Q&A Converted Model T – Electric Speed Shop


Be sure to check our article all about Shockwave Motors and their Defiant EV3 RoadsterTM here. In this article we are going to talk about their conversion of a Model T!

Why did you choose a Model T for a conversion?

Actually, it is owned by someone else and they contacted us about doing the conversion.  The engine was not original and they had to stop add water to the radiator every mile or so.  They decided they wanted it converted to electric power.  They even had us mount a speaker under the hood to replicate the original engine sounds.

Did you have to perform any restorations prior to your conversion? How about modifications for handle battery weight?


The Li-Iron Phosphate battery is located under the front seat for easy access and we did add braces to make sure the chassis could support the weight of the batteries.

Were there any unique challenges with this conversion given the age of the Model T? Did the lack of modern components, such as computers make any aspects easier?

It was a straight forward conversion.  The only significate engineering and fabrication was to mount the motor and connect it to the original differential.  To keep the look and feel as original as possibl

Are you able to share the final specifications of the build? Final weight, 0-60 time?

We’ve estimated the weight to be about 1500 pounds.  In this case, we were not able to drive very fast.  We checked the speed with a GPS system on my phone and took the Model T up to about 45 miles per hour.  The Model T was still using the original wooden spoked rims and after more than 100 years, they are a little warped.  You can actually see them wobble in some of the video! 


How long did this conversion take, from the initial design to the final test?

From initial conversations concerning the specifications the owner had in mind to our last test was about four or five months.

Are you able to share what parts you used (like an HPVES motor, and tesla batteries) and why you chose them?

560-1-1-5467619 This Model T is now an electric machine! and green. You can be too!

In this case, the owner specified an AC drive system, and the simplest layout possible.  So we used an HPVES motor and Li-Iron Phosphate batteries configured to provide a 72-volt system.  We used a Battery Management System (BMS), 72-volt to 12-volt converter, and a custom programmed, 72-volt onboard battery charger. Speed and range were not critical since this will be used as a “ride” at local events.


I saw on twitter you contacted Guinness World Records to enter for the world’s oldest electric car. Are you now a world record holder or still waiting? 

We submitted the application to Guinness World Records and I am sorry to say they rejected us.  They did not want to establish such a record.  Apparently it was not nearly as exciting as showing people, “Most clothes pegs clipped to the face in one minute.” Having said that, we have searched the internet and not found an older car of any kind converted to electric power – we I believe we hold the “unofficial” record.

What are your plans for the electric Model T now? Car shows? Competitions?

The owner plans to show the Model T and local events, parades, and car shows.

The goal of The Electric Speed Shop is to open a full-time conversion / aftermarket EV garage. Any tips for getting started?


One of the biggest challenges I see is education.  People seem to have unrealistic expectations and think building a custom EV equaling the performance of a commercially available EV is “cheaper” than buying even a used one.  The simple truth is building a custom EV is more expensive in many cases.  These days, I have had a number of people tell me they want to go at least 200 miles at 75 MPH; one guy wanted to do this in an almost 7,000 pound Hummer!  Talk about having the aerodynamics of a brick!  Ten or 15 years ago, people had more realistic goals for a conversion; Go 50 or 60 miles per day and with a top speed of about 60 miles per hour.

What challenges do you see in the future for the conversion market?

See above – educating people to what a low cost EV conversion can realistically accomplish.

Where can we learn more about Shockwave Motors, your Model T conversion and contact you?

You can find us at www.ShockwaveMotors.com and www.ElectricCarConversions.biz 

https://vimeo.com/300974572 Model T Video

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