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Classic cars converted to electric ‘are not historic’

Lunaz electrified classics

The international federation of historic vehicles says it is unable to promote or support the conversion of classic cars to electric power.

FIVA (the Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens) ‘understands the motivation of some owners to electrify their vehicles” and that ”all modifications are a matter of personal choice”.

It also acknowledges that electrification allows vehicles to meet modern environmental standards, with the additional benefit of increased power and performance.

However, in a rather damning statement, FIVA has slammed the electrification of historic vehicles, saying it ‘cannot promote, to owners or regulators, the use of modern EV components (motors and batteries) to replace historic vehicle’s powertrain’. 

An increasing number of classic cars are being converted to electric, including the Volkswagen Beetle, Jaguar E-Type Zero, Renault 4L Plein Air, Jaguar XK120, Aston Martin DB6 Volante Electric and Ferrari 308 GTE.

What is a historic vehicle?

Lunaz electrified classics

According to FIVA, a historic vehicle is ‘a mechanically propelled road vehicle’ that is:

  • At least 30 years old.
  • Preserved and maintained in a historically correct condition.
  • Not used as a means of daily transport.
  • Part of our technical and culture heritage.

The final point is open to interpretation, but the reference to ‘historically correct’ leaves us in little doubt. An electrified classic cannot be classed as a historic vehicle.

Tiddo Bresters, FIVA’s vice president, legislation, said: “It is not, in our opinion, the shape or body style of a vehicle that makes it ‘historic’, but the way in which the entire vehicle has been constructed and manufactured in its original form.

“Hence if any owner, motor engineer or manufacturer chooses to make such conversions to a historic vehicle, FIVA would strongly recommend that any changes are reversible, with all the original components marked and safely stored.

“In this way, the vehicle may – if so desired in the future – be returned to its original state and may once again become a historic vehicle.”

FIVA’s stance is certain to spark a debate in the pubs of Great Britain and on classic car forums. Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla Model 3?

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the most talked about cars in Britain. Our Tim Pitt said “it could be a game-changer for Tesla: the car that propels it into the mainstream“. But how much does it cost to charge?

You’d be forgiven for feeling slightly confused. Some Tesla owners don’t pay for using the Supercharger network, while others do. Cutting to the chase: you WILL have to pay to charge a Tesla Model 3.

Anyone who bought a Model S or Model X before 2 November 2018 enjoys free and unlimited access to the Supercharger network. Cars bought after this date are subject to an annual allowance of 400kWh before paying to use the network.

Then, in August 2019, Tesla reinstated the unlimited free Supercharging as part of the Model S and Model X sales package. It isn’t clear how long this will last, but it doesn’t apply to Model 3 owners. 

Model 3: cost of charging

How much you pay to charge your Tesla Model 3 depends on where you’re charging. The following guide is based on prices correct at the time of writing:

  • Tesla Supercharger: based on a price of 24p/kWh, a full charge in the Model 3 Standard Range Plus costs £12. This delivers a range of 254 miles.
  • Public charging network: using a Pod Point rapid charger should cost between £7.52 to £10.26 for a 20 to 80 percent charge. Other rapid chargers are available.
  • At home: based on a cost of 14p/kWh, it should cost £7 for a full charge when using a domestic supply.

Prices vary, while access to a rapid charger network could involve a registration fee and monthly charge.

Tesla Superchargers in Britain

There are currently nearly 15,000 Superchargers across the world, and that number is growing all the time. However, it’s worth noting that the Model 3 is the first Tesla to come with a CCS charging port, so you aren’t restricted solely to the company’s Supercharger network. 

Click here to read our Tesla Model 3 UK review.

Electric Tesla driver

More people intend to buy an electric car – but concerns remain

Electric Tesla driver

A growing number of people are warming to the idea of owning an electric car – but obstacles remain. That’s according to an international survey of more than 4,000 people.

Sixty percent of the respondents in 16 different countries said they view electric cars favourably, with around half saying they are more positive now than three years ago.

Among those planning to lease a car within the next five years, 40 percent said they intend to choose an electric car.

We looked into leasing deals in August. While electric cars are often more expensive than petrol and diesel cars, the running costs tend to be cheaper. 

Personal Contract Hire (PCH) deals start from around £200 a month for a Volkswagen e-Golf, with deals available on the Jaguar I-Pace. As the choice widens, the prices will become more competitive.

The infrastructure needs fixing

Electric vehicle recharging point warning sign

But while motorists are switching on to electric cars, concerns remain. Around a half of those surveyed in the Electric Vehicles and Sustainability section of the Mobility Monitor study said the current infrastructure is a barrier.

Meanwhile, 45 percent said a limited driving range was a reason to avoid electric cars.

In Italy, Spain and the UK, around 60 percent of respondents who plan to buy or lease a car in the next five years said a shortage of charging stations would stop them from making the switch.

Tex Gunning, CEO of LeasePlan, the company which worked with Ipsos on the research, said the infrastructure needs urgent attention.

“Our 2019 Mobility Monitor shows that public demand for zero-emission mobility far outpaces currently available EV infrastructure.

“We need to fix this now.

“The European Commission, together with national governments and local authorities, must step up and act on citizen demand for zero-emission mobility by investing in a comprehensive, pan-European charging infrastructure.

“Only through collective, decisive and timely action will we be able to win the fight against climate change, and improve air quality in our towns and cities.”

The UK’s best and worst cities for charging an electric car

Electric car charging winners and losers

The most EV-friendly areas of the UK have been revealed, based on the number of public charging points for electric cars. 

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Motorway.co.uk identified the car charging winners and losers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, London benefits from the most plug-in points.

The best London boroughs – Westminster, Richmond, Wandsworth and Hammersmith – all offer more than 200 public charging stations.

London Borough

Population

Number of EV charging  points – current

EV charging points per 1,000 population

Westminster

255,324

375

1.47

Richmond upon Thames

196,904

265

1.35

Hammersmith and Fulham

185,426

216

1.16

Wandsworth

326,474

250

0.77

Islington

239,142

166

0.69

Elsewhere, only Nottingham has more than 200 chargers, although Milton Keynes leads in terms of how many people each is shared between.

Even so, 0.83 charge points per 1,000 people doesn’t sound much, especially when you compare it with Westminster’s 1.47. 

Town/City

Population

Number of EV charging  points – current

EV charging points per 1,000 population

Milton  Keynes

229,941

192

0.83

Aberdeen

196,904

100

0.51

Newcastle upon Tyne

192,382

75

0.39

Coventry

185,426

122

0.34

Nottingham

326,474

215

0.29

Edinburgh

239,142

130

0.28

Before we consider the losers, it’s worth noting that charging points on private land weren’t included in this data. This is purely an examination of council-sanctioned car charging.

The worst places to own an electric car

Electric car charging winners and losers

London isn’t a slam-dunk win for electric car drivers: both Enfield and Harrow have less than 10 charging points.

The borough of Bexley, meanwhile, has a grand total of zero charging facilities: the only part of London that goes completely without. Apparently, Bexley council plans to have 13 charge points up and running by the end of 2019.

London Borough

Population

Number of EV charging  points – current

EV charging points per 1,000 population

Bexley

247,258

0

0.00

Enfield

333,869

9

0.03

Harrow

250,149

7

0.03

Newham

352,005

10

0.03

Redbridge

303,858

11

0.04

If these areas of London deal without charging points, what’s the rest of the country like?

Well, there are entire cities with no public places to plug in. Mansfield, Northampton, Swansea and Kingston upon Hull, all go without. 

Mansfield

171,958

0

0.00

Northampton

215,963

0

0.00

Swansea

300,352

0

0.00

Kingston upon Hull

314,018

0

0.00

“UK government has a mammoth task on its hands to create an EV charging infrastructure that can cope with the expected growth in electric car ownership over the next 20 years,” said Alex Buttle, director of Motorway.co.uk.

Labour ban petrol diesel cars 2030

“In fact, its own 2040 switchover target from fossil fuels depends on it. The government is trying to encourage people to switch to electric cars, but many vehicle owners are reluctant to do so until they are confident the infrastructure is fit for purpose.

“We carried out a survey of UK drivers recently and an inadequate charging infrastructure was the most common reason cited by respondents as to why they wouldn’t consider switching to an electric car over the next five years.

“Brexit is understandably at the top of the government’s agenda at the moment, but it’s in danger of taking its eyes off this huge infrastructure challenge, and a public that has no faith in the charging programme is unlikely to buy into the idea of early switching.”

Retro electric: Morris is back, with an electric van

Morris JE electric van

The classic Morris J-type van is returning, in spirit, as an all-electric commercial vehicle. The JE is described as a ‘21st-Century re-imagining of the iconic Morris J-type van’.

The new Morris Commercial company wanted to drag the J-type, considered by many to be ‘the ultimate iconic British van’, kicking and screaming into the 21’st century.

A tall order, over 70 years on from the original’s debut at Earls Court.

From 1948 to 2019

Morris JE electric van

So what’s new about the new JE? Pretty much everything, bar the characterful styling and the fact that it’s built in Britain. 

The important stuff obviously is what powers it. It’s electric, although the exact specifications of the powertrain are yet to be disclosed. Morris Commercial says it’ll have ‘high functionality and [a] long range’.

It’s also due to be relatively lightweight. Based on a modular chassis, the body is made of carbon fibre. Yes, this is a carbon-clad Morris van. It’s not quite ready yet, although there is a fully working engineering prototype.

Morris JE electric van

There’s also no word on when it’ll be available to buy, or indeed how much it’ll be. The prototype will, however, be revealed in full in a matter of weeks. 

I am so pleased to reach this stage after over two years of intense development,” said CEO and founder of Morris Commercial, Dr. Qu Li.

Morris JE electric van

“It’s been a fantastic journey and I am extremely proud of what the whole Morris Commercial team and its incredible suppliers have achieved. The working engineering prototype has undergone extensive road testing and the end of 2019 is an amazing conclusion to the first phase of the project. 

“We still have a little way to go to bring the project to full production, but we have the team and the product to make this an enormous success.

As a business we are committed to environmental sustainability and we are trailblazing a new approach to the production of appealing, fully electric commercial vehicles.

“We are very excited to unveil the JE to the public this autumn.”

The Uniti One wants to be YOUR first electric car

Uniti One electric car

A new Swedish company called Uniti is hoping to reinvent the Smart car by offering electric mobility at a lower price. This tiny city car is, like the Smart, lightweight, geared towards urban motoring, clever in its design and very forward-thinking. Meet the Uniti One.

Uniti One: the headline figures

Is this the Tesla of city cars? The numbers are compelling. It’s priced from £15,100 (after the current £3,500 government grant). That’s for the 12kWh version, capable of 93 WLTP-certified miles of range. Doubling that is the 24kWh model, which will travel 186 miles.

Charging the Uniti One

Both can be charged either at home via a 7kW outlet, faster AC outlets or the full CCS Type 2 combo. The latter will take your Uniti from 20 percent to 80 percent charge in 9 or 17 minutes for the 12kWh and 24kWh models respectively. 

Of course, most homes have a domestic 7kW charger. In combination with the optional on-board fast charger, they’ll go from 20 percent to 80 percent charged in a respective one hour and three minutes, or two hours and six minutes.

Performance

Uniti One electric car

This is no Tesla-fighter when it comes to performance. It’s good enough for urban asphalt athletics, though, getting to 62mph in 9.9 seconds. 

City mode optimises for energy saving and ease of operation, while boost mode adds steering weight and sharpens throttle response. In theory, it should be a decent little thing to hustle around in, given it weighs just 600kg. 

Styling: gimmicky or future chic?

The Uniti One is rather gawky in comparison with the very contemporary Smarts – more Comic Con than Savile Row. More Blade Runner than iRobot. Think of it as a Scandinavian Kei car and it’s a little easier to digest – unfussy and futuristic.

Full LED lighting is an option, and there is a range of three ‘elemental colour tones’ (paints). These are Scandium, dark Graphite and warm Titanium, all finished in Satin. Very Swedish chic.

Practicality

Uniti One electric car

The central driving position is also reminiscent of a certain legendary 1990s hypercar, albeit without the V12 induction howl. Two rear seats are split-folding, so in spite of the car’s diminutive proportions, Uniti says the One has ‘generous load-carrying potential’, claiming the car will be good for anything from ‘the school run to a micro taxi vehicle’. Could your next London uber be a Uniti One?

Three-up, the One has 155 litres of cargo capacity, while riding solo will get you 760 litres. As standard the Smart Fortwo has 260 litres of space, without the extra 100 litres of hidden cubby. So depending on your passenger arrangement, you can be worse or better-off than a Smart driver.

As an ownership proposition, Uniti is bigging up nods to personal maintenance. The lower exterior body panels can be removed to repair or replace. ‘Self-coloured’ materials used on the exterior are built for city living, too. 

Inside the Uniti One

Uniti One electric car

One area where electric cars tend to move things along, is cabin tech, albeit with somewhat underwhelming designs. We’re looking at you, Tesla.

The Uniti One is no different: touch-sensitive controls take priority, cultivating a ‘calm and orderly ambience, with a highly-intuitive smartphone-like feel’. If you weren’t already taking this little car seriously, this cabin is unlikely to swing you. If you were on board from the start, you’ll appreciate the clean and functional interior. That three-seat layout leaves the screens flanking the steering wheel, McLaren Speedtail style.

The standard electrochromic roof is very clever, allowing as much or as little light into the cabin as you desire. An airy feel is useful in a car that could feel a little claustrophobic. In terms of infotainment, the car runs Android Automotive OS, with use of Google Maps, Waze, Spotify and other applications. 

The car’s touch interface or voice controls can adjust lighting, heating, vents and other functions. Yes, the Uniti, like Teslas, will have over-the-air software updates. Beyond the tech, Uniti is saying the One will have a robust and quality feel, with soft-touch materials and real metals utilised.

Optional and standard

Uniti One electric car

The special electrochromic roof, RGB adjustable mood lighting and the Android operating system come as standard. Optional are other creature comforts such as a heated driver’s seat and, as above, the LED lights.

So will the Uniti be a hit or a miss? As ever, we can only speculate. As an object of desire, those looks don’t score highly. That said, futuristic looks and an environmental ethos will score points with the right crowd. Being ‘engineered for the city’ and very competitively priced, it could work very well for the audience it’s aimed at. Indeed, several thousand pre-orders were taken in 2017 when a two-seat prototype was unveiled.

If Uniti can deliver cars as promised, by mid 2020 in the UK and Sweden, it could break the EV ice for many who have yet to take the leap.

Uniti One electric car

“This is just the start of our journey towards a more sustainable future,” said Uniti CEO, Lewis Horne.

“I’m immensely proud of what the team has achieved by bringing this innovative vehicle to market in such a short time. But it’s not enough to merely challenge convention. Our goal for the Uniti One is for it to become a catalyst for positive change in our industry and I’m delighted at the way in which this vision has so clearly resonated with people across the globe.”

Labour wants to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030

Labour ban petrol diesel cars 2030

Labour wants to ban the sale of internal combustion-powered cars in the United Kingdom by 2030. The party is also keen to work closely with the industry on ways this can be achieved. 

It says the industry is “under siege”. As such, it has emphasised the desire to help as best it can, working on policies in collaboration with relevant bodies. That said, the overall goal is considered ambitious, even by those within the party itself. 

Labour ban petrol diesel cars 2030

Senior party figures believe the targeted net-zero carbon target by 2030 – as outlined and voted in at the recent party conference – is impossible. As a fully-fledged feature of a future Labour manifesto, this policy is unlikely to carry over. It is, however, a statement of intent and attitude towards the climate issue. Labour wants to set a course with more ambitious talk about action against climate change than the Conservatives.

All of this follows Labour’s ambitious ‘green industrial revolution’ plan, which will se interest-free loans on electric cars handed out, and heavy investment in UK automotive and AFVs (alternative fuelled vehicles).

“The automotive sector is one of the UK’s industrial success stories”, said shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey. 

Labour ban petrol diesel cars 2030

“However, the sector is under siege from Brexit uncertainty and the Tory party’s lack of ambition on electrification. At the same time, we need to accelerate the shift away from fossil-powered cars if we’re to tackle the climate emergency. If we want our automotive sector to flourish, we need a government who is not afraid to intervene.

“It’s vital that we work alongside unions to create a plan for a just transition for workers employed in the automotive sector.”

Electric cars still twice as expensive to buy as normal ones

Electric car values

The average price of an electric car is 81 percent higher than that of a normal car, according to a new study. 

In Europe (plus Israel and Turkey), where electric cars represent 1.9 percent of the new car market, the average retail price of a new car is $34,091 (£27,129). Meanwhile, the average price of the most popular electric cars range from $35,000 (£28,000) to $103,000 (£82,000).

Even the Renault Zoe – one of the cheapest electric cars available – is more expensive than the average retail price in 15 European markets.

In the U.S. and Canada, where the market is dominated by SUVs and pick-ups, the average retail price is $35,614 (£28,340), making it the highest average in the world.

Nevertheless, the cost of electric cars still exceeds the average vehicle price. The Tesla Model 3, which is the region’s top-selling electric car, is 21 percent more expensive than the average.

Tesla Model 3

Only China bucks the trend, where a clear electric car strategy has made it the world’s largest EV market. Government subsidies and fewer safety regulations mean that electric cars are as much as 43 percent lower than the market average.

The Chery EQ1 city car retails for $20,260 (£16,120), while the BYD Yuan is priced at $15,279 (£12,159) – both significantly less than the $26,715 (£21,259) market average.

JATO, the company behind the study, says that price represents one of the four main challenges to the electric car market, the others being poor infrastructure, battery range and a limited supply of cars.

On the price gap, Felipe Munoz, JATO analyst, said: “The gap is set to reduce in the long term. Prices of BEVs (battery electric vehicles) are expected to fall as battery costs decrease and the OEMs share their technologies.

“Yet, based on the latest product announcements and presentations, this is not the case in the short term. It will be very difficult for OEMs to reduce prices and, most importantly, to expand profits without an increase in sales volumes.”

2020 Peugeot 208 review

Munoz referenced the likes of the Volkswagen ID.3, Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e as potential turning points in the sector, while low-priced entries such as electric versions of the Renault Kwid and Maruti Suzuki Wagon R should have a positive impact on the global market.

Click here to read about the new electric cars coming to market within the next 12 months.

Classic Jaguar converted to electric power: yours for £350k

Lunaz electrified classics

A new company aims to modify classic cars with 21st century electric power. The first car to get the silent treatment? A 1950s Jaguar XK120, and there are more to come.

Lunaz has pooled expertise from F1 racing, as well as high-end marques including Aston Martin and Ferrari, to develop new electric tech for classic cars. Its goal is to ‘answer questions of reliability, usability and sustainability with classic cars restored and converted to electric powertrains’. The project is overseen by former Renault F1 technical director, Jon Hilton. 

“The Lunaz solution takes cars that are under threat and gives them new purpose,” said Hilton. “These cars will be true to the original in their aesthetic, peerless in their performance and effortless in their day-to-day use. To breathe new life into these classics represents vital engineering in the purest sense.” 

Lunaz electrified classics

As for power? Well, this Jaguar now offers 380hp and 516lb ft of torque from an 80kWh battery.

Every classic Lunaz electrifies will come with fast-charging capability and regenerative braking, so it’s a comprehensive job.

They also get some modern creature comforts, including traction control and cruise control. Of course, installation will be ‘sympathetic’ to the original car.

The restoration behind electrification

Lunaz electrified classics

It’s not just a case of fitting a classic car with an electric powertrain. The cars themselves are restored to ‘better-than-new’ condition, with a price tag to match. Expect to pay upwards of £350,000, depending on the original car.

What comes next? Well, a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Rolls-Royce Cloud are going through a similar process, and will soonjoin the Jaguar in the line-up. Beyond that? Watch this space…

Opinion: is electrifying classic cars wrong?

Lunaz electrified classics

There is a lot to be said for originality in classic cars, but consider this: children today, and those yet to be born, will get ever-fewer chances to see these beautiful shapes on the road.

If modifying a classic means future generations take an interest, it gets a pass from us. Lunaz founder, David Lorenz, seems to agree:

“For Luna, my daughter, not to have access to a car like the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL when she is of driving age would be a tragedy. Without building Lunaz, this is the reality she faces.”

Lunaz electrified classics

Then there’s the added usability. The ease and reliability of electric powertrains means these once-temperamental historic cars become turn-key commuters. Perhaps Lorenz explains it best:

“I wanted a car like a 1953 Jaguar to be my daily-driver. Lunaz takes a history we all love and gives it a bright future. We are innovating to create cars that are usable, dynamic and stand as the ultimate drivers’ classics.

“I want to respond to the demands of those drawn to the beauty and romance of classic cars, but reject them because the current proposition doesn’t align with their sensibilities and lifestyle requirements. Lunaz provides these people the perfect solution; a beautiful but usable, sustainable and reliable electric classic.”

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Servicing an electric car: what you need to know

electric car maintenance

While not the main issue limiting widespread adoption of electric cars, the question of how to maintain them is an interesting one.

Obviously there are no oil changes, spark plugs or fuel filters. So what exactly needs to be looked at periodically on an electric car?

Electric car maintenance costs 

electric car maintenance

Powertrain maintenance should, in theory, cost a lot less for an EV than an equivalent petrol or diesel car.

Tesla’s website lists the following procedures under ‘recommended maintenance service’: cabin air filter (every two years), high-efficiency particulate filter (three years), brake fluid test (two years), air conditioning (between two and six years) and winter care (12 months or 12,500 miles).

It also says these checks are non-essential, even for maintaining the warranty. If there’s an issue with the car, Tesla can flag the issue up remotely and prompt maintenance as and when needed.

ClickMechanic highlights that electric cars usually make brakes last longer, too, given that regenerative braking saves on disc and pad use.

Electric Volkswagen Beetle

Electric car maintenance essentials

  • Tyres
  • Brakes
  • Lights
  • Wipers
  • Tracking
  • Suspension
  • Cabin filtration

What electric cars don’t need

  • Oil changes
  • Spark plugs
  • Belt changes
  • Coolant changes
  • Air filters
  • Transmission oil changes

What about EV batteries?

Range figures of electric cars need an ‘urgent rethink’

Here’s the big question for many people. The reality is that EV batteries seem to be holding up well. The battery and drive unit in Teslas is warrantied for eight years or at least 100,000 miles. With Model 3, a minimum of 70 percent retention for battery capacity over that period is claimed. 

Early Nissan Leaf owners, some of whom bought their cars nearly 10 years ago, are reporting more than 90 percent battery capacity retention.

“It’s clear that the demand for electric vehicles is growing and drivers can benefit exponentially from this”, said Andrew Jervis, co-founder and CEO at ClickMechanic.

“From lower servicing costs to a carbon footprint reduction, cars of a purely electric nature have a great deal of appeal to drivers in the UK, and could potentially shape the automotive industry and market for years to come.”