The conundrum of converting a classic electric vehicle


Sitting around the rooftop infinity pool CleanTechnica world headquarters of carbon fiber and cross-laminated timber the other night the team talked about converting classic cars to electric power. This topic arose because some were fascinated by Lunaz’s recent announcement that it will soon be offering electric conversions of the iconic Aston Martin DB 4, DB 5 and DB 6. (The DB designation denotes models that have been introduced while David Brown was in charge of the company, which dates back to 1913.)

There are a few automobiles that are considered timeless classics, expressions of automotive art so perfectly suited to their era that they have come to represent the era in which they appeared. (Our list will be different from yours. There’s a reason auto museums are found all over the world.)

I think of the Auburn Boattail Speedster, the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, the Jaguar XK-E and the Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gull Wing Coupe. (Everyone has their own list of classic cars. I would add the MGA to mine.) But one car that seems to ignite the souls of auto enthusiasts around the world is the silver Aston Martin DB 5 driven by James Bond in the film The golden finger and featured in the new (and possibly the last) 007 movie No time to die. (Note: The DB 5 was designed by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, one of the many Italian design companies who have contributed amazing and timeless designs to the automotive world over the decades.)

The original, manoeuvrable DB 5s are made from 100% pure unobtainium, but Lunaz will sell you a DB 6 with an electric powertrain for around $ 1 million. In fact, when the first conversions are ready around 2023, it will likely be more like where price negotiations begin. Lunaz also offers electrified versions of other historic British cars from Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Range Rover.

Adding modern features

Lunaz is very proud of the fact that its modified Aston Martins will offer all modern comforts. The company said the conversion process would include “improved brakes, suspension and steering, while interior comfort and convenience is brought up to modern standards through the provision of air conditioning and integration. responsive to the latest infotainment, navigation and full Wi-Fi systems. Fi connectivity.

This raises, at least in my mind, an important question. Do I want a DB6 – or any other classic car – with infotainment, navigation, air conditioning and full Wi-Fi connectivity? Frankly, my answer is no. I have owned MGs for over 40 years. None of them had touch screens. I also had a Miata for 20 years. It also did without a touchscreen. The purpose of these cars was to get out and Get lost! They were made to discover new roads, hopefully with just two lanes that meander through woods and through streams to places you’ve never seen before.

Originally, a sports car had 4 wheels (unless it was a Morgan), an engine, transmission, rear axle and brakes. By definition, anything that didn’t make a car faster was omitted on models with sporty pretensions. If you wanted a heater in your UK sports car in the 40’s and 50’s you had to add it as an extra cost option when ordering. That’s why I have to laugh when I see a big SUV or a pickup truck with “SPORT” engraved on its sides.

My favorite sports cars are the roadsters. I like to remind people of the difference between a convertible and a roadster. A convertible has a soft top that is sometimes placed in ideal conditions. A roadster has a soft top that you put on every now and then when the weather gets terrible. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s extremely important, at least in my opinion.

I know many readers will say that all The electric car is valuable because it drives the electric vehicle revolution forward. People say that about the gargantuan Hummer which weighs almost 10,000 pounds and is half the size of a regular SUV. The best review I’ve seen on the Hummer so far was on the reddit EV Forum recently: “It’s huge, it’s cool, it’s overdone and unnecessary. Very American.

TO CleanTechnicaWe are bombarded daily with stories of about $ 1 million and over super duper cars with 2000 horsepower and a top speed of 200 mph. I ignore them, all of them. To me, these cars are a distraction, trinkets for people with more money than intelligence to hang on their charm bracelets for their friends to ogle.

Personally, I prefer a car that requires old school skills like how to read a map, how to adjust the rear brakes, and how to adjust the carburetor. There is a feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing all the quirks and weaknesses of a car and how to deal with them. There is pride in knowing how to replace a clutch release bearing, bleed your brakes, shift gears without a clutch, or reverse steer to control a skid.

Padding the powertrain of a destroyed Tesla in an old car may be appealing to some, but it misses the point. It takes away all the nuances and history that make an old car worth driving. I don’t want a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk with an electric transmission. I want one with the original motor so I can listen to the whine of the compressor when I crush the throttle.

So, I’m sorry, Lunaz. Your electric Aston Martins look great, but they’re not for me. I would rather have an original car, one that I can take out every now and then and use to find roads I have never driven before, roads that challenge me to create a syncopated symphony of sound from a collection of pistons, valves, crankshafts, and camshafts dancing to the rhythm dictated by my right foot.

Some will disagree, and that’s your right. But for me, Robert Frost’s words sum it up best. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and me?” I took the less frequented one. And that made all the difference. “

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