Making A Case for Conversions – Electric Speed Shop


If you are unfamiliar with what “Electric Conversion” means, it is a simple concept. Remove all the combustion engine components of your favorite car (or other vehicle) and replace them with electric components. Mainly a motor and batteries.

The focus of The Electric Speed Shop is mainly on sports cars and muscle cars. That does not mean we would not be interested in converting your other favorite classics, like a VW beetle or bus. The focus for us is the preservation of the style, while increasing performance and or the efficiency of your ride.

charging-1024x682-7634209-5317502 Converted by Electric Classic Cars

As electric drive-train components become more readily available, easier to integrate and more affordable electric conversion is going to become more common for classics and customization. This is of course my opinion and I will outline the specific details of why electric conversion “just makes sense”. My focus will be mainly on classic cars, sports cars and muscle cars.

This Sounds Complicated

This is both true and false. I do not want to make this seem like a simple process but compared to upgrading or restoring a combustion engine it is simple. The main complication is knowledge. Unless you have a degree in something related or a desire to learn about electric components the technology is foreign. That does not make it complicated.

A basic understanding of electricity would allow a person to install electric components. This is even more true if you are purchasing pre-designed kits, not building your own. Pre-designed kits are getting closer to “plug and play” architecture every day. Most vendors sell entire kits, minimizing the need to design your own system.  Electric drivetrains also have less parts, specifically moving parts. Less things to worry about minimizes the complications as well as the maintenance.

560-2-8663302-9004593 Its Just Electricity

This is the first major reason why I believe electric conversion is the future for upgrading or restoring classic, sports or muscle cars. The cost of maintenance is flat out lower. There are no oil changes or other routine maintenance besides brakes and tires. If this also sounds less complicated than learning or finding a competent mechanic you trust with your ride, that’s because it is. If you are going to spend the dollars upfront on restoration or upgrades, then you might as well save on the back-end. What’s not to love about a low cost of ownership on a classic car, sports car or muscle car?

Not Just Unique, but Upgradeable

Think about the last car show you attended. What is more common, a numbers matching classic or an electric powered classic? For most people, numbers matching classics are a more common sight than electric. Not to take away from the dedication and hard work required to restore a car to complete stock but having a muscle car powered by a Tesla motor is more unique.

A problem with uniqueness can be replacing parts. As the decades pass replacing motors, transmissions and other items to complete stock or compatible with a gas car will become more difficult. In this case that uniqueness is going to equate to dollars and more of them. Electric technology is going the other direction. More options are becoming available and improving.  

One large question is always range. This is a great example of the upgradeability. You can always (within reason) add more batteries to increase your range. Even better, you can replace your batteries as more energy dense ones become available. A quick swap could drastically improve your already unique and awesome conversion. The same could be said for almost any component within the electric drivetrain. If you stay within your systems limits, voltage and current, you can swap to better technology. These swaps, as stated previously, are simple compared to combustion engine due to that “plug and play” nature.

Speaking of Upgrading Performance

The name of this site is Electric Speed Shop, so did you really think we were not going to talk about the performance? If you have not seen one of the many videos of electric cars racing gas powered ones, take a minute and watch a few on YouTube…

2018-10-06-19-15-51-1024x498-9417030-9500281 This is one fast conversion!

Welcome back. The instant torque is a huge draw, but when done correctly a conversion will also have better handling. Other than a large V8, the aesthetics of muscle cars are the other attraction. Other than a few badges, the appearance of a V6 vs V8 is nothing if not minimal. In a conversion, the appearance remains mostly the same until you look under the hood or trunk. Keeping that classic style and design is a huge bonus.

For me, one of the best classic muscle cars is the 1970 Dodge Charger specifically the 440 Six Pack. This set-up produced 390 hp. This is nothing to sneeze at, but a Tesla motor puts out the equivalent of about 450hp. If you can increase the power of the that classic V8 set-up, imagine the improvement of converting a V6? What about the road-holding and handling? When installing batteries, you can distribute the weight evenly. This improves both of those attributes.

If you were to convert a more modern muscle car, improving the power could be challenge. But I don’t see why someone would spend the money on a powerful car, such as the Hellcat and rip out what you just paid to use. You can however, convert V6 versions. Definitely a performance improvement. Now imagine converting a tuner, like a Skyline, Supra or S2000.

We Are Nothing If Not Efficient (and clean)

This should go without saying, but electric is more efficient than gas. Motor>Engine. Batteries>Gas Tank. According to the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “EVs convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.” Yes, converting to electric obviously makes you “green”.

That’s just the using the energy. What about the by-product? Electric motors produce heat and not much else. Compare that to a combustion engine with heat and exhaust. Electric is cleaner than any combustion engine car. The difference is only greater when you convert older classic rides.

Bottom Line

The case for conversion is simple. In no particular order:

  • Less complicated drivetrain
  • Lower lifetime cost / maintenance costs
  • Unique
  • Almost infinitely upgradable
  • Better performance (if you want it)
  • More efficient and clean

What others did I miss? What car you dreaming of converting to electric? Reach out on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

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