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by Matt Campbell

Classic styling, modern drivetrain – that’s the concept behind the Jaguar E-Type Zero, which has debuted at the JLR Tech Fest in London.

The project was referred to as Project Dylan by the team at Jaguar Land Rover. Why? Bob Dylan, of course, because as a marker for the switch from acoustic to electric guitars, so this particular E-Type, built by the Jaguar Land Rover Classic division, marks the introduction of new-world tech to an old-school icon.

The electric drivetrain in the JLR Classic-developed E-Type is said to offer up 220kW of power, with a 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds – a full second faster than the quickest production E-Type ever made.

The powertrain consists of a lithium-ion battery pack that is close in weight to the six-cylinder engine of the XK that originally powered the E-Type. According to the company, the engineers that developed the drivetrain “ensured it will be placed in precisely the same location as the XK engine”, with the electric motor and reduction gear transmission situated behind the 40kWh battery pack, where the E-type’s gearbox traditionally sat.

There’s a new new propshaft to power the carry-over differential and final drive, but Jaguar says the weight is 46kg lower than the original E-Type.

Jaguar claims the E-Type Zero has “real-world” range of about 270 kilometres on a charge, which is able to be charged overnight (six to seven hours) depending on the power source. The charging plug socket is where the original fuel filler neck was positioned.

The company reckons the mode to adapt its heritage products with modern-day tech effectively “future-proofs one of the world’s most famous cars”. This particular interpretation is based on a Series 1.5 Roadster – and despite gaining a high-tech new powertrain, it retains the car’s structure, including suspension and brakes “simplifying the conversion and homologation”.

The company says it “drives, handles, rides and brakes like an original E-Type” and that “front-rear weight distribution is unchanged”.

The drivetrain isn’t the only part of the car to have seen some modernisation, with a digital instrument cluster adorning the dashboard which is inspired by the original E-Type design, and there’s a new centre console in modern aluminium trim, new gear selector and a new media system. It also sports LED headlights to help with efficiency.

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth said the E-Type Zero brings history and the future together.

“Breathtaking design with electric power for the first time. We’re not just preparing for the future, but delivering it,” said Speth.

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