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Sustainable Thinking: Electric Classic Car Conversions


Whether you already have a classic car or are looking to purchase one, it is common knowledge that pre-regulation cars, (built before 1973), produce more pollution annually than modern cars, despite often far lower miles these vehicles drive. And with electric chargers popping up at garages and business parks all across the country, investing in this old technology is hard to justify on sustainability grounds. That is unless you plan on turning it into an electric classic car!

The growing trend of converting traditional gasoline or diesel run engine into a sleek, new electric powered system enables you to enjoy the look and feel of a classic with the reliability and green credentials of an electric engine.

Not only can this be a great way to save money in the long run on petrol or diesel, it will also reduce your environmental impact. So, what do you need to know about electric classic cars before you invest?

What is an Electric Classic Car?

A classic car converted to electric, simply means we have removed the original engine and fuel tank, and replaced it with batteries and an electric motor system.

How do you do it?

The process is different depending on the specifics of each car. However, in general we use the existing engine fixing points to attach a clean, green electric motor. Usually, the batteries are positioned in the engine bay or split front and rear of the vehicle to maintain weight distribution. Then we add a computer system to control the motor and monitor the batteries. Lastly, a charge socket is fitted under the original fuel filler cap. This is the only external clue the car is now electric, well that and the lack of noise!

How much more sustainable is an Electric Car compared to a new car?

In addition to EVs already emitting significantly less emissions over their lifetime than conventional vehicles, climate targets are forcing countries to decarbonise their electricity generation, reducing emissions for existing EVs even further.

During research on the Nissan Leaf EV in 2019, it was found to have 3 times lower emissions per mile than a conventional car, even before accounting for the falling carbon intensity of electricity generation during the car’s lifetime (or presently, for drivers who buy ‘green’ energy). In fact, according to one study by Carbon Brief.org, EV emissions are 43% lower than diesel emissions and that “in all cases examined, electric cars have lower lifetime climate impacts than those with internal combustion engines”.

What about the comparison between a converted Electric Classic Car and a new Electric Car?

Building any car produces harmful greenhouse gases, and EVs are no different. While tailpipe emissions are zero on electric vehicles, the manufacturing process still has to be taken into account. A recent study showed that in the UK approximately 38% of greenhouse emissions resulted from the manufacturing of the vehicle.

Graph from carbonbrief.org, (https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change/).

Compare this to the far simpler process of removing one engine and replacing it with another (more sustainable) one, and it is clear which option is better for the environment! Nearly all the manufacturing process is removed, although the electric motor and battery production cost still needs to be considered. Fundamentally though, the car already exists. This is truly re-cycling existing vehicles.


Does the conversion affect the look of a classic car?

The look and feel of a classic car is, for many people, the whole reason for buying vintage. Back then, the design process was centered around aesthetics, rather than safety or emission regulations and thankfully, very little changes on the outside when converting to an electric classic car. In fact, the only external visual change is the addition of a charging port which is subtly and sympathetically done to avoid affecting the look and feel of a beautiful car.

If you have any more questions about the sustainability aspects of an electric classic car, then drop us a message at info@retroelectrics.co.uk or join us over on Instagram.

About Retro Electrics: We have a simple concept at Retroelectric. Take what is truly great about classic cars and improve upon the parts that aren’t. We’ve kept the quintessential good looks, driving characteristics and timeless designs and upgraded the engine performance, braking and handling. The result is a fusion of modern and heritage.


To get in touch and start your journey to owning your own electric classic car, email us info@retroelectrics.co.uk or call 0203 488 4915

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