The RBW Roadster is the brainchild of Peter Swain, a man who was steeped in the field of electronic security before setting up RBW Sports & Classic Cars (Rose, Becky, and Wes are the names of his children), which restored and sold mainly British classics, such as Swain’s personal favourite, the MGB. He increasingly felt that the preservation of such vehicles would depend on them being made more acceptable to the modern world, and therefore investigated the merits of fitting an electric powertrain to one. The final result is not a conversion, but a substantially re-engineered recreation of Britain’s most popular sports car, which has the backing of some of the biggest names in the automotive world.
The rear-mounted powerplant is a 70 kW electric transaxle manufactured by Continental, with all integration activities completed by Continental Engineering Services (CES), one of the largest engineering service providers to the automotive industry, with engineering centres in Europe, the US and Far East. The RBW prototypes are being assembled by CES at its UK headquarters near Lichfield. The front-mounted batteries are supplied by Hyperdrive, and are the same type as those employed for the latest version of the Nissan Leaf. The bodyshells around which these recreations are being constructed are those manufactured by British Motor Heritage, and therefore to the original MG specification courtesy of the original tooling. Chassis specialists Development Engineering & Enterprise have been responsible for creating the bespoke rear subframe that houses the motor and related wishbone and coil spring independent rear suspension; also the equally contemporary front suspension and braking system, which will permit such niceties as ABS to be included in future models. The net result is a re-styled car with the aesthetic appeal of the classic MGB, combined with the engineering of a modern, environmentally-friendly sports car, in which over £1million has been invested in research and development. Orders are now being taken for the Roadster in both
left and righthand drive. Production is expected to rise from some 30 examples in 2019 to around 100 per annum thereafter.
With the equivalent of 94bhp and 226Nm of instantaneous torque, the RBW has the potential to be infinitely quicker than the model on which it is based, but Swain has opted for a compromise optimum 0-60mph time of 8.5 seconds and an electronically-limited 95mph top speed. The related range will be around 150 miles and a full charge cycle circa eight hours. The RBW features high quality trim and comes with such modern niceties as LED headlamps, Bluetooth connectivity, SAT/NAV, LED instrument screen etc as standard. Prices for the newcomer, including donor car, are yet to be confirmed, but expected to start from £110,000 dependent on specification. Further details of this potentially very popular addition to the world of electric classic cars can be found at