Classic British Roadster Hides An Electric Secret

Classic British Roadster Hides An Electric Secret | RBW Classic Cars

It’s 100% British roadster on the outside, and 100% EV on the inside.

If you’re a true red-blooded classic car fan, all this talk of banning internal combustion engines and going full EV might be particularly worrying for you. How are you supposed to get your fix of antique classic cars in a world so inhospitable to gasoline?

You could “future-proof” your petrol-burning classic with an all-electric powertrain conversion, of course. Or, you could buy something that was completely torn down and rebuilt from the ground up as an EV, but with the performance and styling of a classic car – sort of like Volkswagen did with the Beetle. That brings us to this: the first limited-run electric car from a British company called RBW Electric Classic Cars, the RBW Roadster. It’s based on an icon of British sports car history, the MGB Roadster, but shares none of its 20th-century mechanicals.

RBW was so keen to get the driving dynamics and overall feel of the MGB right that the company devised a powertrain that puts the battery packs up front, underneath the hood, with an electric motor mounted at the rear axle. In theory, that yields a weight distribution similar to what the original MGB Roadster had, the batteries taking the place of the engine and transmission, and the electric motor taking the place of the differential.

Those batteries are supplied by Hyperdrive Innovation, using the same advanced lithium-ion cells as the Nissan Leaf, and the RBW can be ordered with six, seven, or eight battery packs, each with 5.75 kWh of energy, for between 34.5 and 46 kWh total. That’s enough for 160+ miles of driving range, RBW says.

If you’re looking for, uh, “electrifying” performance, however, you may have to look elsewhere. RBW quotes a 0 to 60 time of 9 seconds, with an 80-mph top speed. On the plus side, it should handle like a dream thanks to its bespoke double-wishbone suspension with coilover dampers.

Of course, the biggest question of all here in the US is: will the RBW Roadster be sold here? We’re keeping hope alive on that front.

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