For now the E-Type Zero remains a prototype vehicle, but there’s serious production intent if customer interest is strong enough, with a view to offering the car to JLR Classic customers within two years should the classic division get the green light. Potential customers are being shown the prototype now, around a year and a half since the idea was conceived under the title ‘Project Marmite’, before taking on its official working title – Project Dylan.
The E-Type Zero prototype itself is a restored, left-hand drive 1968 Series 1.5 E-Type, boasting a period chassis underneath its original bodywork. Look closely though, and you’ll notice the absence of an exhaust system, while the lights have been updated with LED technology too. Flip open the fuel filler cap, and you’ll be presented with a charging socket.
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Inside, the electric overhaul under the skin is much more evident – digital dials and a large infotainment screen dominate the car’s compact cabin.
Under the skin, JLR Classic has created a bespoke electric powertrain to work within the pre-existing space of the original chassis, with its various components laid out in such a way to mimic the six-cylinder drivetrain layout found under the bonnet of the original E-Type. As such, opening up the long, front-hinged bonnet reveals a battery pack placed where the engine would be, while the electric motor sits just behind it, where the gearbox would otherwise be placed.
It’s all part of a ‘seamless integration’ ethos employed by the division. While the fitting of an all-electric powertrain is a radical departure, engineers are keen for the car to keep much of its character. By integrating the electric powertrain into the original chassis as neatly as possible, JLR says that front-rear weight distribution is unchanged. As such, the firm says that it should drive, handle, ride and brake just like an original E-Type, and it would even be possible to swap the original drivetrain back in.
The electric powertrain itself produces 220kW – 295bhp in old money – and borrows some technology from the I-Pace. Despite the huge battery pack under the bonnet, JLR Classic says that the E-Type Zero is actually 80kg lighter than its original counterpart. As such, 0-62mph is dispatched in a claimed 5.5 seconds, while top speed comes in at 150mph. The prototype, however, is limited to 100mph for now.
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As the XK six-cylinder engine used in this particular E-Type was produced in various guises from 1949 until 1992, JLR Classic says that the bespoke powertrain is compatible with a vast number of cars in Jaguar’s back catalogue. JLR Classic director Tim Hannig explains: “we could use this technology to transform any classic XK-engine Jaguar”, opening up the possibility of a large portfolio of classic, electrified Jaguars on the horizon. It’s also something that has been on the cards since JLR Classic moved into their current headquarters – two engineering bays for electric vehicles have been installed from opening.
Official range on the NEDC scale is touted as being 205 miles, though JLR classic claims a ‘real world’ range of around 170 miles, helped in part by the E-Type’s iconic, and aerodynamic shape.
The 40kWh battery pack itself supports the 7kW charging standard, meaning it takes six to seven hours to recharge the E-Type Zero. JLR Classic has resisted the temptation to kit the car out with 22kW rapid charging technology as it doesn’t see any reason for it – classic cars, regardless of their powertrains, are unlikely to be driven far and frequently.
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