Opinion: Not all cars are obviously electric

GW columnist, Aaron Phillips introduces the world's first Tesla-powered Ferrari

Opinion: Not all cars are obviously electric
Electric-powered Ferrari 308 GTS.

At Jackson & Phillips we’ve always tried to ensure we’ve got the skills and equipment needed to deal with any vehicle that comes through our gates.

Aaron Phillips of Jackson & Phillips Automotive Services in Leighton Buzzard.

Hybrid and electric vehicle repairs and servicing were once considered a rarity but that’s fast changing.

We now have two technicians in our workshop capable of working on them, many of which are sent our way by leasing companies.

Electric vehicles aren’t always obvious though.

For years we have carried out MOTs and repairs on a Ferrari 308 GTS, which until recently was powered by a V8 engine.

It’s now thought to be the world’s first Tesla-powered Ferrari.

Our customer has owned it for 28 years but, with the V8 in poor shape, he was faced with an expensive engine strip-down and rebuild.

The owner, Peter, who just so happens to be an electrical engineer who already owned a Tesla, contacted Electric Classic Cars and made the decision to have his 1982 Ferrari 308 GTS converted to house a large Tesla drive unit, batteries and chargers.

The conversion was carried-out carefully and almost all the original interior features have been retained.

The iconic ‘H’ gate transmission selector trim, for example, now houses micro switches which are activated via the selector for reverse and drive.

Expert engineering means the Tesla drivetrain fits perfectly into the rear of the car where the V8 was once housed.

The new motor sits much lower than the combustion engine did, which together with suspension and brake upgrades and a wider rear track, means the handling has been improved greatly.

What’s more, it’s now practical too.

A full charge provides a range of around 180 miles – that’s just 20 miles less than a full tank of petrol.

That said, it’s clearly not as quick and easy to fill/charge as it previously was.

But a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution makes it a pleasure to drive and Peter now has room for a set of golf clubs in a beautifully crafted luggage compartment behind the drive unit in the rear.

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When it comes to performance, 450bhp and 600nm of torque propels it from 0-60mph in a blistering 3.8 seconds.

Top speed? That’s limited to 165mph.

Peter used the car on track both before and after the conversion, so he’ll know more than anyone about the gains that have been had and he’s very satisfied with the results.

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I have to admit though, when it turned up for its first visit after the conversion, it was a little odd with the absence of that beautiful V8 soundtrack.

Peter assures me that the driving experience isn’t hampered one bit by the lack of engine roar.

He told me he missed the noise for all of five minutes.

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The cost of the conversion? It was an eye watering £40,000-£50,000, which is about twice the cost of an engine rebuild.

That said, Peter now has the reliability of a new car and greatly reduced running and maintenance costs.

Love it or hate it, this certainly seems to be the way forward and you can’t deny the amazing level of engineering that has gone into this build.

Share your comments below.

Opinion: Act now or your garage will miss out on EV opportunities

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  • #201165 Reply

    At Jackson & Phillips we’ve always tried to ensure we can skills and equipment needed to deal with any vehicle that comes through our gates. Aaron
    [See the full post at: Opinion: Not all cars are obviously electric]

    #201202 Reply

    This was on that TV show, be interesting to stick a £20 trolley jack
    Under one corner, see if you can open the back doors still.

    As requards battery powered ‘anything’ vacuum cleaner, drill
    Kids toy car, bicycle lights, mobile phone etc, the batteries

    Once battery gets tired they fail rapid, everything is in series,
    So you get reversed cells and ‘boiled cells’

    Flatten a lorry battery by tapping off first 12v battery, then you will
    Quite soon end up with TWO dud batteries, as first wont charge and second will be
    Fizzing away at 16 volts.

    In an ideal world a 2 volt 1000ah cell would be great, but the terminals
    Would be the size of a cat.

    If your in some dessert somewhere, delivering pizzas at night
    Leaving it to charge on solar by day, do it.

    But the losses in electric network, when the power starts in belguim
    Turned into dc, across channel then turned back into ac, then up
    The country, to a power socket that’s drawing about 10 amps
    Why do that?

    As for “100% torque at zero rpm”. Great spin that clutch centre out.
    As for “no gearbox” drilling a hole in a tree with your black & wrecker drill, stick it low box, same for cycling uphill!

    Get a bad connection, clean it, now changed resiance of terminal thats 5nm tight
    Draws 900 amps not 90!

    Electric bicycle the same 18650 cells, sone guy on YouTube did 25 miles bike ride, stopped 60 seconds, burnt his hoose doown.

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