ALL SHOCKED UP (WITH APOLOGIES TO ELVIS)
Can I have a bit of a gripe? Of course I can; at my age I’ve given up worrying when someone calls me a grumpy old man. Electric cars have been causing me to grumble of late. Not electric cars per se you understand, but the way that means of propulsion is being applied.
Yes, a purely battery car will mean zero emissions on the street, but what about the energy used to generate the electricity to charge the batteries? And the need for exotic minerals for the battery, and disposing of old batteries, and all those charging points we’ll need, not to mention the piddling short range of most vehicles on offer at the moment and the increase in purchase price?
To my mind, the way things are at the moment we’re a long way off electric utopia and heading down a blind alley to obsolescence – to be rescued ultimately by the fuel cell I think. Until that day there’s a lot of development still to come from the internal combustion engine, mark my words.
But that’s not what I’m on about here. I can (just) see the point in Porsche producing a totally new all-electric car – the Taycan as the Mission E has now been named – because…well, because they need to keep pace with everybody else. What I don’t want is an all-electric 911, or Cayman, or Boxster. These are true Porsches, in the true spirit of the marque that can be traced right back to 1948. Rear (or mid) combustion-engine cars offering excitement and quality of driving that few other makes can provide that should not be tampered with.
What’s got me worried? Here’s a couple of examples: the all-electric E-type ‘Zero’ now offered by Jaguar’s Heritage division at £300k-plus, and the battery MGB sold by Midlands company RBW and previewed at the Classic Motor Show which retails at a lower but equally eye-watering (for an MGB) £110k.
How can anybody want to throw out that glorious twincam, in-line six, designed by engineer Walter Hassan whilst on bomb watch duty on the roof of Jaguar’s Coventry factory during World War Two? Or, humble though it may be, the burbling BMC ‘B’ series unit modestly powering the most successful, in production terms, British sports car ever? Imagine a 911 without the unforgettable clatter of a flat six!
Both the Jaguar and MG are clever and doubtless fine pieces of engineering – RBW has elicited the assistance of technology leaders Zytec and Hyperdrive – but I can’t help wishing they’d left the originals as they were. Likewise, Porsche, make the new Taycan if you must but please, please leave the 911 as Ferry intended.
It’s a classic car, but not as we know it. Digital dash and a lack of gearlever gives the game away in this electrically powered MGB. A snip at £110,000