Jaguar XK120 and other British classics are going electric – the price is predictably eye-watering

Jaguar XK120 and other British classics are going electric – the price is predictably eye-watering

Vintage cars are great to look at and even better to drive. However, people rarely use them as daily drivers, because they can be quite fragile, noisy and uncomfortable. But there is a good new way of making classic cars good enough for daily use – electric power conversions. A new British company Lunaz is about to start selling an electrified Jaguar XK120 and it sounds like an amazing idea.

Classic car conversions to electric power are more and more common. Not so long ago we wrote about the new Volkswagen eKäfer –  the classic Beetle with electric heart. However, electric Jaguar XK120 is going to be a completely different kind of animal.



Lunaz, a company founded by a former Renault F1 Technical Director Jon Hilton, is actually currently developing 3 electric cars. The conversion of the 1953 Jaguar XK120 is going to be the first one to hit the streets, but the 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V and the 1956 Rolls-Royce Cloud are going to come next. The process of transforming classic cars to modern electromobiles is quite a complicated one.

Electrified Jaguar XK120 is going to be the first car in Lunaz range. (Image credit: Lunaz)

At first, Lunaz engineers strip down the cars and restore their bodies. Of course, engines, transmissions and all the clutter associated with them are removed permanently. You could convert these cars back to ICE-powered vehicles, but that would require some effort as Lunaz is introducing significant structural modifications to these cars. Bodies are then scanned so that engineers could figure out the best way to mount all the electric gubbins, including motors and batteries. By the way, Lunaz is assembling battery packs and creating all the electronics in-house. The result – vintage design with modern technology in one package.

Quietness, which surround electric cars, will enhance Rolls-Royce experience. (Image credit: Lunaz)

Lunaz Jaguar XK120 is going to have a 80 kWh batteries, divided into two modules – one will be mounted in the engine bay and the second one – under the boot floor, where fuel tank used to be. Meanwhile a heavier 8-seater Rolls-Royce Phantom V will store its power in 120 kWh modules. Lunaz says that all its cars will feature fast charging, regenerative braking and will have a range of at least 400 km. Electric XK120 is going to be rather fast as well – 280 kW (380 hp) is much more than the original car ever had. Jaguar XK120, which at one point was the fastest production car in the world, was produced from 1948 till 1954. The maximum power that it ever had was 164 kW – quite a bit less than what Lunaz conversion is going to offer.

Electric Jaguar XK120 is going to be faster than the original ever was. (Image credit: Lunaz)

Of course, Lunaz is going to make sure that the suspension and brakes are going to be able to deal with the increased power and weight. Meanwhile, the design is not going to change much at all – electric XK120 will still have all its grilles and even the fuel cap. The interior looks classic as well, although a touchscreen and battery gauges are added. All Lunaz cars will have modern safety tech, including traction and cruise control.

Electrified vintage cars are not for everyone’s taste, but they are easier to live with every day. (Image credit: Lunaz)

There will be many people who will say that this is a blasphemy – Jaguar XK120 should never be electric. However, the truth is that these cars do not get driven much at all. Electric conversions will make them basically daily-drivable. On the other hand, Lunaz cars will start from 350,000 pounds (400k Euros), but that is predictable – exclusive cars tend to cost a lot.



Other fun reads;

The brand new old Volkswagen eKäfer – Beetle goes electric;

Electric trucks are far from new – they were delivering goods a hundrend years ago;

Why cars used to have whitewall tires?

JAWA 750 – did you know JAWA made cars?

Why modern cars have so much plastic under the bonnet?

The classic Beetle of the 21st century – meet the brand new electric eKäfer

The classic Beetle of the 21st century – meet the brand new electric eKäfer

We love classic cars. We love their design, simplicity and that unique character that seems to be missing from modern vehicles. But it is rather difficult to keep them on the road. They are unreliable, noisy and not environmentally friendly to say the least. Now Volkswagen has a solution – take a look at this brand new classic – the eKäfer.

Käfer, better known as Beetle out of Germany, was actually the first car of Volkswagen. First examples left the factory back in 1938. It was actually Hitler’s idea to build a “people’s car” that would be affordable to everyone and could take advantage of the new autobahn system. Although WW2 halted the production of Käfer, it was resumed afterwards, which allowed Beetle to become one of the most iconic cars of all time.



Now Volkswagen Group worked together with ca company, called eClassics, to bring eKäfer to life. By the way, Käfer is the original German name of this model – if you read “Classic Beetle” or “Käfer”, know that it is one and the same model. And people love them – old Käfers look very unique in today’s traffic. However, keeping them on the road is not for everyone.

Volkswagen eKäfer – the classic design with modern technology. (Volkswagen’s pic.)

Old cars require extensive care. Oftentimes they are unreliable and too noisy. They also pollute quite a bit more than modern vehicles. And that’s where eKäfer comes in – it is an old design with modern technology. eKäfer is reliable, cheap to maintain (probably expensive to buy though), quiet and can use privileges of electric cars, which include special parking spots, exemptions from road taxes and congestion fees, cheaper insurance, special lanes and many more.

No tailpipes to see. (Volkswagen’s pic.)

eKäfer got internals from the new e-up! And so it is driven by the same 61 kW motor, drawing power from 36.8 kWh batteries, built into the underbody of the car. These lithium-ion batteries should be very reliable, because Volkswagen offers 8 years or 160,000 km warranty for them in the new e-up!

eKäfer got its new batteries and motor from the new e-up! city car. (Volkswagen’s pic.)

Volkswagen doesn’t think that eKäfer should live exclusively in the city – its 200 km range allows for short trips behind the city walls and it can be charged from flat back to 150 km range in just one hour. eKäfer is very aerodynamic and weighs 1,280 kg – a bit more than the original.

eKäfer is faster, more reliable and quieter than the original. (Volkswagen’s pic.)

It should be fun to drive too. eKäfer accelerates to 50 km/h in just under four seconds and to 80 km in just over eight seconds. Its top speeds is 150 km/h, which means it can keep up with highway traffic. Of course, the faster you go, the quicker the batteries are drained, but at least you can be confident in overtaking.

Volkswagen eKäfer has some additional storage place where the old engine used to be. (Volkswagen’s pic.)

eKäfer has an additional trunk, where the classic car had its boxer engine. Another interesting feature – eKäfer’s charging port is tastefully hidden behind one of the tailights. However, other than pronounced sills and the lack of tailpipes, eKäfer looks exactly like the original.

The charging port is tastefully hidden behind a tail light. (Volkswagen’s pic.)

Volkswagen eKäfer will make its official debut at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. And it will not be the only electric classic in the future. Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group Components, said: We are already working together to prepare the platform for the Bus. An e-Porsche 356 could also be pursued in the future.”


Other interesting reads:

Volkswagen Plattenwagen – one of the earliest Volkswagen vehicles;

EA489 Basistransporter – Volkswagen you probably don’t know;

Electric trucks are far from new – they were delivering goods a hundrend years ago;

JAWA 750 – did you know JAWA made cars?

Why modern cars have so much plastic under the bonnet?

Volvo says that electric trucks will not only be eco-friendly, but will also help fighting traffic jams

Volvo says that electric trucks will not only be eco-friendly, but will also help fighting traffic jams

The future of transportation is in the hands of electric trucks. They will be fast, they will be powerful and they will be efficient. And they will be here next year. Tesla Semi should reach its buyers sometime in 2019. Cummins and Daimler are both preparing electric trucks of different category to enter the market next year and now Volvo is saying it has something in its sleeve too. And it should reduce traffic jams.

How can an electric truck – literally just another vehicle on the street – help fighting congestion in city centres? Volvo Trucks reminds us that many cities now have strict regulation against noise pollution. This means that trucks have to operate during the busiest hours of the day. And that is a problem.



According to Volvo that because electric trucks will be much quieter, they will be able to roam streets at late evenings and at night. This will reduce the number of delivery trucks on the street during rush hours. Electric trucks will also be able to reach areas where conventional diesel trucks are simply not allowed to go due to noise and pollution regulations.

A study, conducted in Stockholm city, revealed that trucks operating off peak traffic hours managed to cut the delivery time by 66 %. These trucks can also be slightly bigger, since they will not have to navigate the daily rush hour traffic. A simple delivery truck can carry ten times as much cargo as the vans commonly used today. This means less trips and more effective utilization of road network.

We still haven’t seen how Volvo’s electric trucks will look like, but the first step will be urban delivery.(Volvo Trucks)

People who live in the city will benefit too from reduction of noise and cleaner air. World Health Organization estimates that by 2030 more than 60 % of world’s population will live in urban areas. In just 12 years from now cities of the world will grow by a billion people. This will cause increase in traffic problems, which are already pretty bad. It is estimated that in EU alone congestion and related traffic problems cost about a 100 billion euros per year.

Therefore, Volvo is going to start selling urban distribution trucks in Europe next year. However, initial testing with selected reference customers is already going to start this year.

Jonas Odermalm, Head of product strategy medium duty vehicles at Volvo Trucks, said: “Our technology and knowhow within electromobility are based on proven commercial solutions already in use on Volvo’s electric buses, and solutions that were introduced in Volvo’s hybrid trucks as far back as 2010. The vehicles themselves are only one part of what is needed for large-scale electrification to succeed. Enabling long term sustainable transport is a complex issue that requires a holistic and wide range of measures”. Issues regarding infrastructure are going to be discussed with cities and customers, in order to prepare the network for sustainable electric truck operations.



Also read:

Electric trucks from a 100 years ago;

Gas-powered trucks are already available and in theory can be CO2 neutral;

Scammel Scarab – it is not your ordinary semi-truck – it is the mechanical horse;

General Motors Bison – a vision of trucks of the future from 1964. Why didn’t it stick?

Electric trucks are far from new – they were delivering goods a hundred years ago

Electric trucks are far from new – they were delivering goods a hundred years ago

Daimler, Tesla, Cummins and many other companies are all preparing electric trucks. Some of them will hit the market already next year and, as experts predict, the truck industry will be changed forever. However, none of these companies invented a battery-powered truck – they were already delivering milk and baked goods more than a hundred years ago.

Nothing new under the Sun. We now consider electric trucks to be the transportation of the future, but in reality the world has already seen electric trucks in the past. For example, Walker Electric Truck company in US in 1907-1942 was manufacturing extremely popular electric trucks. They were regarded as extremely reliable and strong, although quite slow.



Modern electric trucks will be at least as quick as diesel-powered ones. But Walker trucks were not that fast at all. They were powered by a 3.5 HP motor, drawing energy from 66-80 volt batteries, delivering a maximum of 40 amps. You don’t have to know anything about engineering to know that this is not a lot of power for a truck.

Companies had big fleets of Walker trucks – they were extremely reliable and so much better than horses. (Narve Skarpmoen, Wikimedia)

Walker trucks obviously could not reach a very high top speed – they maxed out at around 16-19 km/h. However, no one really complained about that sort of speed back in 1910’s, especially since the truck had solid steel wheels with solid rubber tyres.

Walker did not make semi-trucks – all of them were conventional wagons. The cargo compartment was customized for the client’s needs. It was not an aerodynamic masterpiece either – it was pretty much a wooden box on wheels and batteries between the axles. By the way, batteries provided 80 km of range, which was pretty much enough for daily operations of the period. They were charged every night.

This truck was running with its original batteries from 1914 till 1960. (Erector, Wikimedia)

You may laugh at these specifications, but at the time they were pretty good. Don’t forget that these trucks were replacing horses and carriages. They were quicker, easier to maintain and could carry more load. Walker exported some of these electric trucks to Great Britain, Norway and New Zealand. In fact, it is said that electrical company Orion New Zealand Limited is using one example till this day, although that is just a symbolic act.

Walker truck charging in Norway – they could go for about 80 km before needing an overnight charge. (Narve Skarpmoen, Wikimedia)

Rail companies, US post office, delivery, diary companies as well as bakeries and other small businesses just loved Walker electric trucks. It is said that the famous Marshall Field & Company chain had 276 Walker trucks in 1925. However, eventually it all came to an end.

Internal combustion trucks were not as easy to live with, since they needed extensive maintenance, but they were easier to operate, quicker and could go much further on a full tank. Walker trucks lived longer than the company itself and even now remain in running condition in museums and private collections.



Also read about some other cool historic trucks:

Scammel Scarab – it is not your ordinary semi-truck – it is the mechanical horse;

Goliath GD 750 – three-wheeler truck with a tiny engine was more useful than it looks;

General Motors Bison – a vision of trucks of the future from 1964. Why didn’t it stick?

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