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Electric classics ‘must not be considered historic vehicles’ says FIVA

Published 21 October 2019

Classics that have been converted to run on an electric powertrain should not be considered historic vehicles, according to a group that aims to protects the heritage of old cars.

FIVA (the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens or international federation of historic vehicles) says it cannot promote the use of modern EV components (motors and batteries) to replace a historic vehicle’s powertrain to owners or regulators.

Tiddo Bresters, FIVA’s vice-president of legislation, says, ‘It is not, in our opinion, the shape or body style of a vehicle that makes it ‘historic’, but the way in which the entire vehicle has been constructed and manufactured in its original form.’

Converting classic cars from internal combustion engines to battery power is becoming increasingly popular. Over the past few years, specialists have converted the Mini, MGB, Volkswagen Beetle, and Jaguar E-type (pictured).

Jaguar E-type Zero (2)

Electrifcation allows owners to retain the classic appearance of the vehicle while meeting modern environmental standards, allowing them access to low-emission zones and reducing their carbon footprint. There are also additional benefits such as increased performance and improved fuel economy.

But FIVA - which is dedicated to the preservation, protection and promotion of historic vehicles - says electrifying a classic doesn’t comply with its definition of a historic vehicle, nor does it support the goal of preserving historic vehicles and their related culture. In FIVA’s view, converted cars are can no longer be historic vehicles - unless they are subject only to ‘in period’ changes.

According to FIVA, a historic vehicle is: ‘a mechanically propelled road vehicle’ that is at least 30 years old; preserved and maintained in a historically correct condition; not used as a means of daily transport; and part of our technical and cultural heritage.

FIVA’s Bresters adds, ‘If any owner, motor engineer or manufacturer chooses to make such conversions to a historic vehicle, FIVA would strongly recommend that any changes are reversible, with all the original components marked and safely stored.

‘In this way, the vehicle may – if so desired in the future – be returned to its original state and may once again become a historic vehicle.’


Datsun Dave    on 24 October 2019

FIVA are a bunch of dinosaurs. An engine swap with petrol or diesel is fine, but the car ceases to be a classic the moment you put an electric powertrain in? What a load of rubbish.

NEIL SCARLETT    on 27 October 2019

Dinosaurs were from a previous time, one could call them classics.

I won't be converting my H1 2 stroke triple to battery power any time soon.

Edited by NEIL SCARLETT on 27/10/2019 at 07:21

anglebox    on 7 November 2019

Like it or not, classic cars are an example of recycling - we're reusing stuff that was built years ago. Sure, they may not be 'cleanest' engines in the world, but given that the majority of classics do about 3000 miles a year, I'd say their environmental impact is limited. If someone wants to convert their classic MGB (or whatever) over to electric, why shouldn't they? Their car, their choice. No-one moans if they swap out a four-pot for a V8. If converting the odd classic to EV means keeping our heritage alive I'm all for it. Plus, FIVA might bark on about taking away privileges but don't EVs get tax breaks anyway? And the running costs would certainly be lower... At a time when the future of our hobby is under threat from scrappage schemes that take future classics off the road and crackdowns on emissions for vehicles entering city centres, FIVA sticking its nose in really doesn't help.

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