Electric MGB Is Another Glimpse of Our 'Gattaca'-Style Automotive Future
Image credit: RBW
The RBW EV Classic Roadster has a body made from new MGB spare parts
The roadster has a 94 horsepower engine and a range of 160 miles
The home EV converter industry is developing alongside larger automakers
The automotive future, which was presented in the 1995 film Gattaca, in which vintage cars from the 60s whirl around almost silently and only make cool electronic noises, has come one step closer to reality. UK-based RBW EV Classic Cars has just completed a pre-production example of its MGB-style electric roadster.
That's right: This is not a retrofitting of an old MGB to an electric drive, but a new EV that carries a Heritage body from British Motor Heritage. The battery sits under the bonnet, while the electric motor is at the rear and sends power to the rear axle. This not only leads to a good weight distribution, but should also emulate the dynamics of the rear-wheel drive of the original MGB. Quiet, of course. The roadster has a 94-horsepower, 167 lb-ft engine and a range of 160 miles. The MGB will be able to complete the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in about nine seconds (not too fast, for an extra vintage experience) and reach a top speed of 80 mph.
"Our patented system places the electric motor in the back of the car and the lithium-ion battery technology from Hyperdrive Innovation under the bonnet, which enables perfectly balanced weight distribution," says Managing Director Peter Swain. “This not only gives the driver a lot more handling of the car, which retains the feel of a sports car, but also offers maximum battery capacity. "
RBW's EV Classic Roadster chassis has independent front and rear suspension and regenerative braking, while the interior has digital displays and a Pioneer navigation system with a 7-inch touchscreen. The infotainment system includes an HDMI input for pairing phones, USB ports and even an SD card connection. Another item you get in the electric MGB that you couldn't get in the original is power windows as they are cheaper than crank windows these days and like many other systems in this car including one of Prototrim designed interiors, they can be sourced from suppliers will.
Image credit: RBW
"What's even more exciting to us is that the RBW system and architecture can be built into other body shells like Austin Healey, Jaguar E-Type, Mini and many more," added Swain. "Every car can be built according to the personal specifications and requirements of the customer. The possibilities are endless and thus secure the future of the classic automobile."
How much does this future cost?
It's not cheap and reflects the handcrafted nature of the machine. According to RBW, the Roadster starts at £ 90,000 or around USD 116,000. That might be a lot of money for small EVs with this range, but of course it's more about style and a roadster experience than just mileage.
Is this a glimpse of our electric future, in which skateboard platforms make it possible to couple almost any classic or modern body and interior with a battery-electric drive train?
There is now a small home industry of small EV manufacturers converting classic cars to electric drives. Given the availability of spare parts for classic roadsters like the MGB, it may not come as a surprise that a new MGB can be built from scratch, giving it electrical power.
Small EV manufacturers could soon face competition from the world's largest automakers, as VW itself has already lit up a retro-style MPV in green that pays homage to the original VW bus. It won't be a model that is outwardly identical to the original, but it's not difficult to imagine a Beetle supported by the same MEB platform a few years later.
Of course, the MGB isn't the only classic for which replica body panels can be easily procured. There are many classic American muscle cars that are also supported by a small industry of parts manufacturers. Combine this with a modern interior, an infotainment system and a sufficiently long range, and you have a new vehicle that you can present to buyers of old and young alike.
What do you think of an electric machine gun? Let us know in the comments.
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