The Lucas electronics were the bane of many vintage MGB owners, but the Prince of Darkness is nowhere near these classic MG roadsters that are fitted with EV drivetrains.
The battery-powered MGBs are not conversions of vintage cars. Instead, the British firm RBW EV Classic Cars uses freshly minted bodies produced by British Motor Heritage. Underneath is a bespoke chassis with the engine mounted at the rear and the batteries located up front under the hood. The company claims this makes for 50/50 weight distribution, improves handling, and allows them to package more batteries than would otherwise be the case.
The lithium-ion battery pack is by Hyperdrive Innovation, and the car is offered with six, seven, or eight batteries. Range is stated as 160 miles with the standard setup and 200 with the larger battery pack. A 3kW charger means a full recharge takes eight hours.
The electric MGB doesn’t make much more power than the original. The rear-mounted motor spins out 94 horsepower, which is said to make for a 0-to-60-mph time of 9 seconds and a top speed of 80 mph.
The purpose-built chassis utilizes a control-arm suspension with coil-over dampers front and rear, while braking is via disc brakes and regenerative. The design of the alloy wheels is suggestive of wire wheels down to the chrome knock-off hubs, although there is a choice of design available. The exterior further includes LED headlamps, a folding soft top, and an optional hardtop.
While the exterior is true to the original, the interior is fully custom. A chrome-and-wood steering wheel fronts a cluster of traditional gauges, but a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system sits at the center of the dash, and power windows are fitted.
The company says it intends to build 30 of the emissions-free roadsters, priced at 90,000 pounds (around $116,000). Besides the MG roadster, RBW plans to offer an electrified MGB GT hardtop as well, along with classic Minis. Already, it has repowered Jaguar E-Types as EVs, but those are conversions of existing cars. The MGB is something new — a car that is inspired by the past but not beholden to it.