Oxfordshire firm Electrogenic is bidding to get more people excited about EVs with a brace of 'world first' conversions, a Triumph Stag and Morgan 4/4 that use battery power and manual gearboxes. Officially the first electric Stag – authenticated by the owner’s club, no less – and almost certainly the first for a 4/4, the work further demonstrates how even some of the most ‘traditional’ offerings can be adapted for a tailpipe-free future. It seems nothing is too old for a battery pack, with this Stag hailing from 1976, and the 4/4 1957.
Of course, the news might frustrate as many people as it impresses, what with these being two resolutely popular British classics – not to mention the 3.0-litre V8 which had to make way in the Stag. But for those who want to continue enjoying their cars in urban environments, these conversions potentially make sense. Because let’s face it, even if emissions limits don’t currently block classics from city centres (they’re exempt from London’s ULEZ), you wouldn't bet on the situation staying that way forever everywhere.
Clearly, Electrogenic’s creations appease these people as much as they do those wanting to experience the style and aura of classic motoring, with a simplified, less oily setup. With 107hp and 173lb ft of torque going to rear wheels through the Stag’s original four-speed manual gearbox, there’s plenty of potential for fun. Albeit without the burble and whiff of a V8; here, there’s a 37kWh battery in its place. The space left by the fuel tank and spare wheel is occupied, too. The conversion uses a Type 2 charger and offers an approximate range of 150 miles of range.
The same ‘Hyper9’ high-voltage brushless motor setup is deployed in the Morgan, with identical outputs to the Stag, with the 4/4’s original manual gearbox also retained for three-pedal driving. Again, range is rated at about 150 miles per charge, in a car that might be more widely liked because it only traded a four-cylinder for the battery-powered layout. Also, the new power output is more closely aligned with the original engine’s 114hp; by contrast, the Stag has been ‘downgraded’ by 38hp. Although the instant delivery of EV torque probably compensates for that.
That said, speed isn’t the point of these Electrogenic conversions, nor has it been the point of earlier classic conversions by firms like Lunaz. This is all about keeping vintage vehicles on the roads in a world where attitudes are clearly changing. To some, the operation of a literal plug-and-play vehicle, which doesn’t require constant tinkering and frequent servicing, will be a Godsend, and the fact these cars are electric is second to that change in usability. Although don’t expect a quick saving in running costs. Pricing isn’t out, but Electrogenic’s earlier classic Beetle conversion cost about £35k, excluding the car.
“Converting older cars like these to electric power is about using modern technology to bring out the best characteristics in the cars,” said Steve Drummond, director and co-founder of Electrogenic. “For us this means increasing power within the capabilities of the original vehicle, optimising weight distribution and not using too many batteries to keep the handling crisp and precise. Our proprietary electronics integrate the batteries and motor into a seamless system, making the cars as safe as possible.”
Obviously, it’ll depend which side of the EV fence you sit on as how you feel about classic conversions in the first place, but Electrogenic is adamant that it tries to stay faithful to each car's original design - including redeploying things like gauges. Switching out the engine is certainly the hardest alteration to get onboard with, but if it keeps classics on the road (and out of the garage), it's easy to make a case for a burgeoning trend.
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