You won't have to be a prince to drive an electric Jaguar E-type (though financially it may help).
Jaguar announced Thursday that it plans to produce and sell classic E-type coupes similar to the one that carried Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from Windsor Castle to their wedding reception starting in 2020—complete with its electric powertrain.
The beautiful coupes are based off the E-type Zero concept shown last year and won't actually be new; the production two-seaters are original Jaguar E-types restored at the company's Classic Works center and converted to electric power.
The announcement—accompanied by a second copy of the E-type Zero, this one in Bespoke Bronze paint—kicked off Jaguar's promotional efforts at the Monterey classic car week in California.
Jaguar says the electric E-type will use technology from Jaguar's latest electric production car, the I-Pace SUV, to replace the classic Jag's beautiful-but-cantankerous inline-6. Jaguar hasn't yet specified performance for the electric coupe.
The company will build the electric E-types at its Classic Works restoration shop alongside other classic Jaguars. The company said the E-type Zero could be among other classics restored with electric powertrains from the classic center.
Jaguar E-Type Zero
"Future-proofing the enjoyment of classic car ownership is a major stepping stone for Jaguar Classic," Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director Tim Hannig said in a statement. "E-type Zero showcases the incredible heritage of the E-type...while demonstrating Jaguar Land Rover’s dedication to creating zero emission vehicles across every part of the business, including Jaguar Classic."
Jaguar is being careful to ensure that the electric modifications to the classic E-type are reversible. E-types are among the most collectible classic cars, and many owners want historically correct museum pieces to show future generations, or the authentic 1960s driving experience, rather than a blend of the latest 2018 technology.
The company has designed the new electric drivetrain with its 40-kwh lithium battery to fit in the same dimensions as the original inline-6 and 4-speed transmission and to approximate their weight so the electric power won't upset the original car's handling balance.
Jaguar E-Type Zero
That also allows Jaguar to keep the original brakes and suspension, which both simplifies the conversion and preserves originality.
Jaguar says it is targeting 170 miles of range for the E-type Zero and that it will have quicker acceleration than the original car. A charge will take six to seven hours on a Level 2 charger.
An optional center touchscreen will replace the classic E-type's row of switches and dials across the dashboard.
The company will offer the same conversions to existing E-type owners, perhaps after they get tired of changing leaky gaskets in the inline-6.
Jaguar is seeking deposits for the E-type Zero starting this weekend, but won't say how much the conversion or the cars will cost.