As low emissions zones increase in Europe and Scandinavia, historic vehicles find themselves stuck in no-man‘s land between the threat of restricted use and political preferences toward hybrid and all-electric vehicles (EVs).

American electric vehicle conversion firm e-Drive Retro claims to offer the best of both worlds – classic cars with battery drivetrains. It recently announced plans to sell its cars in Europe. Best-known for its all-electric 1972 MkIII Triumph GT6, a battery-powered MGA is also in the works. Recently, e- Drive Retro announced a tie-up with Finnish restoration works Grips Garage; the former will supply the electric drivetrain while the latter will restore the cars to concours condition.

“We will build these cars together at the Grips Garage facilities in Vantaa, Finland, with e-Drive Retro fully engineering its proprietary EV (electric vehicle) drivetrains. Working closely with Grips Garage restoration craftsmen to create the most beautiful and exciting vintage EVs ever produced,” said e-Drive Retro founder and chief executive officer Michael M. Richardson. Purists may be aghast at the use of battery running gear where an engine once sat, but e-Drive Retro argues that its work preserves classics for future generations. “The public awareness of EVs and the technical knowledge behind them has grown enormously in recent years. We think that the time is finally right to install electric drivetrains into classic vehicles as well,” explained Oskari Avall, founder and CEO of Grips Garage.

Cars like its GT6 remain usable in towns and cities should fossil-free legislation come into force; Germany and Holland plan to curb petrol and diesel car usage within two decades.

Northern Europe is e-Drive Retro’s first port of call, with Grips Garage its first partner outside the United States: It’s looking for other restoration and franchise partners too. This means you can expect a range of battery-powered classics in the future – a collection e-Drive Retro refers to as ‘electric vintage’. As Michael M Richardson concluded:

“My vision of marrying state-of-the-art all-electric drivetrain technology, control system software and ‘The Internet of Things’ (IoT) with the iconic car designs of the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies creates an entirely new class of authentic collectible automobiles that are not only timeless showpieces, but are also practical and reliable vehicles to enjoy driving every day, with a clean environmental conscience.”