Classic cars undergoing bespoke conversions to electric

London Electric Cars logo

London Electric Cars convert cars to electric - Credit: London Electric Cars

The image of electric vehicles (EVs) as sleek and futuristic is changing.

I also very much like the ultimate recycling notion of converting old classics to run on redundant EV running gear, including the battery packs.

When a Nissan Leaf, or any other EV gets written off, perhaps by a rear-end shunt, rather than scrap the whole car, specialist British firms - who else -have devised upcycling the entire front mechanical assembly along with the batteries to fit into old classic cars making them as eco-friendly as the donor car was.

Working out of a garage under a railway arch in Vauxhall, one company replaces the combustion engines in classic cars with electric motors and batteries that would otherwise be scrapped.

The firm currently charges around £20,000 per conversion, so not cheap.

But the company says it aims to drive that cost down to £5,000 to make it affordable for more people. 

"It's a disaster to waste the millions of old - petrol and diesel - cars on our roads, and the government's EV rebates are encouraging scrappage," they say. 

Most Read

"The government needs to offer affordable conversions on cheap old cars, to make use of the scrapped EV batteries - which have raw materials that are still sky-rocketing in price," he adds.

There are incentives to buy new EVs, but that's throwing away a whole car when you could just change the engine. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport says it is looking at the issue: "Retrofitting vehicles with batteries is an emerging market, and we're working with green travel researchers."

In the meantime, classic cars converted to electric do come with some financial incentives.

Like all classic cars - currently classified in the UK as those built before January 8, 1981 - road tax is exempt.

Classic car insurance is typically cheap, at least if the vehicle does not do much mileage.

However, if you convert your vehicle to electric power you are going to have to inform your insurance provider.

Converting an old car to run on electric produces less CO2 than making a new electric car.

Now that makes sense.