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Electrified classics - an interesting debate for and against


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#1 mariner

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 02:59

The BBC has covered the retro electrification (ugh) of classic cars , as has a UK "reality" series.

 

https://www.bbc.com/...siness-58578061

 

The current prices seem very high to me but I suppose its early days.

 

On the one hand I can see the petrol/oil stench of the average classic leaving a show as risking the public affection for them , on the other hand in terms of fossil fuel savings its virtually nothing. 

 

Mind you the idea of a classic with Tesla acceleration is very tempting!



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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 07:15

This bit caught my eye:

 

Plus, classic car insurance is typically cheap, at least if the vehicle does not do much mileage. However, rates may rise sharply if you tell your insurance provider that there is now a Tesla engine under the bonnet that has made the vehicle significantly quicker.

Well, yes. But if you don't tell them you'd run the risk of having your insurance invalidated due to undeclared modifications.

 

https://www.allcarle...-car-insurance/



#3 absinthedude

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 07:45

While I am sure it is far less efficient than recent petrol cars, I hope that is the only time I read of a Morris Minor referred to as "a gas guzzler". 

 

£20k to make an EV with a range of 40 miles out of a classic car...hmm....I thought the EV brigade were trying to persuade us that range anxiety wasn't a thing?

 

I tend to be of the school of thought that old tech should be kept in as close to original condition as possible....however I do applaud the person who is trying to do something with written off EV's to make more use of the battery and drivetrain....and the whole project does show a certain level of ingenuity.  I am reminded of the old cars in Back To the Future being converted to hover-cars. 

 

And I am mindful that just because I get a kick out of seeing classic and vintage cars in something close to original condition, and personally get a kick out of using old tech in the modern world (did you know the 1899 Folding Pocket Kodak has a frame *exactly* the same dimensions as most smart phone screens?) that for some others the desired course is to keep old tech relevant by constantly upgrading it. Trigger's broom does come to  mind but how many classic cars have been gradually upgraded during their lifetimes.



#4 Bloggsworth

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 09:18

If you want an electric car, buy one.



#5 Charlieman

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 09:28

....however I do applaud the person who is trying to do something with written off EV's to make more use of the battery and drivetrain....

I quite like the Cuban classics which have been converted to Lada power. The practice seems eminently sensible to me.

 

I don't entirely understand mariner's description of ICE engine stench. The fumes from modern vehicles with defective catalysers or NOx filters are appalling and an engine in poor shape producing a cloud of smoke is reprehensible in many ways. However the castor oil scent from a grid of classic bikes is heavenly to me. 



#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 09:44

If you want an electric car, buy one.

Or, if you're Jay Leno and can afford it, upgrade your classic by putting a Tesla power train in your 1914 Detroit Electric.

 

https://electrek.co/...tric-car-video/

 

He also owns a Baker Electric.



#7 Ben1445

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 09:54

I think this early-stages, true-classic conversion stuff is similar to hot-rodding with old Model-Ts (or similar) of post-war years. It's not a particularly practical or cost effective thing, more of an enthusiasts hobby...  but it's also something which helps build a skills economy around the technology and the practice. 

 

If it does become feasible to get a practical range (jury's out on what this really is imo) out of commonly available second hand models with conversion kits for around £5k (as indicated as an aim in the BBC article) then I don't see why it couldn't be a realistic day-to-day option. But it depends on what the new and used car markets are like over the next couple of decades, I think. 

 

If in 2028 (for example), spending £7k could get you a ten year old Renault Zoe which can offer a more practicality than a EV-converted ten year old Ford Fiesta for the same price (e.g. £2k purchase + £5k conversion)... you'd likely pick the Zoe. Or visa versa, if the figures are reversed. 

 

Back to the main topic though, I'd only convert a true-classic if the engine had expired completely for whatever reason. No need to rip out a perfectly good example of history in my opinion, but if you've got an old classic chassis with written off engine... hey, why not? 


Edited by Ben1445, 04 October 2021 - 10:05.


#8 68targa

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 10:17

I thought the whole point of buying and owning a 'classic car' was to preserve its integrity and use it for the nostalgic memories it brings (or not!). The only reason to convert it to a sparky car is when fossil fuels are no longer available.



#9 FLB

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 11:25



#10 absinthedude

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 11:31

That is a good point about ripping out a perfectly good engine....and it's not like the world is short of Morris Minor engines, surely?

 

Back when my dad was still around he owned a Morgan F2 with Ford sidevalve engine (E93a I believe)....and when he wore one out, he simply bought another and fitted it over a weekend. Though having purchased the vehicle somewhat modified in 1964, some twenty years later when he finally got around to making it road worthy again he decided to restore it to close to the condition in which it left the factory....though even a visit to the Morgan factory to view the original documents relating to this three wheeler from 1936 could only ascertain how many doors it had and the colour scheme. Nobody was actually sure it even had a speedometer when new. In the end the 12V electrics were the only concession to anything like modern technology that he "upgraded" it with. Having reliable lights was quite important! He did fit hydraulic brakes....from a 1940s Morris! 

 

I see ingenuity in the chap figuring out these conversions. But it doesn't sound practical. Likely a converted ICE car will never work on electricity as well as an electric car....not that they are all that useful if one actually drives any distance....a fun project for those who like that sort of thing....and I say that perfectly aware that many think the folk who drive around in 60 year old cars are strange. I'm considered quite mad for shooting B&W film on vintage cameras at my local music club....well...I was, until a musician offered me a considerable sum of money for one of my photos to adorn his album cover...so who knows, maybe something will come of this. But I'd rather see a ratty 15 year old Fiesta converted than a beautiful Morris Minor. That would also be somewhat relevant to the idea that in the relatively near future, owners of older but perfectly sound cars might want them converted rather than buy a whole new car. 



#11 BRG

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 11:33

I don't see a problem with the more common older cars.  EVing a Mini, a Morris Minor, MG B, 2CV, Renault 4 and so on keeps that car on the road and may even give it a useful second life.EVing a Ferrari GTO or a Muira would be something calling for a firing squad.

 

The balance lies somewhere in between and we will never agree exactly where. And if it means older cars can still be seen after the ICE has been declared a crime against humanity and banned totally, then that would be a Good Thing.



#12 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 12:12

It was once regarded as sacrilege (by some enthusiasts) when the best thing to do with an Aston Martin DB2 was really to wrench out its unreliable Aston engine and replace it with a Jaguar XK unit, or with a Triumph Stag to wrench out its under-developed and unreliable Triumph V8 engine and replace it with a Rover V8 - but now we have this sparky-sparky nonsense threatening all classics...

 

It might well seem a good idea (to some) but am I alone in being immensely suspicious that 'the future' lies not with electric cars at all, but with hydrogen or some other as yet relatively unexplored motive source...?

 

Above all beware that which here-today/gone-tomorrow politicians may advocate.  It's almost always short-term, self-serving, under-researched, ill-advised - and sometimes actually corrupt - BS.

 

I suspect the above applies in spades to tinkering with classic - and so-called 'classic' - car power sources.

 

Colour me sceptical.    :rolleyes:

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 04 October 2021 - 12:14.


#13 John Ginger

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 12:27

 

It might well seem a good idea (to some) but am I alone in being immensely suspicious that 'the future' lies not with electric cars at all, but with hydrogen or some other as yet relatively unexplored motive source...?

 

 

 

That's about my take on it too  



#14 AJCee

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 12:45

Like Absinthedude the recycling of the EV powerplants seems a very commendable idea. I have no idea of the commercial viability of the idea but would it be feasible to target these conversions to a small range of more available, more recently contemporary, chassis?

As far as fitting them to classics goes, well it’s just an ‘upcycled’ item. I’m not sure I would want one, but I’m sure some people would buy them.

And yes, electric may very well be a interim technology.

#15 opplock

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 12:47

It was once regarded as sacrilege (by some enthusiasts) when the best thing to do with an Aston Martin DB2 was really to wrench out its unreliable Aston engine and replace it with a Jaguar XK unit, or with a Triumph Stag to wrench out its under-developed and unreliable Triumph V8 engine and replace it with a Rover V8 - but now we have this sparky-sparky nonsense threatening all classics...

 

It might well seem a good idea (to some) but am I alone in being immensely suspicious that 'the future' lies not with electric cars at all, but with hydrogen or some other as yet relatively unexplored motive source...?

 

Above all beware that which here-today/gone-tomorrow politicians may advocate.  It's almost always short-term, self-serving, under-researched, ill-advised - and sometimes actually corrupt - BS.

 

I suspect the above applies in spades to tinkering with classic - and so-called 'classic' - car power sources.

 

Colour me sceptical.    :rolleyes:

 

DCN

 

 

You're definitely not alone. It isn't long since the "experts" were urging us to buy diesels. I ignored them. On my only visit to the Glastonbury festival in 1986 we were bombarded for 3 days with propaganda from CND and the environmentalists urging attendees to "support the miners" because "we need coal to replace the nuclear power stations when we shut them down". The bizarre thing was that this was more than a year after Arthur Scargill lost his war. 

 

I volunteer to join the firing squad for anyone who butchers a GTO.  



#16 absinthedude

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 13:37

 

 

It might well seem a good idea (to some) but am I alone in being immensely suspicious that 'the future' lies not with electric cars at all, but with hydrogen or some other as yet relatively unexplored motive source...?

 

 

I often ask a question of my more electric minded friends....."Can you show me an EV which can do everything my very ordinary 10 year old Skoda Octavia can do"....and thus far, not one can. It is not for want of trying, the big car manufacturers have made attempts for over a century to design and market a practical EV. Progress has been made but there's still no electric car that can go from East Anglia to Cornwall, towing a small trailer and a 500 litre boot of camping equipment in one go.....or even with one 15 minute stop. 

 

On Friday last week I was aboard a hydrogen powered London bus. Other than the floor being higher than most, it seemed not much different for the passenger at least. The drive was quieter and there was a good artificial breeze blowing from the air circulation system - no doubt good in these times of plague - and USB sockets! But most of all, it seemed to accelerate and move in the manner of a good diesel bus. 



#17 68targa

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 15:44

 

It might well seem a good idea (to some) but am I alone in being immensely suspicious that 'the future' lies not with electric cars at all, but with hydrogen or some other as yet relatively unexplored motive source...?

 

Above all beware that which here-today/gone-tomorrow politicians may advocate.  It's almost always short-term, self-serving, under-researched, ill-advised - and sometimes actually corrupt - BS.

 

 

DCN

Your're definately not alone  on this one.  Electric vehicles seem to me to be a short term 'fix' for the PC brigade and politcians. By far the most interesting development I have seen recently is Porsche/Esso/Mobil developing a man made zero emission fuel for ICE use. I belive it was used for all of the Porsche Supercup races this year (or is it next ?)  as a test.



#18 Michael Ferner

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 16:58

You can mutter all you like about EVs being "short term fixes" and that the furure lies with something else entirely (which is, in all likelihood, correct on both counts), but ignoring advice from "the environmentalists" has brought us to this point where it will be EVs or nothing at all within very short time, maybe ten years or less. Whether you like it or not, internal combustion engines are going the way of the dinosaurs, and it's a good thing, too, for anyone who loves his children and grandchildren. "Short-term, self-serving, under-researched, ill-advised"? That's a perfect dscription for most of the old gits posting on threads like these - "here-today/gone-tomorrow", indeed! And the world will be a better place for it...



#19 RTH

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 17:18

It was once regarded as sacrilege (by some enthusiasts) when the best thing to do with an Aston Martin DB2 was really to wrench out its unreliable Aston engine and replace it with a Jaguar XK unit, or with a Triumph Stag to wrench out its under-developed and unreliable Triumph V8 engine and replace it with a Rover V8 - but now we have this sparky-sparky nonsense threatening all classics...

 

It might well seem a good idea (to some) but am I alone in being immensely suspicious that 'the future' lies not with electric cars at all, but with hydrogen or some other as yet relatively unexplored motive source...?

 

Above all beware that which here-today/gone-tomorrow politicians may advocate.  It's almost always short-term, self-serving, under-researched, ill-advised - and sometimes actually corrupt - BS.

 

I suspect the above applies in spades to tinkering with classic - and so-called 'classic' - car power sources.

 

Colour me sceptical.    :rolleyes:

 

DCN

Yes indeed. These conversions can be very expensive indeed as the car often needs  quite a bit of refurbishing plus what is usually a one off design process and of course batteries and motors etc are very expensive with months of labour . Conversions are I believe  in the range of £40,000 - £100,000 at the end of the process. What currently makes cars of say 40 years old plus valuable are originality, history provenance and condition which of course is lost with conversion . Battery packs are now up to 800 volts need cooling systems because of instability   can  start combusting with a chemical fire which even fire brigades cannot put out until the material is fully burned away. In  electrically powered new car the battery packs are in the car's floor under the seats . In conversions they are often placed where the engine was. I would not want to be in one having a front end collision.



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#20 mariner

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 18:48

I suspect the arguments about classics polluting etc are more emotional than environmentally significant as classics do very low mileage. However the same argument applies to all the 600bhp+ supercars on sale which probably do even les annual milage and have catalytic converters.. Nonetheless their manufacturers are tripping over them selves to go electric even " light is best" Lotus.

 

So whilst turning Classics io EV power may not be the best solution things like using E85 ethanol fuels or updating engines to later emissions controlled versions or even installing the fuel injection systems disguised as Weber carbs might may a wise way of heading off a backlash..



#21 68targa

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 19:08

You can mutter all you like about EVs being "short term fixes" and that the furure lies with something else entirely (which is, in all likelihood, correct on both counts), but ignoring advice from "the environmentalists" has brought us to this point where it will be EVs or nothing at all within very short time, maybe ten years or less. Whether you like it or not, internal combustion engines are going the way of the dinosaurs, and it's a good thing, too, for anyone who loves his children and grandchildren. "Short-term, self-serving, under-researched, ill-advised"? That's a perfect dscription for most of the old gits posting on threads like these - "here-today/gone-tomorrow", indeed! And the world will be a better place for it...

Old git or not everyone sees EVs as a panacea to all our emission issues but there are other avenues to explore. There are zillions of ICEs running around, why not explore an alternative fuel that keeps these running with zero pollutants especially when precious metals to make batteries appear to be limited ?  There ought be alternatives to explore & develop for the worlds future needs.



#22 Bloggsworth

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 20:41

If you wish to electrify a Morris Minor, 100E Ford Popular, Standard 8 or 10, then that's fine by me; but bastardising an E Type, MkII, or Ferrari F40 adds nothing, its just a rich man's idea of virtue signalling and is to be abhored.



#23 Michael Ferner

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 21:47



Old git or not everyone sees EVs as a panacea to all our emission issues but there are other avenues to explore. There are zillions of ICEs running around, why not explore an alternative fuel that keeps these running with zero pollutants especially when precious metals to make batteries appear to be limited ?  There ought be alternatives to explore & develop for the worlds future needs.

 

There was. There is no longer. We wasted too much time with pointless discussions like these. Sorry chaps, your childhood is over, give back your toys so that those who are really young these days will have a future. And no more argument, either - you've blown it too many times.



#24 10kDA

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Posted 04 October 2021 - 23:03

I just found out the "blocking" function works quite nicely. First time I've had to use it. Excellent!



#25 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 05:56

You can mutter all you like about EVs being "short term fixes" and that the furure lies with something else entirely (which is, in all likelihood, correct on both counts), but ignoring advice from "the environmentalists" has brought us to this point where it will be EVs or nothing at all within very short time, maybe ten years or less. Whether you like it or not, internal combustion engines are going the way of the dinosaurs, and it's a good thing, too, for anyone who loves his children and grandchildren. "Short-term, self-serving, under-researched, ill-advised"? That's a perfect dscription for most of the old gits posting on threads like these - "here-today/gone-tomorrow", indeed! And the world will be a better place for it...

 

Perfectly reasonable point somewhat unreasonably expressed.  

 

My viewpoint is indeed that 'the world' has to change, the age of the oil/petrol burning ICE is past, but the tiny percentage of ICE 'classic' cars which might survive could perfectly reasonably be preserved 'as is' without posing any substantial continuing threat to my five much-loved grandchildren's future well being.

 

My issue is purely with the EV route being so loudly advocated as a panacea, whereas the environmental cost of EV manufacture - electrical generation for recharging - and especially of scrappage/disposal, is itself horrendous yet too readily ignored by most of those advocating what I feel (and am advised) can only be a relatively short-term fix.  Electrics lost in the 1890s-19zeroes.  And rival alternative-fuel projects are now gathering pace...

 

The establishment, profit-desperate industry, the media and the air-headed may well be hitching their cart to the wrong horse. Perhaps this is clearer?

 

DCN



#26 Michael Ferner

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 07:30

Reasonable is as reasonable does. When you drive a car against a wall, it might be deemed "reasonable" to complain about reverse gear not being particularly attractive, not being as fast as third or fourth gear and not as jolly comfortable because you have to twist your neck to see where you're going etc. etc. But it's also completely irrelevant.

Everybody who lives in (relative) comfort fears change, it's only natural. But not every change is bad, in fact change often proves to be the solution to many problems we didn't even realize we have. To just complain about change because "it is change" is plainly annoying, especially when that change is inevitable.

The "EV route" is not advocated because it's particularly attractive, but because it's the only option that's left. Rival alternative-fuel projects are gathering pace? Only in the phantasy of those who abhor change so much they'd rather close their eyes than face reality. Even if it were true, it would take decades for them to reach the level that EVs are at now. Our options now are exactly two: use electric vehicles, or our feet.

So, let’s stop complaining about a "short term fix" that is the result of too much complacency and not enough courage and resolve on the part of all of us. We're the generations that blew it (multiple times), and we're the ones who have an obligation to fix it for the next generations. And a short term fix is the least we can offer, and better than no fix at all, or yet another empty promise about "projects that are gathering pace".


Edited by Michael Ferner, 05 October 2021 - 08:14.


#27 Ben1445

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 08:22

I personally think think this long-read article is really good at putting the now expected shift to EVs in historical context. 
 
The lost history of the electric car – and what it tells us about the future of transport
https://www.theguard...uture-transport
 
EVs aren't a panacea? Too right. Nothing is. And that includes the combustion car: 
 

"Much of the early enthusiasm for the automobile stemmed from its promise to solve the problems associated with horse-drawn vehicles, including noise, traffic congestion and accidents. That cars failed on each of these counts was tolerated because they offered so many other benefits, including eliminating the pollution – most notably, horse manure – that had dogged urban thoroughfares for centuries."

 
By the late 19th century, with decades of growth from the Industrial Revolution, horse traffic had become a real and unsustainable problem in populated areas. I think it's entirely reasonable to say that the same cycle is happening again but with combustion vehicles, whereby another century of growth sees the technology which solved one pollution issue now a major contributor to one of its own. 
 

In recent years [the transition from horses to cars is cited as an] example of how simple technological fixes to seemingly intractable problems will show up just when they are needed – so there is no need to worry about climate change, for instance. Yet it should instead be seen as a cautionary tale in the other direction: that what looks like a quick fix today may well end up having far-reaching and unintended consequences tomorrow. The switch from horses to cars was not the neat and timely technological solution that it might seem, because cars changed the world in all kinds of unanticipated ways – from the geography of cities to the geopolitics of oil – and created many problems of their own.

 

The parallels are strong, in my view. The evidence now overwhelmingly suggests that EVs will happen as part of the solution to our transportation pollution woes, just as automobiles did a century or so ago. They will help solve one issue but inevitably create a whole load more which will eventually need addressing, just the way using horses and then combustion vehicles have before them. They too will surely be replaced by something else in the long run. 

 

I don't think there's anything particularly unprecedented going on here, except for perhaps the urgency of the need of a solution to the climate crisis. Aside from that it is largely just history repeating itself, in my view. 


Edited by Ben1445, 06 October 2021 - 17:12.


#28 F1matt

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 08:48

I suspect the arguments about classics polluting etc are more emotional than environmentally significant as classics do very low mileage. However the same argument applies to all the 600bhp+ supercars on sale which probably do even les annual milage and have catalytic converters.. Nonetheless their manufacturers are tripping over them selves to go electric even " light is best" Lotus.

 

So whilst turning Classics io EV power may not be the best solution things like using E85 ethanol fuels or updating engines to later emissions controlled versions or even installing the fuel injection systems disguised as Weber carbs might may a wise way of heading off a backlash..

 

 

This is probably a case of the supercar manufacturers trying to stay relevant. In 10 years time a Ferrari or Lamborghini is going to have the same battery pack as a Tesla or a Nissan so how will they justify their obscene pricing? They probably won't which will lead to some of them not surviving, some of them may become a model line such as Maybach for some of the big manufacturers but many will disappear. 



#29 Charlieman

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 10:45

The "EV route" is not advocated because it's particularly attractive, but because it's the only option that's left. Rival alternative-fuel projects are gathering pace?

To support Michael's argument, let's review the alternatives. Some of which, owing to their age, qualify as TNF historical topics.

 

Hydrogen is a great potential fuel for ICEs and fuel cell vehicles. Compressed or liquid hydrogen is a bit scary (too many memories of newsreels showing airship disasters) but technology has moved on. Forty years ago, there was research into using metal hydrides as solid storage for hydrogen fuel but it is no longer fashionable. The main reason why hydrogen hasn't taken off (pun unintended) is that it is derived from fossil fuels or electrolysis, so what is the point?

 

Ammonia, wood gas and other alternative ICE fuels -- we're back to the familiar problem of emissions, but these fuels may be useful in developing countries. They might even be retrofitted to petrol or diesel vehicles. Remember that half of the planet by area still doesn't have a petrol station within 50 miles.

 

MGU-H to use F1 jargon, improving the efficiency of ICE engines by using a turbine to generate electricity or kinetic energy, was first patented 100 years ago. Thanks to millions of pounds expenditure by four F1 engine manufacturers, we can safely say that it is a dead end for now. It provides an incredible improvement in ICE efficiency but we are a long way from building the technology cheaply.

 

Fuel cells are way back technology but we again come across the fuel source problem. Growing crops to create alcohol is ludicrously inefficient (negative efficiency in a lot of places) and hydrogen has its own problems. Great technology to power a research lab in the middle of nowhere but not for commuter traffic.

 

So we are stuck with EVs for now. Demand for batteries will kill off Lithium based cells -- alternatives are genuinely "gathering pace" -- which require destructive mining; hopefully the new tech will arrive before crude dredgers get stuck into seabed mining. Meanwhile, let's get used to wind turbines and solar panel farms as a cost for personal travel and efficient goods delivery. It may be the price for (relatively harmless) ICE motor sport, classic cars and boats and planes, vintage locomotives and lawnmowers.

 

Note for tree huggers: The unaddressed combustion engine problem is marine heavy oil fuel -- the residue of thick hydrocarbon, dirt and random substances left over when crude oil is broken down to make fuel, plastics, fertiliser etc. In order to burn heavy oil, it has to be heated to make it sufficiently fluid to be injected into a turbine and it has to be washed/filtered to remove the rubbish, the rubbish being dumped into the sea. Commercial shipping uses a lot of it. 



#30 BRG

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 11:10

 

There was. There is no longer. We wasted too much time with pointless discussions like these. Sorry chaps, your childhood is over, give back your toys so that those who are really young these days will have a future. And no more argument, either - you've blown it too many times.

I fear that Greta Thunberg has hacked Michael Ferner's account. 



#31 Ben1445

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 12:10

Note for tree huggers: The unaddressed combustion engine problem is marine heavy oil fuel -- the residue of thick hydrocarbon, dirt and random substances left over when crude oil is broken down to make fuel, plastics, fertiliser etc. In order to burn heavy oil, it has to be heated to make it sufficiently fluid to be injected into a turbine and it has to be washed/filtered to remove the rubbish, the rubbish being dumped into the sea. Commercial shipping uses a lot of it. 

An important point, in my view - I'm personally very keen to see shipping receiving more attention and scrutiny over its emissions. I do like various projects which aim to make more use of the wind with sails or kites, such as these sail cargo ships which are set to start launching next year or this plan for a telescopic-sail assisted car transporter.

 

I think it's probably an appropriate note for The Nostalgia Forum that I do think many of the solutions to today's issues can be found in the way things used to be done in the past. I make active efforts to cut down on my own plastic and food waste and I often find that the most helpful resources/methods are a good 50-100 years old, if not older. I think nostalgia and 'clinging to the past' are often seen as inherent enemies of successful climate action, which I would consider to be a misplaced conflict. To me, nostalgia (direct or inherited) has demonstrated itself as potentially very powerful, unifying tool ... It's clinging to the present which is the danger. 

 

Maybe retrofitting some run-of-the-mill classic cars* to EV is part of that, maybe it isn't. But in any case, think there's probably significant merit to be found in classic car designs of old which could be repackaged into future vehicles trying to lower their overall climate impact. 

 

 

*which is, of course, a moving target in that a car from 1980 today is roughly as old as a 1960 car was in the year 2000. 



#32 Odseybod

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 12:27

I think that the big attraction of EVs for politicians is that the price hike to make up for missing oil fuel tax revenues can be shared across all those who use electricity, not just car drivers. Hence the big push to convert us (in the UK at least) from gas to electrically powered air source heat pumps for home heating.

 

I found this an interesting take on the hydrogen alternative to batteries, at least for larger vehicles:

 

 

 



#33 Michael Ferner

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 12:54

I fear that Greta Thunberg has hacked Michael Ferner's account. 

 

I take that as a compliment, I really do. Miss Thunberg is one of the most inspriring persons I have lived to see yet, which is saying some. And courageous as hell. I just wish there were more people heeding her words.



#34 Charlieman

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 13:04

I think that the big attraction of EVs for politicians is that the price hike to make up for missing oil fuel tax revenues can be shared across all those who use electricity, not just car drivers. Hence the big push to convert us (in the UK at least) from gas to electrically powered air source heat pumps for home heating.

I rather think that politicians are so ignorant of science and economics that they don't have a big plan. There's an awful lot of muddled thinking: encourage EVs by cutting road usage fees, annual licence fees, purchase kickbacks and reduced rate VAT on domestic electricity used for charging; who pays for essentially middle class motoring? I love the idea of EVs but I am less comfortable with how they are being delivered.

 

Obviously, as usage of EVs increases, revenue from oil fuel diminishes. However politicians feel reluctant to state how tax revenue will be replaced, or how they will cut off current subsidies.



#35 Red Socks

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 14:21

I have always understood that one of the issues-certainly in the UK and almost certainly Germany- is vehicle construction and use regulation.

If you modify a 1960 car with 2020 running gear my understanding is that all the other parts have to be upgraded as well.

This has the effect of prohibiting new run on LWT E Types, Astons etc from being road legal but also I understand that if the re drive engineered car does not meet current crash test rules it cannot be road legal,

Certainly it would not meet regulations world wide for road tax exemption and the likes of FIVA would,I expect, be very reluctant to promote their cause.



#36 geoffd

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 14:32

I don't think that's quite correct.  New build cars, like the Jaguar C-Types and Aston Martin DB4s and Bond DB5s, produced in limited, expensive quantities, would have to be homologated to be road legal.  This is expensive for a few vehicles, but there are other companies that can put them through an IVA test, just like a kit car.  This isn't cheap, of course, but if you can afford one of the cars, that's probably not an issue.

 

If you modify an existing old vehicle by putting in a modern engine, you don't have to pass an IVA so long as the main chassis structure is unchanged.  So if I put a Chevy V8 or an electric motor into my DB6, that would be OK (I might be thrown out of the AMOC, but that's another issue).  The car will not be exempt from MOT tests.  The insurance company might want to be satisfied that the work has been done properly.  There are many restomods e.g. Eagle E-Types that don't have to be IVAd, and one company is offering an electric conversion for DB6.


Edited by geoffd, 05 October 2021 - 14:35.


#37 Bonde

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 16:14

Human history is a long, messy chain of trial and error. It would be arrogant, hubris, even, to suggest that we know all the solutions to all of tomorrow's problems today. We never did, we never will - the universe is far too complex for that.

 

So, let not perfection become the enemy of good.

 

Coal was an improvement, with adverse side effects, on muscle; petrol was an improvement, with adverse side effects, on coal - and so on. If we had not happened on fossil fuels, we wouldn't have been able to sit here indulging in this discussion. Most of us would not have been born because in our ancestry poverty and disease would have been rife to this day without the technologies that actually got us here.

 

We did not blow it. We did what we could with what we had at the time. That is what humans do. That is what got us here, imperfect as we are.

Assuming that release of stored plant food causes exclusively adverse climate effects and that stopping those emissions immediately, if that were even possible (try to get China and India on board), will invariably cause other crises, and these are not necessarily more benign than what is by some perceived to be a crisis of the climate. Even the highly political IPCC's most pessimistic predictions do not even come close to suggesting Doomsday if we remain at status-quo. IPCC predicts a 3-4% loss of global GDP by the end of the Century due to adverse climate effects assumed to stem from carbon dioxide emission from human activity if we don't do anything other than what we are already doing. But 3-4% relative to what? Can we increase GDP more with less reliable sources of energy? I wouldn't bet on it. Without fossil fuels we would never have been at the high level of GDP we are today, so do we even have a null hypothesis?

 

There are many things that cause me much greater worry for my offspring than what the climate may have to offer in decades to come. If there is one thing humans have been persistently successful at over the centuries, it is adjusting to whatever climate nature throws at us.

 

Although we are not separate from nature, humans decide whether a change in nature is 'good' or 'bad', irrespective of the cause. Nature doesn't care. Humans do.

Sorry about the philosophizing - back on track: EV-conversions of old ICE cars? Live and let live. I wouldn't do it - I fail to see the point. I would rather spend my money on restoring the ICE classic that I assume I am emotionally attached to, or sell it off, even for spares, to someone who cares more than I do. If we're worried about ICE classics being totally banned its up to us to prevent it. Supposedly we elect our politicians, and some of them do actually care about our technological heritage. All is not doom and gloom.

(Edited to make it sound less long-winded, but I think the edit failed, too  :cat:)


Edited by Bonde, 05 October 2021 - 17:13.


#38 john aston

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 17:33

Like many people of my baby boomer generation , I have led a charmed life. No nuclear war , no significant wars which affected me directly , free education , no typhoid /TB/polio etc , easy to get a job , good career, cheap housing , and gold plated pension. No wonder that my generation are so used to being spoiled that  we regard something as trivial as what powers a car as so important . or that we find every reason to sneer at a brave young woman like Ms Thunberg . 

 

I don't care a damn what powers my daily drive . It can be volts , methane or angels' tears for all I care . If my car sounded like a DFV or a Chevy smallblock V8 I might get excited , but like most modern cars it emits some anodyne hum from the engine room . But that isn't all it emits -and I'm not happy about contributing to climate change (about which I am not sceptical ) nor poisoning kids lungs with particulates from a fuel which is finite , dirty and involves such a filthy (physically and politically ) process to extract . 

 

I have been known to hug more than the odd tree and I find that fact alone increasingly  hard to balance against my lifelong love of racing engines . Even after over 50 years the sound of a racing engine makes me tingle , and the sound of an unsilenced big block V8 or V12 can reduce me to tears . 

 

Many car folk are  dinosaurs , in denial of what is happening and desperate to seize upon any fact or argument , no matter how trivial , to keep on indulging ourselves . Change is coming , and it's electric , hydrogen , nuclear , solar and other stuff that hasn't even been invented yet.  

 

It's not all depressing though. One of the most impressive cars I've ever been in was a Tesla and driving an EV holds no worry for me - as soon as we have decent charging structure. And I see no reason why hobby cars , which many of us own , cant continue , perhaps using more sustainable fuel and , critically , only for small annual mileages. I can see internally combusting  race cars continuing as a popular and self indulgent  reminder of times past - just as many people love to indulge their  passion for steam or horses . And if somebody wants to drive an electric  E-Type - good for them    

 

But the party is over folks , we've had our fun. Now let's grow up a bit 



#39 Philip Whiteman

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 17:51

Speaking as a grown-up, I appreciate my old Jag as a close to zero-emissions vehicle as it does so few miles every year. I note to that the emissions associated with its manufacture were... er, emitted in 1986 - and there's bugger all to be done about that. Significantly, it contains more readily-recyclable material than the typical 2021 vehicle. I feel quite eco.

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#40 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 17:52

It would seem that the converters (as in the TV series based in a unit in Wales) use the same motor and battery in each conversion.  You have to assume that these are quite old tech compared to what the manufacturers are using, hence the poor range. 

The other thing is that the overall weight distribution must be changed and yet they don't seem to do anything to alter the suspension to suit.  

We regularly do 150 mile tours in our classics so how an electric version would cope I don't know. 

It's a bit like train spotters who muss the steam trains as they don't  hit all your senses. No noise, smell etc



#41 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 03:06

It was once regarded as sacrilege (by some enthusiasts) when the best thing to do with an Aston Martin DB2 was really to wrench out its unreliable Aston engine and replace it with a Jaguar XK unit, or with a Triumph Stag to wrench out its under-developed and unreliable Triumph V8 engine and replace it with a Rover V8 - but now we have this sparky-sparky nonsense threatening all classics...

 

It might well seem a good idea (to some) but am I alone in being immensely suspicious that 'the future' lies not with electric cars at all, but with hydrogen or some other as yet relatively unexplored motive source...?

 

Above all beware that which here-today/gone-tomorrow politicians may advocate.  It's almost always short-term, self-serving, under-researched, ill-advised - and sometimes actually corrupt - BS.

 

I suspect the above applies in spades to tinkering with classic - and so-called 'classic' - car power sources.

 

Colour me sceptical.    :rolleyes:

 

DCN

IS there a Stag left with the Triumph gunker in it?? In England Rovers because they are comparitivly common but in the civilised world there is a lot better engines. I have seen them with Ford Windsors and small block Chevs, and one with a 4.4 Leyland from the P38.

There is one with an LS Chev in it.

From what I gather though the diffs are not up to much power so I guess many will change everything.

Though here in Oz at least most XJ6 Jags have been converted to Chev.

And recently I saw a Mk2 Zephyr with a 6 cylinder [with triple SUs] instead of the oh so common 302W Ford



#42 john aston

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 06:59

There were literally hundreds of Stags at Silverstone Classic , and I am pretty sure they were all originals too . No barbaric upgrades for them - but obviously , one must tolerate lower standards in the colonies. 'Twas ever thus  :drunk:    



#43 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 07:28

There were literally hundreds of Stags at Silverstone Classic , and I am pretty sure they were all originals too . No barbaric upgrades for them - but obviously , one must tolerate lower standards in the colonies. 'Twas ever thus  :drunk:    

I think the Stag specialists have sorted most of the problems out with the original engine and the cars go well. 



#44 Stephen W

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 07:44

I've skimmed through this thread and my thoughts are as follows:

 

1. I wouldn't convert a "classic" to electric power, if I wanted an older looking electrified car I would buy a Porsche 356 kit and have an electric motor installed.

2. what anyone else does that is their decision as it is their money they are spending.

3. there is still the issue of disposal of the batteries used in electric cars plus the residual value of a six year old electric car with a duff battery will be ZERO.

4. If Jaguar want to produce 150 E Types with full electrification and charge £1.5 million each then fine I don't have a problem with idiots spending their money.

5. if the UK reduces its use of ICE cars by 50% per annum in five years from now the planet-wide pollution will not have gone down but will probably have grown by more than we have reduced our contribution.

 

Some years back the bus company in my town had three electrified bendy buses on loan for appraisal. After the three month loan period they were returned and we still use ICE vehicles. I suspect "budgetary considerations" meant they were not viable. Electric vehicles are all well and good in towns and cities but in rural locations they will be a liability. Finally until I can buy an equivalent electric car to my Golf for the same money I'll be sticking to petrol powered vehicles.



#45 BRG

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 10:14

Some years back the bus company in my town had three electrified bendy buses on loan for appraisal. After the three month loan period they were returned and we still use ICE vehicles. 

In Guildford, Surrey, there are four Park and Ride sites served by shuttle buses.  Two or three years back, they switched to electric buses and these have performed very well.  They are uncomfortable with a lousy ride, but so were the previous diesel buses and at least the EBs don't shake themselves to pieces on tickover.  They are taken to a site outside Guildford each night and plugged in there.  It all works well and the drivers like them.  During lockdown, when P & R services were reduced, these buses even got used on longer routes such as Guildford to Kingston. 

 

I think your town's problem was the bendy bit rather than the electirc bit. if the bad experiences with bendy buses in London are anything to go by!

 

Oh, and re your point #1, a 356 kit will require a VW Beetle floor pan, so you would still be converting a 'classic'!   ;)


Edited by BRG, 06 October 2021 - 10:15.


#46 Ben1445

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 10:32

I think Jaguar officially offered a fully-reversible EV conversion kit for classic E-Types? The interesting bit I seem to remember was that it only made use of original mounting points, leaving the 'fabric' of the vehicle otherwise unaltered and included storage of the original ICE components somewhere secure. 

 

If anyone was going to do a conversion of such a car, that's probably the most agreeable way to do it. Even if you were to disagree with every fibre of your being that such a vehicle should ever be allowed to exist, at least the decision to convert wouldn't totally deprive future owners/generations of an unmodified example of the car. It could be reversed if a future owner so wished it. Better than drilling new holes all over the place and permanently ripping out all sorts of original bits. 


Edited by Ben1445, 06 October 2021 - 10:32.


#47 absinthedude

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 11:19

 Electric vehicles are all well and good in towns and cities but in rural locations they will be a liability. Finally until I can buy an equivalent electric car to my Golf for the same money I'll be sticking to petrol powered vehicles.

 

For 35 years I've been of the view that what is needed, ideally, is a unit which can be dropped in place of the ICE and perform equally. I have also often pondered where all the nuclear power stations we *will* need to generate sufficient electricity for all these EVs are. 

 

Listening to a representative of the Green party a couple of months ago, he let a certain feline out of the carrying receptacle........what they really want, regardless of emissions, is people to travel a lot less. They like the idea that EV's tend to have limited range because they don't actually want you or I going on holiday to Cornwall or Scotland....and give us the birch if we wish to travel further afield. This came about during a debate on replacing certain taxes with a "per mile" road tax. Now, I am not totally against the idea but our Green Party spokesman was saying that this would have the added effect of encouraging people to travel less, and to go less far. It was put to him that if we all used his beloved public transport or EV's, surely that would not be such a problem....and his answer was that the Greens want less movement, less travel regardless. 

 

Someone mentioned electric heating of homes above. Not those ruddy heat pumps again? Didn't work in the 70s when the manufacturers persuaded the government to give them millions...and doesn't work any better now. the problem is that to actually heat your home in the winter, when you need it heating, the pipes need to be buried some 30 feet under your garden. That assumes you have a 50 foot long garden with 30 feet of soil under it and the tens of thousands of pounds to have the work done. Sure, the unscrupulous purveyors of heat pumps will fit one in place of your gas boiler without burying the pipes sufficiently....and you won't know it doesn't work until winter. 

 

Just like EV's....nobody has yet come up with an electric home heating system that works as well as gas and radiators. The American way of under floor ducts fed by a massive electric "furnace" works, but is incredibly inefficient....something America is only just waking up to. I say this as someone living the last 22 years in a house with no gas supply so I have electric heating and cooking. And long for gas heating and cooking. No cooking enthusiast and certainly no chef ever voluntarily cooked with electricity. Even my brand new in 2019 cooker, much better than older models, is a light year away from even the cartridge camping stove I use when I go camping....in terms of how fast it heats up, and how controllable the heat is. 


Edited by absinthedude, 06 October 2021 - 11:24.


#48 Sterzo

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 12:44

Two threads in one here, loads of conflation.

 

1. Should historic / classic / old cars be butchered?

 

No! Why have an old car if it isn't original? Changing its spec defeats the object entirely.

 

2. Should we be going for EVs on the road?

 

Yes! This is not the bull of politicians or profiteers, there is plenty of published research from scientists across the world, showing that if you balance the pros and cons of manufacturing and running electric cars against continuing with the ICE, there will be a substantial reduction in emissions during the lifetime of each car. No prediction of the future is infallible, but the evidence is overwhelming. Other, better, technologies may come along later, but they aren't yet available and are irrelevant to this discussion.

 

And here's another question:

 

3. Would we like electic vehicles as much as our old cars?

 

Irrelevant.



#49 Glengavel

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 15:20

IS there a Stag left with the Triumph gunker in it?? In England Rovers because they are comparitivly common but in the civilised world there is a lot better engines. I have seen them with Ford Windsors and small block Chevs, and one with a 4.4 Leyland from the P38.

There is one with an LS Chev in it.

From what I gather though the diffs are not up to much power so I guess many will change everything.

Though here in Oz at least most XJ6 Jags have been converted to Chev.

 

I feel quite faint...



#50 D-Type

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Posted 06 October 2021 - 16:52

I have to admit I have only skimmed this thread. 
What does come to mind is an analogy with the horse.  When it was apparent that an Internal Combustion Engine (or even battery) powered horseless carriage was a better means of transport, the horse was swiftly set aside and became a luxury.  Stables and carriage houses were converted to garages.

The battery-powered car has not yet demonstrated similar superiority, government encouragement notwithstanding. 

But change will come - it has to as the oil runs out.  It may take the form of internal combustion engines powered by hydrogen produced by nuclear, wind, tidal, or even solar powered plants distributed either in cylinders or in some sort of almost unstable chemical compounds - or even biofuel and ethanol.  Alternatively they might introduce standardised interchangeable battery packs - pull into a  service (former petrol) station and replace the pack in your Smart, or three in your Jaguar etc. Maybe even exchangeable cars like Boris bikes.  But battery powered "Blower" Bentleys, Ferraris and the like with appropriate sound generators might exist but will be few and far between - a curiosity rather like horse-drawn carriages and carts.