The battery-powered E-Type Zero is how Jaguar will “future-proof” classic cars

You can bat around contenders for the “most beautiful electric car” all day, but one of the leading candidates for that title now is undoubtedly the new Jaguar E-Type Zero.

Based on a 1968 Roadster restored and converted by the automaker’s own Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, the Zero uses electric motors to pull off zero-to-100 km/h times of 5.5 seconds, about one second quicker than an original E-Type Series I.

It does all this while, of course, returning zero emissions—hence the name. “Our aim with the E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership,” explained Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, in a press release.

Photos and video: the Jaguar E-Type Zero concept

The E-Type Zero uses all of the original vintage suspension, brakes, and other components, replacing only the drivetrain, some retro-inspired-but-modernized instruments, and the headlights, which get LED units. The 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is roughly the same size and shape as the original XK six-cylinder engine and fits in its place; the electric motor goes where the gearbox used to be.

As a result, front-rear weight distribution and handling characteristics remain virtually unchanged, and the car is actually about 46 kg (100 lbs) lighter than its gas-powered progenitor. The swap back to a gasoline engine can be performed quickly and easily, too.

The 220-kW electric drivetrain borrows some componentry from Jaguar’s upcoming I-PACE electric SUV due out next year. Range is about 270 km (170 miles).

Jaguar says it’s using the E-Type Zero to gauge public reaction before it decides whether it wants to make the car more than a one-off, though Hannig also notes the simple in-out swap of the XK engine means a similar conversion could be pulled off on any classic Jag with that engine, from an XK120 to an XJ6

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