People Are Converting Classic Cars Into Electric Vehicles and There’s Nothing Cooler

Eleanor Mustang

Ah, classic cars. Surely there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than to cruise along a coastal road in a stunning classic automobile, listening to your favorite tunes.

But like the moments before that perfect Instagram pic, the reality is often rather different.

That’s because even the most well-maintained classics can be temperamental machines. Years of wear and tear can play havoc on the electrics, leaving you smacking the dashboard to get the radio working again. The decades old engine will be tired and wail loudly at every enthusiastic prod of the throttle. That’s all assuming you manage to get it started in the first place.

Surely there’s a better way to enjoy classic motoring without the smelly old exhaust fumes that follow you like an unpaid tax bill on every journey. Well, the good news is that there are dozens of companies that will revitalize your classic car with an electric powertrain.

Purists may say that this is tantamount to treason, but if it means that we get to drive our old classics that much longer, then it can only be a good thing. Especially when the classic car in question didn’t have the most characterful engine in the first place.

Here we have a list of classics that have grace and style in spades, but engines that simply didn’t do them any favors. Some companies are already offering EV conversions for these vehicles, and it couldn’t have come soon enough.

DeLorean DMC

DeLorean DMC-12
Image Credit: Grenex – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

This iconic classic had the looks of a supercar and the performance of a shopping trolley thanks to its underpowered 130 horsepower V6 motor. Achieving 88mph required a runway and following wind.

What the Doc should have fitted when he came back from the future was a Tesla motor and battery pack. Instead we had to wait for US-based Ampere EV to come up with its own EV powertrain that gives the DeLorean the go to match its looks.

Citroen DS

1955 Citroen DS
Image Credit: Klugschnacker – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Released in 1955, the DS was packed with advanced tech like hydraulic suspension (it could even drive on three wheels), front-wheel-drive, disc brakes and a monocoque body construction. Citroen then dropped the ball completely when it fitted a rusty old boat motor to it.

Yet the futuristic design still turns heads, and an electric motor and battery pack would turn it into an awesome, daily useable classic. EV company Electrogenics agrees and already offers an EV conversion for these cars. Not only do they retain the hydraulic bits but the process is entirely reversible, too.

Volkswagen Bus

Riga,Latvia - May 28,2016: Green old Volkswagen bus decorated for wedding
Image Credit: Zelma Brezinska /

The original Volkswagen Bus became the vehicular expression of the free living, free loving way of the ‘60s. But it’s Beetle-derived engines were slower than a hipster barista on a go slow. The solution is of course an EV powertrain. Not only would it solve the speed issue, but the zero-emissions engine would be just what the hippies wish they had all those years ago.

eClassics is just one of many companies offering EV conversions for these old buses, and even Volkswagen is launching the ID.Buzz EV in a few months.

Rolls-Royce – Any Rolls-Royce

Rolls Royce Wraith
Image Credit: Rolls Royce.

When it comes to sheer driving opulence, Rolls-Royce has been at the top of the hill for decades. Their entire ethos is to create the most silent and effortless ride technically possible. Sometimes the silence comes from the fact that the ancient V12 engines just refuse to start.

You see, reliability has always been some way down the priority list for the master craftsmen of these fine automobiles. The perfect solution is to dump the old gas-powered lump, and fit a silent and smooth electric powertrain. The end result? The reliability, smoothness and performance of a modern car, combined with the stunning looks of a classic Rolls.

EV company Lunaz has already turned their hand to some great British classics including Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins and Bentleys.


Eleanor Mustang
Image Credit: More Cars/WikiCommons.

No, not that sweet old granny next door, but the Shelby ‘Eleanor’ Mustang that tried so hard to leave Nicholas Cage stranded as he made his gravity-defying escape in Gone in 60-seconds.

Now the V8 motor under the hood is certainly a sweet power unit, but if you really want to outrun a police chopper then you’ll want the 536 horsepower EV conversion offered by UK-based Charge Cars. 0-60 in 3.9-seconds is not too shabby.

Classic EVs Are the Future

Whether you send your classic car off to get a turnkey EV conversion, or decide to do it yourself with an off-the-shelf conversion kit, there is no doubt that electrifying classics is breathing new life into cars that would otherwise become static reminders of a bygone era.

Author: John Tallodi

Title: Freelance Motoring Journalist

Expertise: Classic and modern cars


John is an avid gear head who spends most of his time either reading, writing, driving or fixing cars. He has worked for several automotive media outlets over the years on everything from obscure classic cars to modern machinery and the latest in EV tech. While he loves just about anything on four wheels, he has an overriding passion for '80s and '90s cars which stems from a childhood absorbing car magazines from this era.