Classic 1971 Citroen DS converted to silent electric car

And it gets a trick new electrified version of the DS's iconic hydro-pneumatic suspension for maximum 'waftiness'.

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
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The industry around making old guzzlers into electric cars is flourishing, as car nuts seek to keep classic metal as contemporary as possible.

The iconic Citroen DS is no exception, as this 1971 example converted by UK company Electrogenic shows.

The Oxford-based company says it has the car’s famous ‘magic carpet’ ride that half-defined it, combining it with a silent zero-emission EV drivetrain.

It’s believed to be the first professionally converted Citroen DS EV.

Gone is the old 2.0-litre petrol engine, replaced with a Hyper9 motor (common in up-cycled EV conversions) making about 90kW of power and a solid 235Nm of torque.

It’s front-wheel drive like the original and still uses a manual gearbox – presumably one that doesn’t necessitate use of a foot clutch as per other EV conversions.

The battery capacity is 48.5kWh (for reference a Nissan Leaf has both 40kWh and 60kWh options) giving a claimed driving range of 225km or 140 miles. The 29kW charger fitted will fill the battery in around two hours.

An optional ‘range extender’ battery provides customers the choice to extend the range of the car to over 320km.

One of the most famous aspects of the DS was its ride quality, enabled by self-levelling hydro-pneumatic suspension. Electrogenic says a silent electric pump has been fitted to drive this system in place of the original mechanical unit.

“Unique challenges… [included] adapting the hydro-pneumatic suspension to run without the combustion engine,” said Electrogenic director and co-founder Ian Newstead, a former RAF radar tech and racing mechanic.

“The old pump was so noisy that it detracted from the silent drive of the car, but our new electric pump solved the issue completely. As with every conversion, the DS has added further to our knowledge of converting beautiful classics.”

Stylistically, the absence of exhaust pipes and a subtle new ‘DS EV electronique’ decal on the boot are the only visual clues to the car’s new electric powertrain.

“Repowering classic cars with all-electric drive brings a number of benefits, from ease of use to reliability and performance gains,” added other Electrogenic director and co-founder Steve Drummond.

“But with our conversions, the aim is always to enhance the original characteristics of the car.

“In this respect, the Citroen DS was ideally suited to an electric conversion – the silent powertrain adds to the serene driving experience and fits perfectly with the character of the car.”

Mr Drummond is a mechanical engineer who worked in the nuclear and biomass power industries.

Electrogenic is far from the only company upcycling EVs. Fellow Brit Lunaz retromods cars like old Rolls-Royce sedans, while Melbourne startup Jaunt re-engineers classic Land Rovers as EVs. And that’s just two examples.

MORE: Meet the Melbourne startup turning old Land Rovers into electric vehicles
MORE: Lunaz unveils painstaking electric Rolls-Royce Phantom V restoration

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the Comparisons Editor at CarExpert.
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