Entertainment

We visited ECD Automotive’s new facility where it’s building electric Jaguar E-Types with Tesla motors

After visiting ECD Automotive Design’s original footprint in Florida earlier this year, the custom EV conversion specialists invited us back for a tour of its its new 100,000 square-foot facility up the street. It’s here that the company is setting up a second assembly line to build all-electric versions of the Jaguar E-Type to join all the classic Land Rovers it has been converting for years.

ECD Automotive Design is a custom vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Kissimmee, Florida, founded by three Brits whose love for UK classics like the Defender and Range Rover has propelled the company’s status in becoming one of the most prominent producers of custom Land Rovers in the world.

As we showcased in our first visit to the original facility last February, ECD’s focus on the utmost quality, luxury, and willingness to never say no to a customer’s request has garnered a loyal customer base, some of which who purchase two or three bespoke vehicles costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

As a company that works to continuously improve and evolve, ECD Automotive Design has begun offering more and more electrified versions of its lineup. As its order book continues to fill up, so does its demand for all-electric builds, including the Jaguar E-Type – ECD’s latest all-electric offering initially announced in June.

The custom vehicle designer is now up and running at its new facility around the corner from the single garage unit the three founders started in a decade ago, so the team invited us out to tour the new space, see where the electric Jaguars will be assembled, and experience some of the technologies it is using to deliver perfection to its customers. Check it out.

ECD Automotive Design gets major upgrade with new facility

While my latest invite to Florida was a joy to experience, I’m glad I got to visit ECD’s original facility earlier this year for comparison. Nothing against the old building, but this is a tremendous upgrade for the custom vehicle specialist in every department, and its founders won’t disagree.

After my first visit, I reported how impressive ECD’s astute attention to detail was, and that granularity extends well beyond the quality of its vehicles throughout its entire production process from square one. Since my last visit, ECD has set up its own UK logistics hub where it locates the Land Rovers and Jaguars, then ships them to Florida.

As ECD co-founder Scott Wallace toured me around 100k square-foot facility, he explained that ECD is completely self-sufficient now, and thanks to its UK hub, has cut overseas shipping times down from 100 days to about 24. Wallace explained, “We control everything now. Every single aspect of our builds. Other vendors just couldn’t keep up with us.”

The ECD leaders enable their employees to work in any way that makes them most happy, as long as they’re also at their most productive. Wallace explained that this freedom empowers its staff to work hard and strive toward the consistent delivery of quality the brand demands, especially as it continues to raise the bar for its clients on each custom build.

Wallace pointed out that ECD partnered up with 3M for the new facility, who provides the equipment for sanding and other body work. Dust is down 95%, ensuring a safer work environment that’s also much cleaner. What’s interesting is that it was the employees who chose 3M, not Wallace or his partners. He explained that the team members who work with those materials and machines each day know best, so they were the ones who spoke with to the respective company reps to decide which one to partner with. 3M came out the winner.

Same goes for PPG Paint and ECD’s new state-of-the-art, custom built booths. Again, designed by the painters themselves, not the owners or industrial professionals. As we navigated past the new assembly lines, all the air-conditioned spaces for wiring and upholstery, and into paint, I was surprised when Wallace opened the booth door for me and explained it was time to do some painting myself.

Electric jaguar
Your boy hard at work spraying a metallic Bentley green
Look at that form, come on.

Shoutout to my teacher John who walked me through the entire mixing, spraying, and finishing process, giving me a final score of 92/100. Scott Wallace was impressed by my score and told me I was hired. As you may recall, Wallace had me try a hydro dip last time I visited, now I’m painting. I joked that he’s grooming me to join the team and next visit I may get thrown onto the assembly line of a new electric Jaguar E-Type.

Speaking of which the upcoming Jaguar was the main focus of my recent visit and is already setting the stage for ECD’s further leap into quality electric vehicle conversions.

electric Jaguar
The work-in-progress development of the ECD South Line where the electric Jaguar E-Types will be built

A majority of Jaguar E-Types on order are electric

Following news of the company’s addition of the Jaguar E-Type to its lineup, I got to see the assembly line where the electric versions will be built and view a couple inspiration models up close. As you can see above, the new South Line at ECD HQ will be dedicated specifically to building Jaguar E-Types, and a majority will be electric to start.

Co-founder Tom Humble took me for a ride in a combustion version of the E-Type, which will also be available to customers, but explained there’s more of an appetite for the electric version out of the gate. Before ECD Automotive Design officially released news of its custom Jaguars, Humble sent out am email to a couple dozen of the company’s top customers to gauge interest.

He explained that ECD got 10 or 12 Jaguar E-Type orders from that group alone, and seven of those were requests for the electric version, including the very first customer build. The staff in charge of performing the Jaguar builds is currently familiarizing itself with the E-Type inside and out before production begins, and it will be slow start.

Scott Wallace told me they anticipate the Jaguar will spend 30 days at each station on the assembly line. For comparison, the custom Land Rovers being built on the North Line spend four days at each of the 20 stations, down from five days per station at the old facility. While the Jaguars will be slow to start, output is expected to pick up as the staff becomes more confident in the build process. Wallace explained that they all have learned a lot the last ten years, and the team will apply that know-how to the assembly of the E-Types as well.

Like the current Land Rovers, the electric versions of Jaguar will be converted using a 450 hp Tesla Model S motor and a 100 kW battery pack. Due to the design of the E-Type however, ECD thinks it might be able to utilize one solid battery pack instead of having to split it up 40/60 like it does in the Land Rovers.

The team expects the electric Jaguars to deliver between 180-200 miles of range and come equipped with a J1772 plug. Looking ahead, ECD Automotive Design is exploring additional EV features like DC fast charging and dual motor powertrains – two options I expressed could truly help entice even more customers, especially as the demand for electricification grows in its orders.

Looking ahead, ECD has plans for a third assembly section next to the Jaguar South Line that will be dedicated to prebuilt models, for those customers who don’t want to wait through the 2,200 hour design and build process.

With the new facility, the team expected to be able to produce about 120 custom builds a year, but Wallace explained to me that it’s looking more like 180, and could be even larger once the Jaguar lines start humming.

For our next visit to ECD, we intend to drive the custom, all-electric Jaguar E-Type and document it for you. Until then, you can check out the live feed of cameras throughout ECD Automotive Design to see what one-of-a-kind vehicles the company is working on right now.


Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.

Articles You May Like

Crushing defeat for Rishi Sunak is an ominous sign for despondent ‘Red Wall’ Tories
Labour wins Chester by-election with increased 11,000 margin over Tories
‘If you touch my hair that’s abuse’: Charity boss tells of ‘violation’ during Palace exchange
Russian oil sanctions are about to kick in. And they could disrupt markets in a big way
Rare protests in China as fatal fire collides with zero-COVID fatigue