Prince Harry and Meghan Markle generated all sorts of headlines with their 600-person royal wedding this May. Some people focused on Markle’s custom Givenchy gown, while others were drawn to the choir’s take on “Stand by Me.” But for car enthusiasts, there was no topping the Jaguar convertible the pair drove to their reception at Frogmore House — and this wasn’t just any Jaguar. It was an electric-powered version of the classic E-Type model, a sports car that was dubbed “the most beautiful car in the world” upon its 1961 release.
Jaguar is now making the electric E-Type available to customers outside the British royal family. On August 24, the luxury car company announced that it was putting the electrified convertible on the market, with the first deliveries expected by the summer of 2020.
The Jaguar E-Type Zero will run on a 40kWh (kilowatt hour) battery that can last for six to seven hours per charge, reaching a range of roughly 170 miles. This updated model will also include LED headlights and a central touchscreen console, though the company is aiming to keep the concept fairly similar, so the car “drives and looks like an E-Type.”
For customers who already own an E-Type, Jaguar will offer an electric conversion service. This EV tune-up will be completely reversible, the company says, in order to preserve the authenticity of the original vehicle.
This announcement follows a warm reception not just at the royal wedding, but the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest in September 2017 and the 2018 Monterey Car Week, which just concluded this Sunday. Car and Driver, which took the E-Type Zero for a test drive at the latter event, said the updates work “surprisingly well.”
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the Jaguar E-Type Zero concept,” Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said in a press release. “Future-proofing the enjoyment of classic car ownership is a major stepping stone for Jaguar Classic.
“E-Type Zero showcases the incredible heritage of the E-Type, and the expertise and craftsmanship at Classic Works, while demonstrating Jaguar Land Rover’s dedication to creating zero emission vehicles across every part of the business, including Jaguar Classic.”
The E-Type Zero is fast, though not exactly built for speedsters. The concept that debuted at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest was able to go from 0 to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds, which is quicker than the original E-Type though still fairly slow, especially compared to Tesla’s famed 1.9 second pledge. But the company claims this was intentional.
“In order to seamlessly combine the new electric powertrain of E-Type Zero with the dynamic set-up of the original E-Type specification, we have limited the vehicle’s power output,” Hannig said in another press release. “We believe this provides the optimum driving experience.”
Jaguar has not indicated whether the mass-market E-Type Zero will boast the same acceleration rate. Another mystery? The price, which Jaguar simply claims “will follow.” It’s likely to be steep, since restored 1969 E-Types can list for nearly $250,000, but electrifying the vintage sports car could go a long way towards erasing the stereotype that EVs are ugly or unfashionable. After all, this is the “most beautiful car ever made” — and a prince drives it.