Conversions of electric vehicles for classic cars are gaining momentum
As restomods and modified cars have a place in the market, EV conversions are becoming more common. At this year’s SEMA 2021, the Ford F-100 Eluminator Truck with a Mach-E electric motor caused a sensation. But there’s a big market for classic-to-EV conversions out there that seems to be heating up.
Turn classic cars into EVs with electric vehicle conversions
Ars Technica is exploring one of the ways people could breathe new life into old cars, such as converting them to electric vehicles. The idea of an EV powertrain conversion is the process of converting a vehicle from traditional gasoline power to an electric motor. At the last SEMA show, Ford showed off the F-100 Eluminator truck with a Mustang Mach-E electric crate engine.
Mark Wilson, vehicle personalization manager at Ford, said: “If you look at the life cycle of internal combustion engines [internal combustion engine] In the longer term, there seems to be an end date on the horizon – a point at which they will be phased out.” Wilson went on to say that these ICE products will eventually become obsolete.
The 1978 F-100 that became the F-100 Eluminator truck had nostalgia for the truck itself, but the engine itself wasn’t remarkable. The M-9000-MACHE engine costs $4,095 and is available directly from Ford Performance.
Replacement batteries for electric vehicle motors are in the works
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Michael Bream of EV West, a company that converts electric vehicles in California, said he’s interested in the Tesla Roadster. “As a computer engineer and hot rodder, I was intrigued by the technology involved. I wanted to see what could be done with electrical power.” Bream notes that some solutions weren’t viable when such ideas first arose.
Electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt EV have helped create purpose-built solutions at the OEM level. “That helped a lot in refining the EV experience. It has also introduced higher quality parts at a lower cost, which in turn has led to greater affordability in the EV restomod market.”
Jaguar even made an official 40kWh lithium-ion battery that directly replaced the current petrol engine in the Jaguar XKE. This EV conversion was too expensive to make sense, but it sounds like it could work with some more testing. This type of conversion is picking up speed in the aftermarket scene, but could still use some OEM backup. Access to a battery will be a major breakthrough. According to Bream, parts to convert a classic car into an electric vehicle can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000. That still uses the original transmission and doesn’t include the work.
Price and vehicle weight are important factors in this type of work
Smaller cars like an air-cooled Volkswagen or Porsche 911 are well suited for this type of EV conversion. The new build can reuse the original manual transmission and other powertrain components. This gets a bit trickier and more expensive with heavier cars.
David Beckham made headlines last year when he invested in a company called Lunaz. Lunaz focuses on converting old British petrol vehicles into zero-emission electric vehicles.
The company’s converted vehicles include a 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V. The company can take both fixed and drophead body variants of the Silver Cloud I, II and III. Another option is the Bentley Continental, in both coupe and four-door “Flying Spur” body styles. Lunaz worked on the Jaguar XK120, XK140 and XK150, transforming these vehicles into sustainable and drivable classics. Of course, these conversions cost between $300,000 and $700,000 depending on the car.
There are more options for EV conversion than ever before and many companies are working on it behind the scenes. Project cars may not need gasoline engines in the future.
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