Electric and hybrid vehicles are the way of the future. But we still love some classic sports cars. So how do we reconcile the two?
RBW may have the answer. The company is dedicated to converting old British sports cars into battery-electrics and keeping them relevant and on the road for the foreseeable future, whatever the bureaucrats may determine we’re allowed to drive in the coming years.
Its first project is based on the MGB roadster, and brings in outside expertise to make it happen. British Motor Heritage and Gregson Polska provide new body shells, while German giant Continental AG’s recently acquired Zytek Automotive unit (formerly known as Gibson Technology) furnish the electric powertrain, drawing on its experience in Formula E racing and the electric Morgan project.
The converted roadster packs 94 horsepower (70 kW) and 167 lb-ft (226 Nm) of torque, propelling it to 60 mph (96 km/h) in eight seconds en route to a top speed of 105 mph (169 km/h), with a range of 155 miles (249 km).
“Our aim is make these great classic cars better for the modern age and to do that, we have been fortunate to be supported by great companies who share the same ethos,” said managing director Peter Swain.
“In our research and development, we put the cars through vigorous testing which showed just how much pressure is on the body as well as the components. Such is the power of the engine, we used new components wherever possible to ensure the best for owners to enjoy from their classic electric sports car.”
Only 30 examples will be offered, starting with the first 18 next year – and the price tag for each is rather steep: £83,000 (or about $109k) plus taxes, with a £8,300 (~$11k) refundable deposit due up front to reserve a build slot. RBW also plans to build a quartet of similarly electrified Jaguar XKSS roadsters that will surely be even more expensive, following the lead set by Jaguar Classic and its own E-Type Zero.