Automotive

MGB roadster to hit the streets again – in electric form

MGB roadster to hit the street...
Plans call for an initial production run of 30 RBW EV Roadsters
Plans call for an initial production run of 30 RBW EV Roadsters
View 5 Images
One eight-hour charge of the RBW EV Roadster's battery pack should be good for a stated range of about 160 miles (257 km)
1/5
One eight-hour charge of the RBW EV Roadster's battery pack should be good for a stated range of about 160 miles (257 km)
The RBW EV Roadster will be available in a choice of 14 paint colors
2/5
The RBW EV Roadster will be available in a choice of 14 paint colors
Buyers can choose between five colors of leather
3/5
Buyers can choose between five colors of leather
The RBW EV Roadster's 70-kW motor is claimed to deliver a top speed of 80 mph (129 km/h), and a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration time of nine seconds
4/5
The RBW EV Roadster's 70-kW motor is claimed to deliver a top speed of 80 mph (129 km/h), and a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration time of nine seconds
Plans call for an initial production run of 30 RBW EV Roadsters
5/5
Plans call for an initial production run of 30 RBW EV Roadsters
View gallery - 5 images

If you never had a chance to own a classic MGB roadster when they were new, you'll soon have a second chance … sort of. It won't actually be made by MG, and it will be powered by an electric motor – the latter might or might not be a selling point, depending on the buyer.

Known as the RBW EV Roadster, the limited-edition automobile is being made by UK-based RBW EV Classic Cars. It was designed in collaboration with Continental Engineering Services and Zytek Automotive, both of which are part of the Formula E-associated Continental AG group.

The body shell is made by project partner British Motor Heritage, and contains the motor in the rear with the Hyperdrive lithium-ion battery pack in the front (under the bonnet). This arrangement reportedly results in "perfectly balanced" weight distribution, and allows for a maximum volume of battery storage space.

The EV Roadster's 70-kW motor is claimed to deliver a top speed of 80 mph (129 km/h), and a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration time of nine seconds. If the standard six-battery pack is selected, one eight-hour charge should be good for a stated range of about 160 miles (257 km). That figure climbs to 200 miles (322 km) if an optional seventh battery is added. A regenerative braking system helps stretch the battery power.

The RBW EV Roadster will be available in a choice of 14 paint colors
The RBW EV Roadster will be available in a choice of 14 paint colors

Inside, drivers can expect to find hand-stitched leather upholstery, electric windows, a Pioneer satellite navigation system, a motorized 7-inch multi-touchscreen control center, along with multiple inputs for mobile device connectivity.

Some of the car's other features include custom-built double wishbone front and rear suspension, custom brake discs and callipers, and a unique wheel hub design that incorporates maintenance-free bearings.

Plans call for 30 of the EV Roadsters to be built initially, in the buyers' choice of 14 body colors, soft- or hard-top. Production should begin early next year, with prices starting at £90,000 (about US$116,533) plus taxes.

An MGB GT Fixed Head Coupe model should follow later in 2021. The system architecture could reportedly also allow for new electric versions of cars such as the Austin Healey, Jaguar E-Type, and Austin Mini.

And MG, by the way, is developing EVs of its own. Last year, the now-Chinese-owned automaker introduced the EZS electric crossover in the European and Australian markets.

Source: RBW EV Classic Cars

View gallery - 5 images
10 comments
guzmanchinky
That looks amazing! Too bad it's a tiny death trap.
Nobody
I always wanted an MG or Triumph when I was a teenager but when I found out how under powered they were, I lost interest. I was interested in the Miata until I found out what an under performer it was. For the price they want for this electric MGB, they could at least give it some power.
yawood
@Nobody, you probably did the right thing by not getting one if you had that attitude, in fact it sounds like you never even drove one. I have had three MGBs over the years and two Miatas (or MX-5s as they are known everywhere except the USA), one 1990 NA and a 2005 NC. They were perfectly balanced and provided a fantastic wind-in-the-hair feel with amazing handling. Guzmanchinky, they are no more death traps that anything else on the road. In fact you are less likely the have an accident in a well-sorted small sports car because they handle well enough to get you out of trouble.
Nobody
yawood, you are right. I did do the right thing by not getting one. I got that wind in the face feeling flying my hang glider, riding my motorcycles and driving my Corvettes. The little under powered go carts just didn't have it. We all have a different tolerance for adrenaline. Electric MGBs will likely find a market for old people that like to wear funny hats.
Pete0097
Great, now the people that are not known for their electrical systems in cars are making electric cars. Wiring is the biggest problem with British cars.
bkwanab
@Nobody. See you and raise you. I've sold my Cessna and Schweizer now, as well as my Lotus Elan, Jensen Interceptor, Ferrari GTB4, Vincent Comet, Velocette Viper, Honda PC and NT750 and many other toys. I still have my Benelli 750 SEI and a Honda TLR200 Reflex to play on but mostly I enjoy beating Corvettes at the Autocross tracks in my Triumph TR7 Spider. I admit it now has a Buick V6 and Chevrolet Autobox but they work best in the LA traffic when picking on Porsches driven by poseurs like you. It's not about the power. It's about the skill. As for an electric MGB? Not for me either. For that money I'd get a Tesla 3. Besides, MGBs were always considered a hairdresser's car when I was growing up. You should get one.
-dphiBbydt
I converted my first MGB in 2008. Lead acid to begin with and then, when enough Nissan Leafs were crashed, converted it to lithium:) . I converted a MGB GT in 2014/5. The MGB is a good candidate conversion because it's light-weight. In my case neither car had power steering or power brakes which made things simpler. Guzmanchinky is right, though, compared to modern cars the '60s and early '70s MGs are not at all safe. I drive mine around as if I was on an under powered motorcycle conscious that I will be profoundly worse off in any accident. They are a nice-looking car and surprisingly roomy for both occupants and for EV conversion hardware.
Bruce H. Anderson
One thing about British roadsters, they were fun and cheap. That is a pretty lofty price tag, so waiting for a Sprite or Healy makes more sense if I were in the market. I like the spokey looking rims.
ljaques
The best thing about the new MGB is that it is not saddled with the Prince of Darkness electrical system. The new power plant is likely every bit as maddeningly weak as the original smoke puffer. (Sister had a 1973BLMCMGBGT, so I know.) For that price, you could have 3 different color Tesla 3s and convert one to a convertible, one to a pickup, and the other for family outings. RBW, you missed the boat entirely. @Nobody is right. I had more power, handling, and speed in my '62 Corvair convertible, and it was a standard, not a Spyder.
KeithW
Pete0097 is dead right about the wiring in older british cars. Most had Lucas electrics which led to the label "Jo(seph) Lucas, Prince of Darknes :-). The only person I know with an MGB is my 89 year old cousin. He uses it fo classic car rallies just a few times a year. So I guess that says a lot.