HERE'S proof the world has gone truly mad over electric cars.
Jaguar has taken an immaculately restored and highly collectible E-Type convertible from 1968 - once described by Enzo Ferrari as the most beautiful car in the world - and put an electric motor and battery pack under its sleek nose.
Such a transplant might be considered sacrilege however it was hand-built by Jaguar's classic car division to highlight the rollout of future electric and plug-in hybrid models.
Perhaps the most bitter pill for Jaguar purists to swallow: this new electric version is faster than the original E-Type.
Jaguar claims the electric E-Type - dubbed E-Zero, for zero emissions - can sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds, about one second faster than the original version powered by a potent six-cylinder petrol engine.
The only way to distinguish the electric version is the lack of exhaust pipes, and the fact it's totally silent when running.
The interior retains its classic timber steering wheel - with no airbag, of course - but the cabin instruments have been replaced by a modern touchscreen and switches.
The electric motor and battery pack fit in the same space as the six-cylinder engine and gearbox - but weigh 46kg less. The recharging point is hidden neatly under the fuel filler flap.
Jaguar says the E-Zero E-Type has a maximum driving range of 270km and takes up to seven hours to fully charge the 40kWh lithium-ion battery.
Power from the electric motor is sent to the rear wheels; a system controller is stashed in the tiny boot.
The one-off vehicle made its debut at a "Tech Fest" at Central Saint Martin, University of the Arts in London overnight.
"Our aim with E-type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership," says Tim Hannig, the director of Jaguar Classic Car restorations, in a media statement. "We're looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market."
Jaguar says it is even considering offering the kit for sale to E-Type owners, but so far there have been no takers and it has not disclosed the price.
"We have integrated the new electric powertrain into the existing E-type structure, which means a conventional engine could be reinstalled at any point. We think this is essential as it ensures a period Jaguar remains authentic to its DNA," says Hannig.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling
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