, look what people spend on engine rebuilds for their classics. By the way, if you still don’t fancy this gearshift business, and want rapid DC charging, Electrogenic can also design and build 400V single-speed conversions. Anyway, electrification will future-proof a much-loved heirloom, as well as make it city friendly for today. 

And boy you’d want to future-proof a DS. It might be worthy of exhibiting as a static sculpture – it often has been, and indeed its designer Flaminio Bertoni began his career as a fine-art sculptor. But the DS’s imperative is to move. From the outside its shape animates captivatingly with changing light and angle. From inside its look and engineering were, and remain, magical and deliciously other. It’s utterly French, a combination of fiercely independent Rive Gauche intellectualism with a hedonistic luxury. 

This 1972 example has a lovely period scheme of browns – Ambre Solaire paint, grand-crème carpets, pain au chocolat seats… not so much seats as deeply cushioned fauteuils that gently caress your body. And yellow headlights, of course. The single-spoke wheel seems to be wrapped in bar tape from a Seventies Gitane bike. Visibility is panoramic. There’s loads of room, so much so that you loll about in vigorous cornering. 

Well, I say vigorous. There isn’t much grip, so the roll angles are less than you’d expect. The sensations of pitch and heave are hardly more than in, say, a modern LR Discovery. The steering is very precise for an old car, and understeer isn’t an issue. The high-pressure brakes are a world better than in most old cars. You soon get used to their zero-travel rubber bulb ‘pedal’. And the ride. Oh the ride. Sharp potholes can intrude, but you mostly float along like a plane just above the runway. 

So, yeah, the DS really does live up to its design. Engineering and art intersect at a near-supernatural locus. It’s elevated even higher by this silent electric impulsion, and the ghosts can ride in peace. 

Autotrader – Rory Reid – Porsche 356

“Whoever said electric cars couldn’t be engaging – I’m sorry, you’re gonna have to think again!” 

Original article published 12 November 2021 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXhOyghwJnE

MANUAL Electric Porsche 356 Review: An EV For Petrolheads! 

The Electrogenic 356 is no ordinary Porsche restomod. This one might look like the original, but there is one big change: it’s been electrified. Now, in most cases, electrification is carried out in order to improve efficiency, but in the case of this electrogenic 356, electrification has also been applied to improve FUN. 

Sunday Telegraph – Ed Wiseman – Jaguar E Type

“This car has no shortcomings – it is not a compromise, nor a concession, just a continuation of the British engineering might that once created the world’s most inspiring machines.” 

Original article published 6 August 2023 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/features/classic-cars-survive-electric-vehicle-revolution/

How very old cars will survive the EV revolution

While the war on motoring rumbles on with a political focus, there’s still plenty for petrolheads to be excited about on the ‘Road to Zero’ 

‘Everything about the E-Type, except for its exquisite bodywork, has been deftly coaxed into the 20th century’ CREDIT: Jeff Gilbert 

You’d be forgiven, if you’re a “car person”, for feeling a bit jaded at the moment. Rightly or wrongly, the so-called war on motorists rages on, sucking any remaining joy out of driving with its daily barrage of fees and fines. And with the world turning against fossil fuels, it’s the older, more interesting cars taking the flak – anything running on petrol, especially classics, is steadily losing ground in a world increasingly dominated by electric SUVs. 

All of this weighs heavily on my mind as I wait at a windy bus stop in Oxfordshire, having left the car at home in the spirit of environmentalism. My eco-friendly, multi-modal journey by e-bike, train, Tube and bus has taken nearly three hours and cost some £67.25 – all to report on yet another EV conversion firm that takes old classics and gives them a new lease of battery-powered life. 

It’s an extremely divisive topic. On the one hand, half the appeal of a classic car – if not two-thirds – is held in its engine, the furious, galumphing contraption that once made a car a car. We appreciate classics for how they sound almost as much as how they look – the way their roar scatters woodpigeon as they tear down country lanes, and their charismatic rumbling parked in sunny pub gardens. On the other hand, petrol is taboo now; if we want to pass classic cars onto the next generation, as our parents did, converting them to run on cleaner fuel is not sacrilege but simply preventative maintenance. 

My bus lurches to a halt in Kidlington, a village so mundane it was once an attraction for Chinese tourists wishing to experience “authentic” Britain, away from the saccharine chocolate-box towns found elsewhere in Oxfordshire. It can be tempting to think of our nation as a sort of singularity that occurred in 1953, with rakish young men driving Triumphs and MGs across unspoilt countryside, but no – here is a Tesco, some chain pubs and a large Skoda dealership, its forecourt packed full of European SUVs. 

Electrogenic exists in this real-life version of Britain, rather than its imagined past. On the outskirts of the village, near what was once the railway station before the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, there’s a small industrial park, where Electrogenic’s engineers take classic cars, strip the petrol engines and associated gubbins out of them, and add the kinds of advanced electric powertrains more commonly found in brand-name EVs. The company’s results are said to be astonishing. 

Steve Drummond: ‘The problem with classic cars is that they were built for a bygone era. Convert them to electric and they can suddenly keep up with modern traffic’ CREDIT: Jeff Gilbert 

“We make cars you actually want to drive,” says founder Steve Drummond, after buying me a coffee from the snack van. 

“There’s a whole part of your brain, when you drive a classic, that is listening for some weird noise coming from the engine,” says Steve. “With our kits you lose that underlying tension and you can relax and enjoy driving.” 

“If you just want to keep classic cars on the road and not burn fossil fuels, then burn e-fuels,” says Steve. “But they have a lot of environmental challenges, they’re expensive, and they still involve an engine, which has a lot of moving parts and breaks down a lot.” 

Electrogenic’s solutions are not just eco-friendly but also an antidote to the ageing and increasingly unserviceable engines that make owning a 20th-century car unsustainable in a different way. Taking a clattery old car that can only be brought to life on a warm day and turning it into a machine that starts on the button every time is part of Electrogenic’s engineering magic. And the real-world performance far outstrips anything a petrol engine could achieve. 

“The other thing is that it’s not scary,” continues Steve. “The problem with classic cars is that they were built for a bygone era. Convert them to electric and they can suddenly keep up with modern traffic. The classic goes from being a thing that sits on the driveway and gets taken out a couple of weekends a year, to a practical second car.” 

Steve leads me into Electrogenic’s workshop, which is superficially as familiar as any other garage, but technologically alien. In the middle is a British Army WMIK (pronounced “wimmick”) stripped of both its M2 Browning and its internal combustion engine. Instead it has a silent and powerful motor and battery installed, at the behest of the MoD, in conjunction with defence contractor Babcock. Beside it is a different Land Rover, crudely painted in cow-print, destined for Worthy Farm. This is the coal face of the British automotive industry; engineers sit at computers, coding, with complex electrical mechanisms laid out on boards on the wall, next to an old camper on a post-lift. There is the distant crackle of Radio 2. 

Electrogenic’s engineers add the kinds of advanced electric powertrains more commonly found in brand-name EVs to classic cars CREDIT: Jeff Gilbert 

“You can’t write about that, or that,” says Steve with a smile, pointing to a number of things I can’t mention, before ushering me towards my demonstrator for the day, a silver-blue Jaguar E-Type. I’d forgotten how pretty these cars were. It prowls down the lane adjacent to the workshop, the silence of its new powertrain underscoring its effortless poise, and I clamber in; it’s still an authentic E-Type – clearly designed for diminutive canoeists. We pull out onto the B-road. 

At precisely the moment the Jag’s straight-six is meant to roar into life, the Electrogenic E-Type delivers a pulse of torque in near-silence. We accelerate to the speed limit in under six seconds, only the whirring of the transmission and the distant creak of the Jag’s veteran fuselage to accompany the sheer speed. It’s an experience unlike any other – I have driven a lot of cars, and experienced some genre-defining acceleration, but never while staring out over the endless bonnet of an E-Type. 

It handles better, too, and the ride is improved. Everything about the E-Type, except for its exquisite bodywork, has been deftly coaxed into the 20th century – the way it drives, the sheer experience of being in it at speed. It bounds with confidence over the undulations in the A4260, and overtakes a supermarket lorry in the manner of a modern supercar. Unlike a classic Jag, I could drive this every day, and unlike most new EVs, I’d actually want to. 

The acceleration of an electric engine in the chassis of a classic car is quite the experience CREDIT: Jeff Gilbert 

We turn into the disused RAF Upper Heyford to explore the car’s limits, the silhouettes of a new housing development on our horizon. I floor it. This car has no shortcomings – it is not a compromise, nor a concession, just a continuation of the British engineering might that once created the world’s most inspiring machines. It has the handling and performance of a modern sports car and the soul of a Jaguar E-Type. It’s an exemplary car. As a nation, we would have done this earlier if we could. 

It’s an overcast Friday in July and I’m driving a battery-electric Jaguar E-Type down the taxiway of an old air base. I can hear the birds. If this is our future, then it’s a bright one. Everything is going to be OK. 

Total 911 – Tim Pitt – Porsche 911 kit

“It catapults out of corners, piling on speed in a seamless, head-spinning rush.  If you had this RS replica for daily commuting, then a real 2.7 RS for weekends, you might have the ultimate two-911 garage.” 

Original article published in the March 2023 Total 911 Issue 229 

Green party

Electrogenic has developed a ‘drop-in’ kit to convert the classic 911 into an EV. Total 911 is among the first to drive it. 

When we drove Everrati’s restomod 964 two years ago (Total 911, issue 207), the idea of an electrified 911 seemed deeply divisive. Since then, registrations of new electric cars have soared 54 percent, numerous brands – from Ford to Bentley – have committed to going fully EV by 2030, and the Taycan has regularly been Porsche GB’s best-seller. Perhaps a battery-powered 911 is no longer quite so controversial?  

“We’ve definitely seen a change,” says Vic Crofts, head of marketing at Electrogenic. “People used to ask us why you would convert a classic car to electric power. Now they ask us how to do it.” We’ll get to the why later, as it remains a valid question. But first let’s focus on the how, because Electrogenic’s new ‘drop-in’ EV conversion kit is the real story here.  

Much like for the Neunelfer itself, it all begins with the Volkswagen Beetle. Back in 2017, Electrogenic co-founder Steve Drummond decided to electrify his classic VW. Three years later, I drove the company’s first customer car: a lovingly restored ’63 Beetle with Tesla battery modules, fast charging capability and a range of 140 miles. ‘Bertie’ felt like a curio at the time, but he was the start of something much bigger.  

Today, Electrogenic’s workshop – located near Oxford and led by senior mechanic Oli Cook, formerly of Theon Design – converts around 12-15 classic cars a year. All its hardware (and software) is now bespoke. One of Cook’s notable innovations has been to combine an electric motor with a traditional manual gearbox, best exemplified by the four-speed Porsche 356C Coupe that appeared in the press and at various car shows last summer.  

The real turning point for Electrogenic, though, came amidst the mud, sweat and beers of Glastonbury 2022. Worthy Farm, home of Britain’s most famous music festival, wanted to ‘upcycle’ its fleet of old Land Rovers, so Electrogenic developed a simple conversion that retained the original gearbox and drivetrain. The fitted cost of £24,000 plus VAT could be offset against estimated fuel savings of £6,000 a year.  

In the weeks after Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar and Greentea Peng (no, me neither) had all gone home, Electrogenic was flooded with enquiries about its electric Defenders. It established a network of trained installers and started selling two kits: one aimed at agricultural users, the other more road-focused. Now the company hopes to replicate that success with a ‘plug-and-play’ EV conversion kit for our favourite German sports car.  

Offered for the G-J series 911 and 964 models, the ‘Powered by Electrogenic’ kit arrives in several large plywood boxes and comprises front and rear battery packs, the electric motor, a reduction gearbox, custom drive shafts, cables, control modules and a modified rear subframe. Fitting should take around 15 days, including removal of the original engine, with a total cost in the region of £100,000 (plus the donor car, of course).  

As with the Defender, Electrogenic offers two options. The E62 kit combines a 62kWh battery with a 160kW motor: good for 220hp, 312Nm of torque and 0-62mph in ‘less than five seconds’. Spending an extra £20,000 on the ‘truly thrilling’ E62s upgrade gets you a 240kW motor, which serves up 320hp, 420Nm and 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds – only four tenths slower than a new 992 GT3. Top speed for both versions is around 120mph.  

More practically, Electrogenic’s conversion offers a realistic range of 180-200 miles, while 50kW charging capability means a full fill-up takes an hour at a public rapid charger. Charging from empty with a 7kW home wallbox requires around seven hours, or more like 12 hours via a three-pin plug. For comparison, the Porsche Taycan can charge at 270kW and offers a WLTP-certified range of up to 301 miles.  

This particular 911 started life as a 1985 Carrera 3.2, but has been backdated to resemble a 1973 2.7 RS. Commissioned by a London-based customer, it’s fitted with the ‘standard’ E62 kit. Our rendez-vous takes place at Bicester Heritage, a decommissioned military base and now the epicentre of Britain’s classic car industry, where Electrogenic has its second home. Being resident here affords access to the on-site airfield, which is where we’re headed next…  

Lurking beside one of Bicester’s rusted iron warehouses, the electric 911 does a decent impression of the Rennsport icon. Long of bonnet and ducked of tail, it wears the requisite chrome brightwork and rides on dished Fuchs alloys. Its Irish Green paint also looks period-correct, being part of the Porsche palette from the 911’s inception in 1964 until the SC arrived in 1978. Regular readers of Total 911 will, naturally, recognise it as the colour of editor Lee’s modified 996, but it was also applied to 12 examples of the ’73 RS (out of 1,590 cars in total).  

Get up close and you spot the absent ‘2.7’ badge on the engine grille and, more tellingly, the lack of an exhaust pipe. There’s also a flip-open CCS charging port beside the rear number plate (“The fuel flap wasn’t large enough to accommodate it,” explains Electrogenic engineer Alexander Bavage) along with a slightly raised ride height, needed to compensate for the extra 120kg on board.  

For a Carrera 3.2 Carrera in standard spec, that represents an increase in kerb weight of around 10 percent. However, circa. 1,330kg is still pretty slender for an electric car (the lightest Taycan tips the scales at 2,130kg), especially when you consider the motor’s additional torque. “We decided against a huge battery cooling system in order to save weight,” says boss Drummond. “Our customers typically only use CCS rapid-charging once every couple of months, so it isn’t necessary.”  

The modest gains in both weight and output offered by the E62 conversion also keep costs in-check, by obviating the need to modify other components. The 911 still has its standard disc brakes (now with an electric servo) and torsion bar suspension. Stepping up to the E62s kit, which has more power than a 930 Turbo 3.3, would arguably require a few upgrades.  

Inside, the Electrogenic 911 also, quite deliberately, looks much as Zuffenhausen intended. The seats are retrimmed in rich caramel leather, plus there’s a dished Momo steering wheel with a yellow centre-marker and lightweight door cards with later RS-style fabric pull-straps. It feels purposeful, albeit very comfortable. The rear seats are retained, too.  

The 911’s five-dial dashboard looks standard, but the original clocks have been cleverly repurposed. The former fuel gauge now shows the state of battery charge, oil temperature is actually motor temperature, water temperature is charger temperature, and the oil pressure gauge reveals the level of energy regeneration. Later, back at the workshop, Bavage shows me a work-in-progress digital display that condenses all this information onto one customisable screen, but I rather like the analogue approach. If you want lots of screens, buy a Taycan.  

Under each side of the dashboard are two small boxes: a pair of 400-volt electric heaters. “They warm the cabin far more quickly than relying on an air-cooled engine,” says Bavage. “The heat is instant.” Easily the most obvious departure from a stock 911, though, is the Jaguar-style rotary gear selector between the seats. “We can offer a normal, automatic-style lever,” Bavage adds, “but this customer liked the ease of a three-position switch.”  

You will note that, unlike the 356, this car doesn’t have a manual transmission. That’s because the Carrera’s five-speed 915 ’box can’t handle the extra grunt of the electric motor (the 356 only mustered 120hp and 235Nm), so the car has a single-speed auto with a straightforward choice of Neutral, Drive or Reverse. Electrogenic can also offer selectable drive modes – Eco, Traffic and Sport, which adjust the throttle response and level of lift-off regen – but again, this owner chose to keep things simple. “It’s basically in Sport mode all the time,” says Bavage with a grin.  

‘Simple’ really is the word when it comes to driving an electric car. Switch on the ignition, put your foot on the brake, select Drive and then glide away in eerie near-silence. The experience feels quite disconcerting when you’re looking over the fulsome front wings of a classic 911, with floor-hinged pedals underfoot and an RS ducktail bobbing in the mirror. Where is the drama and excitement?  

That arrives when you squeeze more forcefully on the right pedal. Another common characteristic of EVs is performance – and plenty of it. As I swing onto the back straight at Bicester, it feels like an enormous hand has scooped up the little Porsche and hurled it down the runway. Traction on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres (OEM fitment for the 992 Carrera) is immense, even with the outside temperature close to zero. With the full 312Nm always on tap, it catapults out of corners, piling on speed in a seamless, head-spinning rush. If anything, it feels even quicker than the figures suggest. The E62s version must be savage.  

Ah yes, you are thinking, but what about that extra 120kg over the back axle? Well, Electrogenic has housed two thirds of the batteries in the 911’s front boot, with the remainder (plus the electric motor) under the engine lid, so front:rear weight distribution is now 49:51 percent – or considerably better balanced than the original Carrera. “This setup gives you more stability and confidence,” says Bavage. “We aim to build cars that are great to drive from an engineering point of view, rather than simply from a purist’s perspective.”  

You still need to strongarm the unassisted steering and take account of the non-ABS brakes, but the Porsche is less eager to break away, and very controllable when it does. Even with no electronic stability aids, this isn’t a car that intimidates close to the limit. The utterly linear response of the electric motor and stepless transmission certainly help here. In the real world – rather than on a racetrack – the car’s compact size is refreshingly liberating, too.  

But does it feel like a 911? That’s a different question. Without the rearward weight bias, the EV doesn’t squat on its haunches so noticeably when you accelerate out of corners, nor does it feel as playful or challenging. Objective improvement has come at the expense of some character.  

That’s nothing compared with the effect of removing the flat-six, though. For me, that breathy and boisterous air-cooled engine is a key constituent of a classic 911. Unlike the clattery old diesel lump in a Defender, or perhaps even the thrummy flat-four in a 356, it’s part of what makes these cars so revered. The high-pitched whine of an electric motor will never make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, no matter how quickly you are going.  

That brings us to the question of why. Electrogenic’s brochure opens with the words: ‘Imagine an E-Type that never goes out of tune. Imagine a Jensen Interceptor that starts every time’ – yet reliability has never been an issue for well-maintained 911s. Granted, running costs for an EV will be lower, but you’ll never make back that £100,000 for the conversion. The environmental argument for replacing an existing engine with brand new batteries, full of rare-earth metals, also seems shaky at best.  

On the other hand, the e-911 is more refined and easier to drive than a classic Carrera – and considerably quicker to boot. It can venture into London without incurring the £12.50-a-day ULEZ charge and is future-proofed for use in other cities around the world. It’s also something a bit different: a talking point even for those with limited interest in cars. If you had this RS replica for daily commuting, then a real 2.7 RS for weekends, you might have the ultimate two-911 garage.  

Electric conversions for the 911 are still controversial, no question. If you’re tempted to take the plunge, though, Electrogenic’s E62 kit is likely the easiest, best executed and – short of sourcing a bunch of batteries from a crashed Tesla – most affordable option. We are told the list of approved installers will soon include several well-known Porsche specialists, so watch this space.  

Model: Electrogenic E62 911 
Year: 1985 
Engine 
Battery pack: 62kWh 
Maximum charging speed: 50kW Maximum power: 220hp 
Maximum torque: 312Nm Transmission: Single-speed automatic  

Suspension  

Front: MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, longitudinal torsion bars Rear: Semi-trailing arms, lateral torsion bars  

Wheels & tyres  

Front: 6×16-inch 205/55/ZR16 Rear: 8×16-inch 225/50/ZR16  

Performance 0-62mph: <5.0sec Top speed: 120mph Weight: 1,300kg  

Forbes – James Morris – Jaguar E Type kit

“Is This the coolest electric vehicle ever?  You can imagine you’re back in the Swinging Sixties without the reliability downsides. Yeah, baby!” 

Original article published 8 July 2023 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmorris/2023/07/08/is-this-the-coolest-electric-vehicle-ever/

Is This The Coolest Electric Vehicle Ever? 

The technology in new electric vehicles may be cutting edge, but that doesn’t always give them a sense of occasion to drive. Classic fossil fuel cars, in contrast, have bags of character, but can be an absolute nightmare to run as a daily driver. What if you could have a bit of both in one package? British EV conversion specialist Electrogenic reckons it has the answer with a series of drop-in kits to make electrifying your favorite classic car easier. I tried out the company’s latest creation – an electric Jaguar E-type. It could be the coolest EV I’ve ever driven. 

Electrogenic Jaguar E-type Kit 

The car I got my hands on was based on a 1962 Series 1 roadster, which had originally been equipped with a 3.8-liter straight six-cylinder engine. This originally offered 265bhp (198kW) and 325Nm (240 lb/ft) of torque, delivering 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds (officially). It was the vehicle that Enzo Ferrari famously called “the most beautiful car ever made”. The Electrogenic version has lost none of its looks, but the internal combustion engine and gearbox have been removed, to be a replaced by an electric motor directly attached to the driveshaft, rather than through the gearbox as with many of the company’s previous conversions

Drive a 1960s British icon every day with the Electrogenic Jaguar E-type EV conversion. 

The new motor only delivers 160bhp (120kW), but the torque figure has nearly doubled to 630Nm (460 lb/ft). This means that acceleration has noticeably improved. With the new motor, the car can now hit 60mph in under six seconds and will feel even quicker off the line due to the lack of gears and immediate power. There’s a relatively small 43kWh battery, but that’s still enough for over 150 miles of real-world range. Despite the battery, the car is 90kg lighter than the original and has a better weight distribution, with 120kg less at the front and 30kg more at the back. E-types, particularly the V12 cars, were notoriously front-heavy, so this gives a welcome improvement in balance. 

I got to put the electrified E-type through its paces at the Bicester Heritage track in the UK. This is a very short track with lots of corners and only a limited straight, so I wasn’t going much faster than 70mph at any point. The E-type kit offers three driving modes (Eco, Normal and Sport), and all the switchgear is original, so some of this has been repurposed for electrification. You turn the key to arm the system, press the original start button until an amber light indicates the motor is online, and then a slider chooses drive, reverse or neutral. The original handbrake is still evident. 

The original E-type switchgear remains, with some repurposed for the EV drivetrain controls. 

Of course, after driving modern cars, being in a vehicle that doesn’t even have seatbelts takes some getting used to. Holding the steering wheel feels much more important for staying in your seat at speed. Although the E-type didn’t have the best reputation for handling, even the inline six, I found that I could push the Electrogenic version quite vigorously around corners. The acceleration felt potent, on par with the V12 E-type I was lucky to be taken out in once or twice in the mid-1980s. 

The steering isn’t as immediate or precise as a modern car – the underlying vehicle is over 60 years old, after all. But it’s more than manageable despite the lack of power assistance. The car has disc brakes all round, and while you need to think a bit more about when to brake, so you do this early enough, the difference with a modern car is not so much as to be unsafe. I got used to it after about 10 minutes of vigorous driving. With the top down and the wind in my hair, the experience was exhilarating. I felt like Austin Powers in his Shaguar, only with slightly better teeth. 

An electric motor and batteries now sit where the inline six-cylinder once was. 

For comparison, I was able to take my own Tesla Model 3 Performance round the track for a few laps. Obviously, the steering, throttle and brake response were all in a different league. But it showed that the level of involvement with the Electrogenic E-type is still exceptional, albeit very different. As a car for local trips down the pub (within drinking limits) or to the golf course, there will be a sense of occasion every time. It’s a period experience, but that’s why you would have this conversion in the first place. This is a car you would look forward to driving, but with the reliability of electric instead of an unpredictable inline six that might not start when you want it to. You might miss the engine note, but with the top down there are plenty of other sensory inputs to enjoy, including the whine of the electric motor up front, which grew on me during my test drive. 

Electrogenic now offers three E-type electrification packages. The one I drove is the base model, but there is a more powerful option with a 150kW (200bhp) motor delivering 840Nm (613 lb/ft) of torque plus a 48kWh battery. This enables 0-60mph in under five seconds and 160 miles of range. For the American market only (for the time being), there’s also a version with the more powerful motor and a 63kWh battery that offers over 200 miles of range. However, this involves greater chassis modifications, which are currently not allowed in the UK. 

The cars offer DC rapid charging using CCS, enabling a 100% charge in around 45 minutes, although the one I tried only offered a US AC charging port because it was for an American customer with this requirement. The conversion kit costs a little over £80,000, but prices will vary, and in the USA it will be around $120,000. There will of course be the cost of a donor car on top of this, plus any refurbishment that might be required to that vehicle. The kit is compatible with Series 1 to 3 Jaguar E-types. 

Electrogenic Drop-In Kits 

Electrogenic’s concept with its kits is to provide an easier solution for electrifying a variety of common classics. The range kicked off with a Land Rover kit for agricultural conversions, prototyped at Glastonbury’s Worthy Farm. This has now been expanded to include Defender HV kit with up to 93kWh of battery capacity and CCS DC charging, for Land Rover 90, 110, 127 and 130 models. There are kits for Series II and III Land Rovers, plus a 911 kit for G-body or 964 Porsches. The most extreme version of the latter delivers 240kW (320bhp) of power and an almost unfeasible 3,900NM (2,848 lb/ft) of torque at the wheels, enabling 0-60mph in just 3.8 seconds. The 62kWh battery offers a range of up to 200 miles. Electrogenic has also been working with the UK’s Ministry of Defense in partnership with Babcock to convert some of its Land Rovers and Land Rover-based WMIK vehicles as a test of how electrification will perform out in the field. 

These kits are meant to be installable by partner garages, of which there are seven globally, including three in the USA, with around five waiting in the wings. These partner garages receive installation training from Electrogenic, so they can then simply receive the electrification kit and fit it themselves up to the same standard. 

Electrogenic and Babcock are working together to provide electrified test vehicles for the UK …  

However, there’s another drop-in kit in the wings aimed at classic Minis. This provides the motor, battery, and all the electronics pre-built onto a classic Mini front subframe, all for £15,000 plus ($19,000). This means the whole unit can be pre-tested before being shipped out to the customer, who then merely needs to replace the existing subframe, put the wheels back on, and wire everything up. This could even be something a keen enthusiast might do, although it’s still more aimed at professional garages. But the process will be much less involved, giving the potential for much wider adoption. 

The basic mini kit will offer an 80-mile range from its 20kWh battery, which is ample for a city car. There will also be a larger battery option with 40kWh and 150 miles of range, but that won’t be such a seamless drop-in because it will require placing packs elsewhere in the car and the installation of the requisite cabling, which is a job only a properly qualified person should do. The larger battery option costs an additional £5000 ($6,000). 

Enzo Ferrari called the Jaguar E-type “the most beautiful car in the world” 

Electrifying classic cars comes in for a lot of negativity on social media, from people who think it’s a travesty. But there were over 70,000 Jaguar E-types built during its 1962-74 run, so it isn’t the rarest car in the world. Over five million classic Minis were built. Electrifying some of these means you will be more likely to see them on the roads, because they are much more practical and easier to live with. While you lose the engine noise and gear changing, that’s a fair trade for a car you can actually use regularly. As the founder and CEO of Electrogenic, Steve Drummond, said of his company: “We’re building cars that people want to drive – every day.” With the electrified Jaguar E-type, Electrogenic has done this for a British icon. You can imagine you’re back in the Swinging Sixties without the reliability downsides. Yeah, baby! 

Hagerty – Antony Ingram – classic Mini 

“Not once did I find myself wishing for petrol power during the day. Equally, not once did I wish I was driving anything other than a Mini. Like all the best cars, whatever fuels them, the motive force feels appropriate to the vehicle it’s powering, and the car feels appropriate to its environment.” 

Original article published 11 March 2022 

https://www.hagerty.co.uk/articles/classic-car-reviews/electrogenic-mini-review-perfecting-the-perfect-city-car/

Electrogenic Mini review: Exploring London in the perfect city car 

London loves a Mini. It coos over a Mini parked, cheers over a Mini in traffic, and allows of a Mini far more legal-speed silliness without a hint of scorn than it affords to say, a flatulent modern supercar. Wrist-flick into a side road and scoot up the next straight and people smile. Smartphones come out to capture the moment, not to capture the inevitable V10-powered accident for their next viral TikTok. 

Two things help this Mini’s cause even further. One is its driver, and that’s not to blow one’s own trumpet. It’s just that it’s impossible not to return the favour of London’s sunny disposition when you’re in a Mini; even if it wasn’t now recommended by the Highway Code, you feel inclined to beckon pedestrians on their way, guaranteed a smile and a wave. 

The second, and probably more relevant here, is that this particular Mini is electric. Cue whining more shrill than the idler gears in an A-series transaxle. I get it; why bother with a classic, the engine’s the soul of a car, you’ll never make up the cost in fuel returns, so-on and so-forth. 

I won’t try to change your mind. If you’re not already sold, it’d waste your time, and mine. But I will report as I find, and I found it… a breath of fresh air, in more ways that one. 

This particular Mini has been converted to electric power by Oxfordshire-based Electrogenic. If the name’s familiar, you’ve probably seen their Triumph Stag, or Morgan 4/4, or that rather pretty Porsche 356 that we reviewed in December.  They’re making real cars that are getting used by real people; one client, a local farm, has had four Defenders converted – they’re better to drive than any diesel one ever was and will work off their conversion costs in fuel savings in a matter of years. 

The client for this Mini is Small Car Big City (SCBC), a company that operates Mini-based tours around London. Named Rosie, it’ll be their first electric Mini, and is currently undergoing final approval by Transport for London before being pressed into service. 

The practical benefits are manifold. Wear and tear, for instance: Tom from SCBC tells me they currently get around 45,000 miles from a gearbox, changing one in the fleet roughly every year, and numerous clutches. It’s not that the cars are fragile, more that someone with the clutch control of Zebedee and an uncompromising city environment can be a mite tough on a dear old Mini. 

You can change gears in the Electrogenic Mini (which uses a five-speed Peugeot ‘box, as the gears-in-sump A-series one can’t be adapted, and the Pug box is tougher anyway), but you don’t really need to. Nor do you need to slip a clutch to pull away, and in motion, if you choose to swap cogs, it’s more like operating a switch. 

Fuel costs are obviously reduced, and range isn’t even slightly an issue; after a day of bouncing around the capital, the battery gauge (utilising the old fuel needle) still had much more than half way still to drop. You can thank the stop-start nature of an urban environment for that, as it suits the motor’s ability to regenerate charge while decelerating. Factor in no Congestion Charge and no ULEZ wallet-emptier and that’s another 30-odd quid a day in your back pocket. 

Time to scoot. Driving in central London is usually an experience that invokes unprintable words. Driving the Electrogenic Mini invokes un-spellable whooping. It takes all of three or four seconds to not care that there’s not an A-series shrieking away up front, and another ten, max, to abandon all intentions to change gear. Second is so rangey there’s no point, even though Rosie has been detuned to avoid squealing its ten-inch gumballs at every green light. 

There’s no real plan for today; just a chance to see whether the perfect city car is even more perfect when it’s not giving kids asthma. We buzz around celluloid-friendly Roupell Street first, somewhere that feels built for Mini-mayhem. It probably felt wider in the 1960s without SUVs cluttering up the parking spaces, though whichever local owns all those regularly-photographed Citroëns is doing their best to inject some classic character back into the neighbourhood. 

Rushing around behind Tom in one of SCBC’s fossil-fuelled cars the Electrogenic Mini hop-skip-jumps through the potholes just the same, but doesn’t threaten to clang its nonexistent exhaust on speedbumps like the petrol car. It’s handy too doing laps of Lambeth bridge, the roundabout at either end a chance to test that Paddy Hopkirk-approved turn-in. 

We thread the needle down Page Street in Pimlico, whose checkerboard buildings seem appropriate for a car whose history includes similarly-patterned flags. It starts to rain. The Mini’s wipers are as geriatric as ever. And they say EV conversions remove a car’s character! Pedestrians seem unperturbed by the drizzle; a few stop and take photos. Despite wearing my best roll-neck, I think they’re admiring the car. 

I dither over where to show off next, but snapper Charlie thinks Portobello Road might suit the Mini’s character. Central London disappears in a blur, five miles of elbows-out traffic dispatched in what feels like a few beats. 

Minis do that: lanes seem twice as wide, other cars twice as far away. You can get away with full throttle now and then, since you’re not making a racket either. I can’t be sure, but I suspect even the cyclists are pleased; must be nicer getting passed with room to spare by a Mini (a quiet one especially) than some block-of-flats Range Rover. 

A bike would be only marginally quicker across the capital. Everyone lets you out of junctions, for a start. Even a double-decker pauses and waves us ahead, despite looking big enough from the Mini’s perch to accidentally flick it up into someone’s windscreen like a pebble. 

Down Portobello a group of builders quickly twig it’s electric (SCBC’s graphics, plus the green flashes on the numberplate are a giveaway when it’s parked). Sneaking down the nearby, picture-perfect Holland Park Mews feels a lot less intrusive than it might be for an Instagram personality snapping their new six-figure supercar. The rattling trim is louder than wheels-on-cobbles.  So, that character bypass thing. Taking personal preference out of the equation – and to be clear, I still love, and still covet, petrol-powered Minis – I think it might be bobbins. 

After a day in the seat, I still got what I’m calling “Mini shoulder” from hunching over its laid-back steering wheel. My right thigh still ached from treading repeatedly on the high-set brake pedal. The ride is still unyielding, the otherwise perfect steering is still a workout at parking speeds, and you still need to crane your neck to look at traffic lights. 

Practically speaking, the boot is still small too, though a different kind of small from a normal Mini, since one of the battery packs is against the bulkhead, rather than the old fuel tank taking up one side of the boot instead. 

The usual Mini bits, both good and bad, are still present and correct. Not once did I find myself wishing for petrol power during the day. Equally, not once did I wish I was driving anything other than a Mini. Like all the best cars, whatever fuels them, the motive force feels appropriate to the vehicle it’s powering, and the car feels appropriate to its environment. 

If you can spare the £58,000 that we insured the Electrogenic Mini for, you’ll not regret it. If you can’t (and realistically speaking, not many can) then perhaps the best news of all is that you’ll soon be able to book an appointment with Small Car Big City and experience one of the most enjoyable experiences in motoring – driving an electric Mini around London – for a whole lot less. An eight hour day behind the wheel in a petrol model is £179. If a date with Rosie is much the same, it will be money well spent. 

GQ – Alex Goy – Porsche 356 

“Its powertrain comes with a distinctive hum, one that gets louder the faster you go. It’s not a scary noise, nor is it irksome at speed. It gives the car a different, but rather wonderful character.  The rest of the driving experience is as close to a ‘pure’ 356 as you can get. It felt light (yes, even with all the EV bits in there), and was an utter joy to flick from corner to corner.” 

Original article published 2 December 2021  

https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/cars/article/electrogenic-porsche-356-review

Electrogenic’s Porsche 356 brings EV tech to a classic car – smart or sacrilege? 

Electrogenic’s EV-tinkered Porsche 356 might produce the Marmite effect, but it could be a clever bit of future-proofing  

The electrification of classic cars is a dividing issue. One camp believes it to be sacrilege; that removing the engine from a historied vehicle and replacing it with anything other than a fully restored (or heavily upgraded) take on the same is the only way a classic should be treated. Matching-numbers perfection or nothing, basically. The other camp believes that a vehicle is another way to express yourself. Wanna make it purple with spots? Feel free! Want to put a Saab engine in place of a Citroën lump? Go ahead. Electrogenic is very much in the latter camp, because it takes the internal combustion engines out of classic cars and replaces them with electric powertrains specced to the customer’s desire.  

In the case of Electrogenic’s Porsche 356, that meant peeling a very-much-loved 1.6-litre flat-four motor from the rear and replacing it with an air-cooled 120bhp 173lb-ft electric motor hooked up to a 36kW battery giving it a 140-mile range. This, if some are to be listened to, removes the car’s soul. What most electric conversions do is remove the gearbox, making the chosen car a very quiet, lightning-quick one-speed automatic – not so in the case of Electrogenic’s 356. You can keep the four-speed manual, and use it to meter out torque as you would a ‘normal’ car.  

Keeping your own stick shift comes with a penalty. If you went without, you could fast-charge your car, but the way Electrogenic’s system works means you go without the convenience of a newer EV.  

Aside from Electrogenic’s branded battery and motor covers, there’s no cosmetic modification in the car. The dials are repurposed – the fuel gauge is your battery gauge, etc – but the condition you hand the car over in is the condition you get it back in. Where competitors like Lunaz and Everrati offer their own models, which come pre-restored with set specs and branding, Electrogenic takes whichever car you bring them, and can offer multiple power/range options. Obviously, if you rock up in a Rover Mini and demand 400 miles of range, they’ll have to politely explain that you may have to wait for technology to catch up with ambition, but a feasible solution can be found. The bigger your car, the more batteries you can fit in it, though.  

When the team gets your car, they’ll drive it to see how it should handle, then remove the oily bits. After that, they’ll 3D-scan under the hood and see how much space there is to fit EV… stuff in there. Here’s the smart bit – the first of any kind of vehicle becomes a sort of test bed. They know the kit works, but Electrogenic will keep an eye on the car’s systems to make sure it’s integrating with the classic car tech smoothly. With the setup sorted, eventually customers will be able to order a kit that a local/trusted mechanic can fit to their car.  

Getting in the 356, you wouldn’t know anything’s been messed with. It was only when Electrogenic’s rep told me that the car was already on and in gear that things became ‘different.’ As there’s plenty of torque from the off, you can set off in whichever gear you’re in. I set off in second, the car made no complaints – just foot down and go. It would have been happy accelerating away and staying in second, like a normal EV would be in its usual single-gear setup. However, when things started getting a little faster, I could feel it was reaching a ceiling. Shifting up for a bit more grunt isn’t quite the same as a traditional manual. While you need to dip the clutch and swap ratios, there’s no need to blend the throttle back in. Instead, once the lever’s in place, you need to fully reengage the clutch, then reapply the pedal on the right. Think of it as you would an old robotised manual – when you pull the paddle (or shift, in this case), wait for the gear to be fully engaged before getting back on it.  

It’s a small adjustment, but it helps the little 356 keep its character. You can barrel into corners, knock it down a gear, balance it gently round a bend, then fire yourself out the other side. Lap after lap, the 356 kept me engaged, and excited. It helped that there was plenty of power for such a small car to play with.  

Now, losing its distinctive four-cylinder motor thrum will have upset some people, but that’s not to say the tiny ’leccy Porsche is noise free. Its powertrain comes with a distinctive hum, one that gets louder the faster you go. It’s not a scary noise, nor is it irksome at speed. It accompanies your pedalling as you go. It gives the car a different, but rather wonderful character.  

The rest of the driving experience is as close to a ‘pure’ 356 as you can get. Its steering is direct, and gives you plenty of feedback. At low speed, though, it’s heavy – after some laps on track, my right shoulder was complaining. It felt light (yes, even with all the EV bits in there), and was an utter joy to flick from corner to corner.  

Some are going to hate the idea of Electrogenic’s 356. They’ll get all huffy about heritage, originality and purity. What they won’t take into account is that the person who actually owns this car chose to go this route. That for them, the 356’s design is perfect, and its drive is just as entertaining with electrons running to the rear wheels as it was with petrol.  

Thing is – the Porsche 356 rather suits the EV treatment. And, when you think about it, electricity is going to be more readily available than petrol in the coming decades. Like it or not, Electrogenic might just be on to something. But no one’s telling you to convert your classic Porsche, are they? 

Motor Trend – Angus MacKenzie – Jaguar E Type 

“What makes this EV conversion special is that it’s truly plug-and-play.  The result is a classic car you can genuinely use as a daily driver, a ride that’s more likely to nail the primo parking spot out front of a chic hotel or nightclub than any modern supercar.” 

Original article published 3 July 2023 

https://www.motortrend.com/reviews/electrogenic-e-type-ev-first-drive-review-jaguar-sports-car/

Convincing Conversion: Electrogenic E-Type EV Sports Car First Drive 

Want a classic car, but don’t want the mechanical headaches? Electrogenic’s plug-and-play EV powertrains could be the answer. 

Classic cars are great fun if you have nowhere to go, and all day to get there. And it helps if you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and getting into the oily bits when stuff goes wrong, as it inevitably will in a machine built when The Beach Boys were still singing about little deuce coupes and big-block Chevys. It takes dedication and determination to use a classic car as a daily driver, especially one from Europe. You can buy bits for old Chevys and Fords and Mopars almost anywhere in the U.S. Finding a water pump gasket for a 1962 Jaguar E-Type engine takes a little more effort. You don’t have to worry about such things in an Electrogenic E-Type all-electric sports car conversion.  

From the outside it has all the 1960s swank and style of one of the most beautiful sportscars ever built. Underneath, however, is a powertrain that’s as trouble-free as a Tesla’s. That’s right, the Electrogenic E-Type is electric powered, its 3.8-liter, triple carb straight-six replaced with an electric motor nestled in the transmission tunnel and two battery packs, one located under the hood and one in the space where the gas tank used to be. 

Jaguar E-Type EV Conversion 

What makes this EV conversion special is that it’s truly plug-and-play: You simply unbolt and remove the Jaguar’s ICE, its transmission and gas tank, and bolt in the modular Electrogenic EV powertrain kit—e-motor, inverter, battery packs, and control system. You don’t need to cut any sheet metal, or even drill a single new hole. Your precious old Jaguar isn’t mutilated, and its value compromised, and the EV conversion can be easily reversed at any time. 

The result is a classic car you can genuinely use as a daily driver, a ride that’s more likely to nail the primo parking spot out front of a chic hotel or nightclub than any modern supercar. 

Electrogenic Background 

UK-based Electrogenic was founded six years ago by Steve Drummond, a mechanical engineer and renewable energy pioneer who started his career in the nuclear power industry, and Ian Newstead, a mechanic who in 1995 began restoring vintage air-cooled Volkswagens and Porsches. The pair met when Newstead, who is, ironically, allergic to gasoline fumes, convinced Drummond that an electric powertrain would allow the classic Volkswagen he was trying to sell him to be driven regularly. 

As Drummond and Newstead researched the project, they realized they could between them design and engineer superior EV powertrain components and systems for retrofitting into in classic cars than many of those then available on the market. Electrogenic was born. The company was originally planned to be a business-to-business operation, says Electrogenic’s head of brand Vic Crofts, but Covid saw a pivot to a business-to-consumer model, driven by demand from wealthy clients for bespoke conversions of classic cars to electric power. 

EV Conversion Kits 

Electrogenic still does bespoke conversions, most of which use low voltage e-motors driving through the old cars’ original transmissions, and all designed and engineered in-house to meet the customer’s precise requirements. But the company quickly realized there was demand for bolt-in powertrain kits that turned popular classic cars into easy-to-use EVs. “There’s a younger generation who like the look of older cars, but don’t want to get involved with a carburetor,” says Electrogenic’s lead design engineer, Alex Bavage. 

The current lineup of Electrogenic EV kits includes powertrains and battery packs for Jaguar E-type coupes and convertibles, as well as for pre-2016 Land Rover Defenders, Land Rover Series I, II and III models, 964 and earlier Porsche 911s, Triumph Stags, and original Minis. All the kits feature OEM-standard high voltage e-motors with single speed transmissions and battery packs put together in pre-assembled modules that can be bolted into the cars by qualified technicians using existing mounting points and supported by additional brackets where needed. 

E-Type EV Conversion Options 

The Electrogenics Series I E-Type convertible featured here is fitted with Electrogenic’s E43 kit, which combines a 160-hp e-motor with the 43kW/h battery pack. A 200-hp e-motor and a 48kW/h battery pack is also available (marketed as the E48 kit) while the E-Type coupe, which has more space under the rear floor, can be ordered with the E63 kit, which features a 63kW/h battery for customers who want the longest driving range. The E43 kit has a 350V architecture, while the E48 and E63 kits are 400V. All are controlled by power system software designed in-house by Electrogenic. 

The 160 hp e-motor is mounted longitudinally in the transmission tunnel, where the original four-speed manual transmission was located, and sends 420 lb-ft of torque to the wheels via a fixed ratio single speed transmission and the standard E-type prop-shaft and differential. That’s enough the get the Electrogenic E-Type convertible to 60 mph in less than 6.0 seconds, which is almost half a second quicker than the car could have managed straight out the factory back in 1962 with its 265-hp straight-six gas engine under the hood. 

Improved Performance, Lighter Weight 

The improved performance is down to the e-motor’s instant-on torque, the fact that you don’t have to shift gears, and because the Electrogenic conversion trims 110-130 pounds from the E-Type’s overall weight. That’s right. This is an electric car that’s lighter than its ICE equivalent. 

The overall gearing is roughly similar to having the ICE car permanently in second gear, says Alex Bavage, but because the e-motor spins to 12,000 rpm, the Electrogenic E-Type will still hit 120 mph. No, it’s not as fast as the original—in 1961, Britain’s Autocar magazine took a 3.8-liter E-Type coupe fitted with Dunlop racing tires (and probably a carefully optimized, hand-built engine) to a verified 150.4 mph (while posting a best 0-60mph time of 6.9 seconds). But it’s fast enough in what seems these days to be a small open top car. 

Keeping the Original Character 

Relatively light weight helps the range, too. Even though a 43kW/h battery isn’t that large, and, despite its looks, the E-Type was designed in an era before computer-aided aero design and low rolling resistance tires, Electrogenic says the E43 E-Type has a range of just over 150 miles. The 200-hp E48 and E63 models, which each weigh about the same as the ICE powered E-Type, will travel 160 and 200 miles respectively between charges, despite having 40 more horsepower and a 140mph top speed. 

Electrogenic aims to preserve as much of the original car’s character as possible. Our tester still has the iconic E-Type twin exhausts—now non-functioning, of course—sweeping up from under the rear of the car. Only the lack of a shifter in the cockpit gives any clue this isn’t your average classic Jaguar. 

Jag Dash 

The Jaguar dash looks just as it did in 1962, but the instruments aren’t quite what they seem. The ammeter shows the state of charge of the 12V system used to run the car’s ancillaries, the fuel gauge the EV battery pack state of charge, the oil pressure gauge the temperature of the inverter, and the water temperature gauge the temperature of the e-motor. The tach shows how fast the e-motor is spinning, though as it only reads to 6000 rpm you must look at a number and double it. Only the speedo operates the way Jaguar intended. 

Taking Off 

Foot on brake and select drive. The powertrain software has been configured to give the car a strong low-speed creep, so the Jaguar oozes away from a standstill the moment you lift your foot off the brake. Press the accelerator and the old girl whooshes away with a whirr and a whine instead of the charismatic straight-six snarl of the ICE original. 

Weight Distribution 

Noise apart, though, it drives pretty much exactly like a 1962 Jaguar E-Type, which means heavy steering and a curious rhumba from the rear end in faster corners. The battery packs are mounted low in the car, and, crucially, ensure a 47/53 front to rear weight distribution, which is marginally better than that of the ICE original. Initial turn-in response is thus slightly crisper, but you’re always aware you’re working through a lot of compliance in the suspension when asking the old girl to change direction in a hurry. 

Seamless Handover 

Brake feel is impressively good, the Electrogenic software doing a brilliant job of blending the regenerative braking effect so characteristic of a modern EV powertrain with the feel of a 60-year-old four-wheel disc brake system. The handover is seamless. 

Sport Mode 

Our car has three different drive modes, selected via what was the original map light toggle switch on the E-Type’s dash. The down position is normal mode, the mid position is eco mode, and flicking the switch up activates sport mode. Each has noticeably different levels of accelerator pedal response and lift-off regen, which also varies with vehicle speed. We liked sport mode, which endowed the old Jag with sprightly acceleration away from the lights, and good sensitivity to accelerator inputs through corners. 

Programmable 

Electrogenic’s software is such that the company can tune your car to feel the way you want it to feel in any mode. In Land Rovers, for example, the highest regen modes provides the equivalent of modern Hill Descent Control. (Fun fact: While, like the other Electrogenic kits, the classic Land Rover EV powertrains are single, speed direct drive, the low range transfer case is retained, which means they have a genuine off-road gear.) 

Electrogenic E-Type Is Well-Sorted 

Based on our experience with the E-Type, Electrogenic’s EV kits are impressively well resolved. But that comes at a price. Take your old E-Type to one of Electrogenic’s three U.S. installation partners—Xerbera in Dallas, Texas; InoKinetic/Drakan Cars in Murrieta, California; and Whittam Engineering in Trenton, New Jersey—and it will cost you about $120,000 to have the EV kit installed. 

Electrogenic E-Type a Bargain? 

No, it’s not cheap. In fact, $120,000 is about what an original 1962 3.8-liter E-Type roadster in decent drivable condition is currently worth, though one in excellent condition now costs close to $300,000, while a concours winner commands a $400,000 price tag. But there’s this: The list of open-top electric-powered sports cars you can buy right now is vanishingly small. And those that are coming, such as the GranCabrio version of Maserati’s GranTurismo Folgore, will all likely cost close to $200,000, or more. 

And none will look quite as cool as a Jaguar E-Type. 

Hagerty – Nik Berg – Porsche 911 kit

“Lovers of the classic car aesthetic who don’t want to dirty their hands or the air that they pass through, usable and entertaining conversions such as this are starting to make a lot more sense. 

And I, for one, can understand that.  I suspect that those who choose to make the switch from petrol stations to charging stations will have few regrets.” 

Original article published 14 March 2023  

Electric shock! This classic 911 is battery powered… and we like it

Four bolts. That’s all you need to undo to convert a vintage Porsche 911 from gas to electric power with a new drop-in conversion kit from Oxford-based specialists Electrogenic

Well, that might be a slight oversimplification. You won’t actually be able to do this yourself, since the kits will only be provided to garages that have been approved and trained by Electrogenic. 

The complete kit comprises an OEM-standard electric motor, reduction gearbox plus front and rear battery-boxes, and Electrogenic’s own control systems, together with all the cabling required. It’s a 15-man-day job to fit into a G-series (1973–89) or 964-era (1989–94) 911. That time estimate includes dropping out the original oily parts, and it assumes no additional upgrades are required. 

A ballpark cost for the conversion is £75,000, plus the original car – so this is not a cheap exercise and certainly would never offset running costs of a flat-fix. However, like most vintage vehicles converted to modern running gear, each Electrogenic restomod will most likely be tailored to its owner’s taste, with price fluctuating accordingly. 

Customisation options extend to the EV powertrain itself, as Electrogenic is offering a choice of two water-cooled motors: a 160-kW (216bhp) unit or a 240-kW (322bhp) version. A 9.6:1 reduction gearbox sends power where you’d expect it to go – to the rear wheels – and the entire setup sits on a replacement subframe that simply bolts into place where the original components would go. That straightforward install, incidentally, makes Electrogenic’s conversion completely reversible. 

A total of 62 kWh of batteries are positioned in the rear and under the front boot to provide a range of nearly 200 miles. The system accepts 50kW fast charging via a Combined Charging System connector, which allows for the Combo 1 port favoured by North America and the Combo 2 that’s standard in Europe and Asia. The weight penalty for the swap is around 120kilos (260 pounds), with a little more over the front axle than a normal 911 would have. 

Dive deeper into the EV options list and you’ll find various modes for energy recuperation under braking, and eco, sport, or traffic profiles for the powertrain. Want one-pedal driving? You got it. 

The car’s clocks are repurposed to show EV-related functions: Fuel becomes state of charge, for example, and where the gear lever once sat there’s a simple, rotary drive-selector. 

When I visit Electrogenic’s workshop, I just miss one of the chief mechanics from Xerbera in Dallas, Texas, who’s spent three weeks overseas learning how to install Electrogenic’s electronics. (Xerbera specialises in re-engineering Land Rover Defenders.) Meanwhile, inquiries continue to flood in from Germany, Australia, and New Zealand, plus Europe and the Far East. 

After building its business with bespoke classic EV conversions, ranging from Morris Minors to VW Campers, massive Daimlers and even DeLoreans, Electrogenic was facing a growing demand that it simply couldn’t satisfy. Resources were poured into developing conversion kits, steered by the converted models that were proving most popular. Alongside the 911, the firm now offers conversion packs for the Land Rover Defender and Jaguar E-Type, with several more in the pipeline. 

“Since we incorporated in March six years ago, my guess is about half of that [time] was always purely in R&D,” says cofounder Steve Drummond. “We’ve been continuing to do R&D like crazy since then and we’re now at a level of sophistication where we can reliably create systems that other people can install. We know they’re going to work first time without the installer needing the depth of expertise in the detail in order to make them work.” 

The proof is in the driving and, as fortune would have it there’s a rather lovely Irish Green over tan 1983 G-series waiting for me. It’s the first customer car to be completed. 

The car is tastefully backdated by the owner, and in keeping with that vision, carries the milder, 160kW (216bhp) powertrain in its simplest form. Given the wide range of driving modes available, the owner opted for just one, to keep the driving experience as pure as possible. 

Aside from some tweaks to the torsion bars, the 911’s chassis is standard. There’s no traction control or ABS braking. This is very much a classic that’s been converted and therefore a totally different animal than the carbon-fibre-bodied, adaptive-damper-equipped Everrati 911

After several reminders that this is a customer’s car, due to be handed over in a couple of days, I venture out onto the short test circuit at Bicester Heritage. It’s formed from part of the runway and perimeter tracks of a former Royal Airforce Base and its concrete surface is usually pretty grippy. Today, the rain is torrential and the temperature barely above freezing. Given the reputation of early 911s in the wet, this could be… interesting. 

Indeed it is, but not quite in the manner I expect. On paper the car’s 218-hp doesn’t sound like that much, but it’s complemented by 310 Nm (220lb-ft) of torque, the delivery of which is absolutely instantaneous. There’s a little work to do on the calibration of the CANBUS-driven speedometer, so I can’t say for sure how fast I’m actually going, but the 911 feels a lot more rapid than it ought to. The more powerful motor has been clocked at 0-60 mph in under four seconds, but I’d peg this at not much more than five. 

The standard brakes need a fairly hefty stand-on to slow the car; the regenerative effect seems quite minimal, and, on standard suspension, there’s a fair amount of body movement in every direction. Pitch, roll, yaw? Yep, that’s all boxes ticked. 

The unassisted steering is heavy, loads up further in the bends, and then unloads quite dramatically when I apply all the power on corner exit. This car doesn’t have a limited-slip diff, and, as it lights up a one-tire fire, the steering self-centres sharply. An over-correction could send the car the other way, but I do sense that the extra weight of batteries up front makes this less likely to happen than it would be in the gas-powered version. 

Slightly reduced pendulum-effect aside, much of the character of the original 911 remains. Of course, the driving experience is a little less involving without a manual transmission, and lacking in the aural and olfactory entertainment of a car fuelled and lubricated by big oil, but a lot is left. 

That will never be enough for those for whom petrol is the life-blood of driving. But for lovers of the classic car aesthetic who don’t want to dirty their hands or the air that they pass through, usable and entertaining conversions such as this are starting to make a lot more sense. 

And I, for one, can understand that. I run a Lotus Esprit S3 and bought it because I adore the wedge-tastic styling, enjoy the feeling of squeezing into its snug cockpit and marvel at the way the thing tackles corners, but I’ll be the first to admit that the Lotus-designed four-cylinder engine is nothing special and, living in London, the ease of driving an electrically converted car would have a certain appeal. 

It’s a divisive issue. But I suspect that those who choose to make the switch from petrol stations to charging stations will have few regrets. 

Car Magazine – Alen Taylor-Jones – Jaguar E Type

“You can’t argue with the engineering here.  This conversion is like looking into an alternate reality in which electric was chosen over petrol in the early 20th century.” 

Original article published 19 July 2023  

https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/car-reviews/jaguar/electrogenic-e-type/

Electrogenic Jaguar E-Type review (2023): to EV or not to EV? 

Classic cars are great, or at least they are when they work. After all, for every sunny B road excursion there are hours of maintenance, frustration and the odd unplanned stop by the side of the road. If you’re not part of the boiler suit brigade and would rather drive than skin your knuckles, may we introduce the Electrogenic Jaguar E-Type, the electrically propelled classic. 

Out goes the straight-six, manual ‘box, fuel tank and spare wheel, replaced with 43kWh of battery, an electric motor and all the gubbins needed to control and charge everything. Power is 160bhp with 460Ib ft of torque, enough for a sub-6.0-second 0-62mph time. Range is claimed to be 150 miles, with larger 48kWh and 63kWh packs providing 160 and 200+ mile ranges respectively. 

All but the 63kWh pack undercuts the E-Type’s original weight, with the big battery matching an XK-engined car. CCS charging is standard, giving a full recharge in around 50 minutes should you decide to go touring.  

Should you not fancy an E-Type, Electrogenic has plenty of experience with the Land Rover Defender, original Mini, Porsche 911 and Triumph Stag. 

Kit cat 

Electrogenic will sell you everything you need to electrify your E-Type in one kit. This is then fitted by an Electrogenic approved installer local to you, of which there are an increasing number across the globe. 

Purists foaming at the mouth at the merest hint of losing originality should calm down at this point, everything bolts into the original mounts and the conversion is completely reversable.  

Given that some owners will already have an ICE example of their electrified classic urinating oil onto the floor and refusing to start at inopportune times, it seems unlikely most will swap back any time soon. 

Although you do lose the spare wheel, our 43kWh test car’s boot capacity was still generous. In fact, the only giveaways to the car’s propulsion system come when you lift the bonnet, look under the fuel flap or spot the lack of a gearlever. 

Driving the electrified E-Type 

Briskly, but with less initial urgency than you might expect. To protect the remaining Jaguar components in the driveline, there is a gentle ramp up in torque rather than all 460Ib ft being released in one go. The brakes feel natural despite some regen being mixed in, although still require a good shove. 

Similarly, the steering requires some effort and isn’t particularly quick either, with the driving experience resolutely old school except for the electric propulsion. It certainly doesn’t feel heavy or badly balanced in bends, just like an old car with the smoothest engine and gearbox combo you’ve ever experienced. 

Is it better than petrol? Objectively yes, after all it is quieter, more efficient, better for the environment and plenty quick enough. Yes, you can complain about the range, but who really drives their classic more than 150 miles in one hit regularly anyway? 

ut on the tactility of a manual gearbox and the sound of a six or twelve-cylinder engine. However, it would seem prospective buyers aren’t too worried, or have this elsewhere in their collections. 

Electrogenic Jaguar E-Type review: verdict 

Whether or not the Electrogenic appeals to you is an entirely personal choice, but you can’t argue with the engineering here. Everything appears well thought out and well implemented, with the EV and E-Type meshing to make a well-finished and cohesive whole. 

Those hoping for a car that drives in an entirely modern fashion should look elsewhere. Instead, this, conversion is like looking into an alternate reality in which electric was chosen over petrol in the early 20th century. If this combination of smooth, silent and dependable drivetrain with classic looks and handling appeals, the Electrogenic approach is worth investigating. 

Sunday Times – Will Dron – Porsche 911 kit

“In short, this is still very much classic motoring – eccentric, uncomfortable but engaging, technical and terrifically old-school. It just comes with improved eco-credentials.”

Original article published 21 May 2021  

https://www.driving.co.uk/features/classic-car-electric-conversion-electrogenic/https://www.driving.co.uk/features/classic-car-electric-conversion-electrogenic/

Classic car electric conversion is on the rise – we visit one specialist to find out why

Is it sacrilege or do we need to get with the programme? 

THE BANNER over Electrogenic’s workshop, on an industrial estate just outside Oxford, reads “Saving the world one car at a time…”. It’s a fairly inconspicuous sign but the message is not lacking in ambition. 

Enter and you will discover all manner of timeless classic cars in various states of repair. Our visit revealed a Series II Land Rover, TVR Cerbera, Porsche 356 coupé, Citroën DS and, nearest the shutters, a 1957 Morgan 4/4. But here’s where the toes of classic car enthusiasts might begin to curl: all of the cars within are being converted to run on electric power.  

Ripping out a 356’s four-cylinder air-cooled engine, or the Cerbera’s 4.2-litre V8, and replacing it with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery packs – that’s the stuff of nightmares for some enthusiasts. The engine is often thought of as the heart and soul of a car; is it not seen as sacrilege in the classic car community? 

“We’ve never had anybody come up to us and say that,” says Steve Drummond, co-founder and director of Electrogenic. “There’s a big online community of enthusiasts and our profile is widening now, and so we’re getting noticed by people who aren’t conversion [to electric] enthusiasts. You get some trolling but the answer is, you don’t know what it’s like until you’ve driven it.” 

Why convert to electric?  

There are multiple reasons for swapping out petrol for electric power, Drummond says, but primarily he claims it makes the cars “better” to drive – when looked at without rose-tinted spectacles. 

He cites the example of the Triumph Stag owned by business partner and Electrogenic co-founder Ian Newstead: “It’s the immediacy [of the acceleration]. You’ve got all the torque there – much more than it had originally, in fact, and it’s immediately available to you. It’s quick and responsive, it’s light on its feet; it’s a joy to drive.” 

Will Dron tries out Ian Newstead’s electric Triumph Stag – believed to be the first of its kind to be converted. 

Another advantage is reducing the chances of mechanical failure. “The Stag is a classic example; it had a notoriously unreliable engine,” he says. “It sounded beautiful, yes, but was well known for its unreliability.” 

By replacing the engine with an electric motor, which has just one moving part, you dramatically reduce the chances that you’ll end up standing by the side of the road waiting for a breakdown truck. 

“People talk about ‘range’ with electric cars but what’s the range of a classic? The end of the street?” 

Newstead has clearly been let down by a classic car or two: “Try explaining to the wife [before a journey] that you’re going in the classic car, and it might make it wherever you’re going but then again it might not.” 

“With classic cars you don’t always know if you’re getting home again,” adds Drummond. “People talk about ‘range’ with electric cars [how far you can travel per charge of the battery] but what’s the range of a classic? The end of the street? To quote a number of our customers, it gives a car whole new lease of life. Everything we put in the cars is good for 200,000 miles, 50 years.” 

Isn’t that part of the romance of owning a classic car? Their idiosyncrasies; the fact that they’re inherently tricky to drive (or, at least, drive well) and the care that goes into keeping them running, are part of the appeal. 

Newstead (left) and Drummond (centre) explain to Dron why customers choose to convert classic cars to electric power. 

“It is, but it also makes it inaccessible,” counters Drummond. “You have to keep it going, so you either have to employ a mechanic or you have to do it all yourself, which is hard, hard yards. 

“I had an old Beetle that I could drive because I loved it, but nobody else in my family could even start it. After an electric conversion, the whole family was zipping around in it. They used to fight over it, in fact. It was such fun.” 

Newstead reckons conversion is especially suited to households that have a car each for the two adult partners plus a prized classic car for occasional use. By converting the classic to electric it would be possible to get rid of the one of the other cars, he argues, because they’re so easy to drive and won’t leave you stranded. 

What about the noise, I ask. The music of a classic engine is very much part of the intoxicating effect. The reply suggests the other benefits outweigh the charm of a sonorous exhaust: “It means I’m able to turn the radio down a bit,” smiles Newstead. 

“Roll forward 15 years and there will be fewer petrol cars. Then there are fewer economic incentives for petrol stations to exist” 

Another possible benefit springs to mind: given the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 amid increasing animosity towards vehicle emissions, and calls for combustion engine cars to be banned from city centres, is electric conversion future-proofing your classic car? 

“Totally,” says Drummond. “And not just in terms of being allowed to drive on certain roads. Roll forward 15 years and there will be fewer and fewer petrol cars. Then there are fewer and fewer economic incentives for petrol stations to exist. And then you will find that range anxiety [the fear of running out of fuel] is not about electric cars anymore but the other way around.”A final reason one might decide to replace the engine with an electric motor is simply that it’s in such poor health that an intervention of some kind is needed. An extreme example would be a barn find, which might have an engine that is completely seized and can’t be saved, though there may be many more much-loved runners that reach an age at which an engine rebuild or replacement is the only way to keep it running. 

“At that point, you might think this is the time to do it,” says Drummond. “A friend of mine with an E-type (Jaguar) just paid £50,000 to have his engine rebuilt. That’s not small money.” 

A Porsche 911 engine rebuild would cost up to £65,000, adds Newstead. 

Amazingly, the owner of the Porsche 356 undergoing conversion at Electrogenic at the time of our visit recently paid £40,000 to have it rebuilt. Despite only having covered 600 miles since then, the owner wants to install an electric motor, which is incomprehensible until you realise that the pristine engine could now be stored as a museum piece at the owner’s home – a reminder of how we used to drive. The mind wanders to images of future generations asking their parents what on earth is that shiny metal thing with pistons and valves. 

The birth of Electrogenic 

Electrogenic was founded about three and a half years ago. Drummond has a background in environmental engineering and designed power stations for a living (“Coal, oil, gas, nuclear, solar, wind… you name it”). He also launched the first ever online carbon trading platform and was involved in the first plans for the Severn Estuary tidal generator in the 1980s. 

The Morgan is a trickier car to convert than the Stag, as space in the engine bay is more restricted. 

Newstead, meanwhile, comes from a very different background. A traditional car mechanic by trade, he took some convincing about the benefits of electric cars. He had in mind milk floats and couldn’t understand the appeal. It was his 16-year-old daughter who opened his eyes to the potential of electric power by showing him some drag racing videos on YouTube. 

“I couldn’t believe it,” he says. 

The pair’s first project together involved converting Drummond’s own split-screen VW Campervan. 

“The campervan’s natural environment is the beach but we couldn’t take it down the hill to get there as it didn’t have the power to get back.” The electric motor allowed it to scale the hill with ease, he says. 

“My petrol campervan couldn’t get back up the hill from the beach” 

That first project was stolen and never recovered, sadly, but the premise seemed like a sound one and, following further research and a trip to America to check out the latest developments in classic car electric vehicle (EV) conversion over there, Drummond realised there was a business case and the two men formed Electrogenic in late 2017. 

“It seemed to me that the tech was at a point, or was just coming to a point, where you could make an electric version of a classic car that was worth owning,” Drummond tells me. “Before that, probably not – you’d have to have been a real enthusiast. You could see that it was becoming possible to do it well.” 

Electric car conversions: How to convert a classic car to electric 

Electrogenic’s first official conversion was Drummond’s own VW Beetle. Over a number of additional projects they honed their conversion skills. The company found that off-the-shelf components often weren’t up to the task so they started making their own parts, which turned into making their own electronics. 

“If you buy a charging system and a battery management system and a motor, and they’re all from different manufacturers, they’re not designed to talk to each other,” says Drummond.  “It’s ‘bitsa’,” chimes in Newstead. “Bitsa this, bitsa that.”  “You get a Microsoft instead of an Apple Mac,” continues Drummond. “You have to stitch them together, with compromises to make everything talk properly to each other. You’re not getting a unified whole. These days [with their own kit] we have control over the entire electronic environment.” 

Drummond shows Dron a consignment of Tesla battery modules, ready for installation. 

They do buy in battery packs, of course. The supplier depends on the job, as different packs come in different shapes, and one might be more suited to a particular classic car, in terms of packaging, than another. I’m shown a consignment of Tesla-supplied battery modules (yes, they do that), which look as simple as hundreds of AA batteries joined together in a clear plastic case. Interestingly, the Tesla packs are more affordable than the others used by Electrogenic. 

Each car presents its own challenges during conversion and the cost of classic car electric conversion varies. 

“It really depends,” says Drummond. “It starts around just under £30,000 plus VAT and goes up to whatever you want. They’re all bespoke conversions, and that’s the joy of it.” 

Newstead’s 1976 Stag – the first to receive an electric conversion according to the Triumph Stag Owners’ Club – has had its 3.0-litre V8 engine removed but in its place are battery packs mounted in a 90-degree V formation as an homage to the original powerplant. 

“Beetles and early Porsches were back-end heavy, front end light, and don’t steer so well. We can improve the handling” 

More battery modules are mounted where the fuel tank and spare wheel would normally be located, adding 37kWh of total energy storage for a claimed range of around 150 miles. Neat touches include positioning the 50kW Type 2 charging socket under the original fuel filler cap and keeping the cockpit looking largely original, so to a casual observer the only clue that it’s not petrol-powered is when it Newstead climbs in and drives away in near silence. 

Although overall weight is the same, the placement of the battery modules results in 50:50 weight distribution, Drummond claims, though its configuration means that the front end is actually lighter that it was before conversion. To compensate, Newstead swapped out the springs for more pliant ones, which ensures the ride height remains the same. In other projects, the suspension will often remain original, though in a recent Morris Minor project the clever Issigonis-designed suspension system proved a challenge, so the torsion bar was adjusted to suit the new running gear. 

Each car sent to Electrogenic goes through a “reception process” that includes driving on track to get a feel for the brakes, handling, performance and ride quality. Then Drummond and Newstead will talk to the customer about the possibility of improving the car through conversion. 

“This is another good thing about it,” says Drummond. “For example, Beetles and early Porsches were back-end heavy, front end light, and don’t steer so well. We can put weight in the front that actually helps the handling of the car.” 

Start off in first, second or third — the instant torque of the electric motor means any gear will do 

The Stag’s ‘Hyper9’ high-voltage brushless electric motor sits underneath the battery V, delivering 80kW of power (107hp) and 173 lb-ft of torque, which compares favourably with the original V8’s 145bhp and 170 lb-ft. 

Also under the bonnet are the original power steering pump and vacuum pump for the brake servo, though a new electric heater has been added to compensate for the fact that heating can’t come from the V8 engine. A new kill switch is also added to enable the high voltage system to be disconnected in the event of a crash. 

The challenges of bespoke conversions 

Amazingly, power is sent to the rear wheels via the Stag’s original four-speed manual transmission, as Electrogenic often retains the manual gearboxes during the conversion. To drive, you still use the clutch to change gears but setting off and coming to a halt involves not using the clutch at all, which feels thoroughly odd during a first drive. What’s more, when setting off you can simply pick a gear — first, second or third, the instant torque of the electric motor means any of them will do. 

“You tend to drive around in third if you’re feeling relaxed, fourth on the motorway,” explains Drummond. “Second, if you want to squeal the tyres and first if you want to destroy them.” 

A Jaguar E-type and Land Rover Series II. The Land Rover my or may not end up with its original transmission. 

Not all owners want to keep the gearbox, though. The Porsche 356 will have its transmission removed (“The old ratios are quite close which means you have to change gear a lot”), and Drummond and Newstead are still debating whether or not to remove the ‘box in the Series II Land Rover. They might ditch it, they tell me, but still send power through the transfer box, allowing high and low range for off-roading. Of course, ultimately it’s up to the client. 

The 1957 Morgan 4/4 was another challenge, as the car had a non-standard gearbox that the owner wanted to keep but a tricky reverse gear that he wanted to bypass. So while the finished car retains all the forward gears, engaging reverse involves flicking a switch. 

Of course, the Morgan’s packaging differs significantly from the Stag’s. While it received the same electric motor and 37kWh battery capacity as found in the Triumph (the Morgan’s owner wanted a larger battery, in fact, for increased range, but Electrogenic convinced him that less weight would result in a more satisfying driving experience), the engine bay is more restricted, with the passenger footwell and steering column encroaching on the available space, so the front battery modules are mounted towards the top of the bay. Five Tesla modules are mounted at the front of the car and two are positioned at the rear, where the fuel tank was. 

The cockpits are largely original, but fully working. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the team during my visit was the Citroën DS, which is famous for its hydropneumatic suspension system, powered by a seven-piston hydraulic pump run off the engine. The same hydraulics system is linked to the power steering, brakes, gearbox and clutch assembly. 

But without an engine, Electrogenic needed to find a new way to power it all electrically, and the solution was a new mechanical pump with pressure switches, connected to the 12-volt battery (which even modern electric cars retain to power the lights, heating and infotainment systems). 

The Morgan and Triumph are crude to drive by modern standards — just like the petrol versions. 

“It actually drives better than the original,” reckons Drummond. “We hooked it up to the 12-volt before we removed the engine, to test it, and the ride is actually firmer. It’s nicer.” 

The cabins are largely kept original, though instruments will be made to work with the new drivetrains, including the rev meter. And of course a battery gauge is added. All the electrics are stripped out during a conversion as old wiring looms are often unreliable; it’s simpler and more robust to start again from scratch with modern kit. 

Some things can’t — and perhaps shouldn’t — be changed 

There are certain aspects that remain thoroughly un-modern in an electric conversion, though. The layout of the cockpit, for example. As a taller driver, ergonomics is not a plus point of either the Morgan or the Triumph, and squeezing my legs under the steering wheel required the skills of a contortionist. 

Ergonomics is not a strong suit of classic cars and that doesn’t change when they’re converted to electric. 

And to drive, while the power delivery is smooth and punchy, there is still plenty of tyre noise and the rudimentary aerodynamics of the Morgan results in significant buffeting from the wind – at speed you struggle to hear the person sitting right next to you and breathing becomes difficult as air is forced into your lungs. 

What’s more, by keeping the original suspension largely intact the ride is incredibly soft by modern standards, and cornering at pace results in significant body roll. The steering is heavy, the seats offer very little side support and the brakes are authentically crude, requiring significant pressure to bring the cars to a halt. 

In short, this is still very much classic motoring – eccentric, uncomfortable but engaging, technical and terrifically old-school. It just comes with improved eco-credentials. 

The growth of classic car electric conversion 

Most experts agree that this is a burgeoning industry though data to back that up is hard to come by at present. Driving.co.uk has contacted the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders for any information on the scale of the market in the UK, and how it has changed over time, though there had been no response at the time of publication. 

Drummond and Newstead say counting the number of firms converting classic cars to electric is difficult (“We make a distinction between people who have actually delivered a car to a customer and people who are talking about it”) but manage to reel off five well-established UK operators based in the UK, aside from themselves (see below). Each seems to have a different specialism, suggesting there are niches within this niche. 

“Our first paying customer arrived a month before Covid lockdown” 

It seems that there’s no shortage of demand from customers, both private and corporate (the Glastonbury music festival has commissioned three Land Rover Defenders for use on the estate, for example). The profile of classic car conversions also got a royal shot in the arm when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex climbed into an electric Jaguar E-type following their wedding in 2018. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding car was an electric Jaguar E-type. 

But although this is clearly a market with huge potential, of course the last 12 months have been tough for Electrogenic. 

“Our first paying customer arrived a month before Covid lockdown,” says Drummond. “We got a big order; a whole bunch of corporate customers, actually. And we expanded our team from three people up to a dozen. But we didn’t submit the PAYE documents in until the end of March 2020 and that meant we missed the cut-off for furlough. So we paid the salaries all the way through first lockdown. It was all a bit scary.” 

Even worse, all the corporate customers cancelled their orders in the first week of lockdown in 2020. Drummond says he didn’t have to take out any loans because “we’re just very efficient” and now that lockdown has eased, it’s full steam ahead once more. 

“All bar one of the corporate clients have now returned, including Glastonbury,” he says, “And we’ve got another three starters joining this month.” 

To the casual observer the electric conversions look identical to the originals. 

Not only that but on the day of our visit last month, Electrogenic had picked up the keys to a new 9,000 square-foot premises next door to the existing workshop as part of its expansion. The firm also managed to retain a deal with Bicester Heritage for a marketing office and use of the track, which the company uses for testing vehicles. 

How does electric conversion affect classic car values? 

There’s not a great deal of information available in the public domain about how much an electrified classic car is worth. Even a leading car valuation expert wasn’t able to help in my quest, and one of the leading motor insurers — the first to offer dedicated electric car policies — said it doesn’t cover classic cars converted to run on electric power (even though it covers regular classic cars). 

Fortunately, classic car specialist insurer Adrian Flux was much more helpful, providing values and policy costs before and after conversion for three of the classics I found in Electrogenic’s workshop. It’s pretty good news for the owner of the Porsche 356, as a 1964 Cabriolet valued at £80,000 in its original state would be worth £130,000-£140,000 after a £75,000 turnkey conversion by a specialist. Electrogenic might be able to do it for less than that, which would mean breaking even, or actually adding value. 

Similarly, a Land Rover Series II worth £16,000 before conversion would be valued at £50,000-£60,000 if converted by a specialist for £45,000,  which means it could make good financial sense. 

But it’s not so smart for less valuable cars, it seems. A 1957 Morgan 4/4 is valued by Adrian Flux at £20,000 but after a basic conversion would be worth £30,000. The insurer said that doing the conversion yourself (assuming you have the skills), using quality parts, might cost £18,000, which would mean you’d lose both time and money in the process. 

It’s also worth noting that insurance premiums go up after conversion. Assuming the cars are in good working condition when bought, that they’re used as a second vehicle by a driver in their 50s with a clean licence and secure private parking, and based on a limit of 3,000 miles per year, the Morgan’s annual insurance premium would rise from £105 to £195, the Land Rover’s from £96 to £245 and the Porsche’s from £280 to £580. 

The future of electric classic car conversions 

What does the future hold for Electrogenic, I ask. “The future is electric,” quips Drummond with a smile. 

But can they see a time when all classic cars will be converted to electric, due to increasingly stringent emissions regulations? 

“Not all of them, I don’t think,” says Newstead. “Some of them will. Some people will want to keep them classic, but I don’t think they’ll be allowed on the road. 

“Bicester Heritage is future-proofing right now and one of their thoughts is that it’s likely that to drive an internal combustion engine car, you’re going to have to have a licence and it’s going to be a constrained activity allowing you to drive it in a specific place and maybe not anywhere else. Race tracks probably. Silverstone, that sort of thing.” 

Such an eventuality would mean that companies like Electrogenic are likely to have a very bright future indeed, though it will undoubtedly be an uncomfortable thought for some classic car owners. 

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