When we talk about electric vehicles we usually think about the future of mobility. This isn’t accurate however; at the end of the 1800s when the automobile was still a young discovery, car producers used to try different solutions to power automobiles: vapor, fuel, and electric. The first car built by Ferdinand Porsche in 1898 was actually electric.
Soon, all of the auto companies opted for the endothermic engine powered by fuel because it had a higher range of autonomy. For almost 100 years the fuel-powered vehicle ruled the market.
“The huge amount of cars on our planet has now become a problem for pollution, so we are returning to the early solution of electric automobiles.”
European, and larger global politics, emphasize individual mobility and promote these kind of vehicles as a means of encouraging the replacement of old and high-polluting vehicles with new EV cars. Beginning this year, an interesting law was approved here in Italy: cars with endothermic engines can legally be transformed into electric ones.
So the number of cars scrapped uselessly could be reduced, and cars can more easily be outfitted with a zero-emission engine. This is an interesting solution for classic cars, which are more and more unpopular in the center of old towns because of their high pollution emissions.
I know, I’ve written many times about the incomparable sound of an old V12 Ferrari engine ― different from a charming Porsche or a Maserati one ― but generally, these types of cars are not the target of the new law. It is more practical to transform a Fiat 500 or a Mini into EV car.
“Wouldn’t it be nicer to drive around the city in an old car, with zero emissions, and an autonomy range of 100 kms? Wouldn’t it be great to have a Dune buggy for the seaside or a Citroen Mehari or a Mini Moke? Or a Citroen 2CV for the countryside?”
Electric cars should be for sure re-imagined in light of this opportunity. Some classic cars could also be reused and recycled to find a new life. Newtron Italia is a company specialized in this kind of transformation: they have developed three different solutions for the old Fiat 500, even developing a for 14 year-olds to drive.
In Germany there is the Reevolt E-Kafer, an electric 2CV to drive around cities; many new companies are focusing on these types of businesses. Will this be part of the future for our beloved classic cars?
With the “Retrofit” you can transform your classic car to an electric one, but whenever you want you can bring it back to its original condition, the original engine and gearbox can always be installed. You can even keep the original license plates and title.
With a creative approach ― with the exception of the “evergreen” classic cars ― you can retrofit those cars better and better, making them able to be used in everyday traffic.
Such cars could include charming prewar sedans such as a Fiat Balilla, a Lancia Augusta, or even a Fiat Topolino. These cars are not rare, so with this kind of transformation, you won’t damage the collectible value, and will also alleviate problems such as weak acceleration and overheating.
“Such a transformation would make these ‘oldies’ more suitable for our roads, beautifying our environment; we could revive Italian cars, true icons thanks to their shapes and innovative histories.”
The typical Italian summer brings to my mind the idea of “electrifying” all our small islands with electric classic cars. Distances are short, which is the best condition for lEV cars: how would Capri (or Ischia) be if they were crowded with 600 Jolly electrics?
Each country has its own typical EV car: in Germany, there are Beetles, while in Paris you can rent the electric 2CV. Will this be a part of the future for our classic cars?