In the 1920s, automobility was still in its infancy. When the Rolls-Royce Phantom II was built in Great Britain from 1929, it was considered a real luxury car. It featured an oversized 7.7-liter straight-six – powered, of course, by an internal combustion engine. An electric drive was out of the question at the time. And the technology was by no means as modern as it is today. The company Electrogenic from Oxford, England, has carried out a complex conversion and turned a Rolls-Royce Phantom II from 1929 into an electric car according to today's standards.
The mechanics installed the drive, driving system and technical aspects on behalf of a private collector. For the team, which has already converted other classic cars such as the Daimler DS420, Porsche 356C or the VW Beetle into electric cars, the conversion of the Phantom II was a particular challenge. It was the "most complex conversion to date", the company writes on Facebook.
It took 18 months from the initial study of the project's feasibility and technical specifications to the development of various options for integrating the electronic components, company founder and CEO Steve Drummond told BBC Top Gear magazine. One challenge was to accommodate the 93 kWh drive batteries. These finally found a place under the bonnet, where the combustion engine had previously been. The batteries should bring an estimated range of around 290 kilometers. A built-in 150 kW electric motor should have a good 200 hp and a torque of 310 Newton meters.
In order to modernize the almost 100-year-old car, the chassis, including the braking system, was also adapted - elements that were also not easy for the mechanics to implement. The vehicle weight, on the other hand, is unchanged, even if the curb weight of two tons is not very advantageous for an electric car. After all, a regenerative braking system should increase the range when driving downhill.
After all, an electric car according to today's standards also includes the corresponding electronics. The electrified Phantom II has several displays - including one for the battery charge level. In addition, a sport, traffic and eco driving mode was installed. A high-end audio system with several loudspeakers with Bluetooth connection and a subwoofer should provide a sonorous sound.
Visually, however, the classic electric car should correspond to the original. A molded aluminum panel covering the batteries is said to mimic the look of the original engine, maintaining the original hood-open appearance. And according to the company, the conversion was also carried out without any drilling or cutting, which means that the Phantom II can be completely restored to its original condition - what makes a real classic car is that it is largely in its original condition.
In fact, conversions from classic cars to electric vehicles are no longer a rarity. In addition to car manufacturers such as VW or Mini, there is also an offer from other companies. The British company Lunaz, for example, converts vintage cars into e-cars.
The company has not disclosed what a conversion at Electrogenic will cost. However, the price could be in the thousands, although this also depends on the individual customer requirements. The electrified Rolls-Royce Phantom II can be seen at the Salon Privé exhibition at Blenheim Palace near Oxford until Saturday (2 September).
Sources: Top Gear, Rolls-Royce Automobile Museum