When you think about the best Classic Cars for an EV Conversion, you have many things to consider like the design, quality, price and availability of parts. In general EV Conversions are rising in popularity. It is an excellent option to revitalize an oldtimer to remove the combustion engine and replace it with a zero-emission powertrain.
What characteristics of a car make it appropriate for electric conversion? A car could technically be converted into an electric vehicle for the right price, but due to their simplicity, electric powertrains are better suited to older, more unreliable classic cars, while their nearly silent operation is beneficial to vehicles that are designed to provide a more tranquil, luxurious driving experience.
01. Volkswagen Beetle EV
Would believe if we said that the last Volkswagen Beetle, which was produced since World War II, rolled off the assembly line at Volkswagen’s plant in Puebla, Mexico, on July 30, 2003. The baby-blue car, one of 3,000 produced in total, was delivered to a museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, home of Volkswagen.
The final so-called “classic” VW Beetle was built in Puebla on that particular day; not to be confused with the newly revised Beetle that Volkswagen unveiled in 1998. (The new Beetle is based on the VW Golf and resembles the vintage model.) The famous Austrian automotive engineer Dr. Ferdinand Porsche first responded to German leader Adolf Hitler’s desire for a compact, reasonably priced passenger automobile to meet the country’s transportation needs in the middle of the 1930s, giving rise to the iconic Beetle. Hitler dubbed the finished product the KdF (Kraft-durch-Freude)-Wagen (or “Strength-Through-Joy” automobile) in honor of a Nazi-led program purportedly intended to aid Germany’s working class; it would subsequently be known by Porsche’s preferred name: Volkswagen, or “people’s car.”
German engineers do know how to make a car and the Beetle was very reliable. Not only the small engine but also the rest of the car’s chassis make it a solid start for an EV Conversion.
Everybody knows the car and it is liked by many. It has classic looks, comes in a convertible, and has a very nice drop-down subframe which makes it a breeze to work with. Thus, EV Conversion companies like Electric Classic Cars have already made plug-and-play kits for this car. This makes it a reliable, beautiful, and sort of easy and cheap EV conversion for “the people” like it was meant to be from the start.
02. Mazda Miata MX5
let’s continue with that reliability of the VW Bug and add some extreme cornering and handling fun. Yup, we arrive at a strong EV contender, the Mazda MX5 Miata.
On the surface, it doesn’t make much sense to add a large battery pack to a sports vehicle renowned for its pure, light handling. A powerful electric motor, though, would breathe fresh life into the tiny Mazda, whose engine has never been regarded as being particularly exciting.
The MX-5 has been passionately conceived and developed around a theoretical concept: to offer interaction and a sensation of speed and excitement for everyone.
The Lotus Elan of the 1960s, one of the best, served as inspiration for the MX-5, one of the most recognizable sports cars in the world. In its own convertible style, Mazda set out in 1989 to imitate the perfect steering feel, driving purity, and lightweight build of the Lotus, and the Japanese automaker has been producing them to acclaim ever since.
An MX-5 has been converted to electric power by UK-based Zero EV, which installed the batteries under the bonnet and crammed everything else into locations previously occupied by components linked to combustion engines. The 50/50 weight distribution front to rear is maintained as a result, which is good news for handling.
Like the VW Bug, the MX5 also has an EV Conversion kit available and this will make it a very nice project to take on. A solid second place in our book.
03. Landrover Defender
The Defender, although being one of the most capable off-road vehicles available, has recently undergone a makeover by Land Rover and is now positioned more as a high-end family SUV. However, individuals that require a back-to-basics 44 are frequently drawn to vintage models since they offer a more rustic allure.
The instant torque of electric motors can be a huge aid when off-roading, but these vintage Defenders aren’t recognized for their dependability, which can be fixed by switching from combustion. There are MANY defenders out there and since it could be used offroad and as a family car, it is a wise a spacious choice to start with.
The people at Electrogenic UK (and many others in the meanwhile) have a perfect EV kit for you.
With their kit, the Defender’s original gearbox is kept, but an electric motor is attached to the clutch bell housing. With 52kWh of batteries packed under the hood, the motor generates 120bhp and 235Nm of torque.
The advertised range is more than 100 miles, but additional range is possible “driving off-road or around a farm.” The included overnight 7.5kW AC charger uses a Type 2 plug for charging, although fast charging is an add-on that is available.
04. Mini Cooper
Due to its mini dimensions, the classic Mini makes the ideal city car, whereas EVs are best used in urban areas where you’ll get the most range between charges.
There are already established procedures for updating Minis, as numerous businesses provide conversions for these models. One example claims a range of up to 250 miles despite not having much room for a large battery pack.
Mini itself even made an announcement about a new program where owners of vintage Minis can ship their vehicles back to the factory to have them converted to run on electricity.
The Mini Recharged project had its origins in 2018 when the business displayed a vintage Mini that had been swapped out for an electric vehicle at the New York Auto Show. The vehicle was so well received that Mini set about creating a program where consumers could send their vehicles to the workshop to be converted.
The factory inline-four is replaced as part of the procedure with a 90 kW electric motor, which has a 62 mph acceleration time of about nine seconds. The battery has an anticipated range of about 99 miles and can be charged at a rate of 6.6 kW. A replacement instrument cluster for the central instrument cluster shows the driving temperature, selected gear, range, and speed.
05. Porsche 911
We are going full-circle with this blog post concerning Classic Cars for an EV Conversion. Once again we arrive at a creation of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. The 911 is often mocked as a flat VW Bug, but you cannot unsee that one, right?
The Porsche 911 is a tale of unwavering dedication. The rear-engined design isn’t ideal for a sports car because it makes the front wheels less likely to grip the road when cornering. However, the German company managed to make it work and produce one of the most adored cars in history.
One of the most recognizable sports vehicles in the world is the Porsche 911. The first 911 was released in 1964, and since then it has experienced constant modification while maintaining its distinctive 2+2 rear-engined design. 1989 marked the introduction of the 911’s 964 generation, which was offered in Coupé, Targa, and Cabriolet body types.
Porsche 911s continue to be a representation of engineering and performance, and notable owners include Steve McQueen, Bill Gates, David Beckham, Rihanna, and Tom Cruise.
While the design of older models has held up incredibly well over time, the performance hasn’t. A company by the name of Everatti has modified a vintage “964” 911 with an electric drivetrain that is purportedly completely reversible if the owner changes their mind.
This car didn’t arrive at Number 1 concerning Classic Cars for an EV Conversion because of the budget it takes, so therefore the Bug took first place!