D​iscussion of the Week - is electrifying classic cars a good idea?

S​hould we be putting classics on an electric platform or not?

6w ago
4.7K

B​efore I begin on the main topic of this article, I‘m going to quickly explain what is going on. Basically, I didn’t have an idea for a second article this week, so I’ve had a thought - and it will hopefully prevent me from ever running out of ideas again (or at least for a little while...) What this is supposed to be is a sort of chatroom for the comments section - I’ll pick a topic, I’ll share my view on it, and then you guys can have an open conversation alongside myself in the comments. Of course, this is supposed to be an open environment, so please try to keep it friendly and respectful in comments - we’re all car people here, we should respect eachother’s opinions, yada yada yada high school kindness jecture.

T​he topic I’ve chosen for this article is electrifying classic cars, which has been a hot topic in the media and around DriveTribe itself quite recently - especially with the ticking time bomb of the Boris Ban coming into effect in the UK in 2030. The idea of this is you take a classic car, remove either it’s engine or it’s entire underbody, and replace it with electric car bits. There are now entire companies dedicated to this purpose, one of which being Totem with their gorgeous Alfa Romeo GTElectric (which can be seen below). As for my view on the topic, I think that it can be done well, but there’s a very fine line between what’s right and what’s wrong. There are the obvious classics that aren’t suited for electric setups, like a Countach or a 60s Mustang, and there are some cars that probably better suited for electric conversions than their standard ICE engines - like the Beetle from the hero image and the old Volkswagen campervans. But then the line starts to get a bit blurry when you try and meet in the middle.

T​his middle point, I think, largely relies on personal preference and whether or not your opinion is likely to get you killed by enthusiasts. A good example of this is the electric MGB that James May drove on the DriveTribe YouTube channel a short while ago. I rather like the idea of electrifying an MG, because I’m not sure anyone is going to miss the sound of a slowly breaking four-cylinder, or the consistent breakdowns whenever you need to get anywhere with even the slightlest shred of urgency. However, I can say for a fact that some MG enthusiasts would hate the idea of an electric MG... for some reason? I can’t understand it myself, but maybe I’m just a bit weird. Another example is a personal idea of mine, which is an electrified version of the original Mini. The Mini is light, handles like a go-kart, and is genuinely a very nice little runabout. More power and more torque, I think, would make it an absolute riot. However, one of my close friends‘ (he’s the one who actually got me into cars in the first place) dad happens to have an original Mini as a weekend project/family runabout. And I know for a fact that my friend would wipe me from the face of the Earth if I ever brought up this electric Mini idea.

B​ut hey, that’s just me and my ideas. What do you guys think? That’s the main idea of this article! If this article ’succeeds’ (i.e. people actually give a damn about it), then I’ll definately make follow-ups in the future, but... that’s the future, and the now is now. So... yeah. Not much more to say.

B​e sure to share your thoughts in the comments section!

B​ut hey, that’s just me and my thoughts. What do you guys think? That is what this article is about! If this is a success (i ​

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Comments (20)

  • Electrification would preserve some automotive heritage if well executed. I’d limit my choices to relatively common mass market, non-performance oriented, makes and models; Classic Mini, VW Beetles, Fiat Cinquecento, etc, ideal as an urban runabout. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1 month ago
  • Only if they are unsalvagable!

      1 month ago
  • It all depends on what car is being electrified, cars known for raw engines like the Cobra or Camaro? Hell no, cars that are known for anything but engine, like the E-Type and the 240z? Probably, if done well. Electrifying select classic cars (Classic cars that'd be great with an electric motor) could crush some Tesla ass.

      1 month ago
  • My first article on DT was exactly about this and I still am adamant that electrifying classics should be as unacceptable as putting whipped cream on steak

      1 month ago
    • I like the analogy! I can understand some people's disagreement with electrifying classics, because it is essentially discarding a piece of motoring history. But I personally prefer to think of it as preserving the cars of the past for the...

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        1 month ago
    • I agree.

        1 month ago
  • Electrifying classics is a terrible idea, and ruins amazing cars. We have to keep cars with ICE engines, it makes them better in every way

      1 month ago
    • Fair enough. I thought that way myself until quite recently, and I'm still not fully sold on anything more than electrifying old four-cylinder cars.

        1 month ago
    • You see there are better options, the thing about modifying cars is that you can be creative. For an old 4 cylinder car, there are plenty of great engines available that are a billion times better than an electric garbage can, you could have an...

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        1 month ago
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