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This article was published on December 7, 2020


Turn your beloved classic car into an EV — just bring-your-own-body

What would you have made

Turn your beloved classic car into an EV — just bring-your-own-body
Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Here at SHIFT, we think electric cars are great — obviously. But we’ve got a particular soft spot for classic cars that have been converted to have electric drivetrains.

Sadly, it’s complicated to bring a beloved vintage motor into the 21st century with batteries and electric motors. Though EV conversion specialist Zero Labs is looking to change it with its “classic electric platform.”

Put simply, it’s a complete and ready-to-go electric car chassis, which only needs a body to be placed on top and the controls connecting up.

zero labs, electric, cars, future, ev
Credit: Zero Labs
The Zero Labs platform is a fully functioning, ready-to-go electric car, all it needs is a body dropping on it and it’s pretty much good to go.

According to Zero Labs, this platform can be used to replace the drivetrain of classic muscle cars, two-door coupes, 4x4s, and pickup trucks.

Unlike other classic car conversions which only replace the engine, gearbox, and fuel tank, the platform replaces all the running gear, including brakes, suspension, and chassis.

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With that in mind, you can be sure that it will have the handling characteristics of a modern car.

zero labs, platform, future, car, ev, electric
Credit: Zero Labs
The Zero Labs platform would change your classic car into a modern unique performance vehicle.

The platform can be spec’d out with either an 85 or 100 kWh battery. The bigger of the two is good for up to 235 miles of range, but that could be hugely affected by the aerodynamic profile of whatever body is placed upon it.

While Zero Labs isn’t trying to turn classic cars into quarter-mile monsters, it claims some impressive power figures.

The company says it can deliver 400% more power than the original power train in cars made before 1975. In other words, it has about 600 horsepower, that’s delivered by two motors.

It’s important to note that this platform is much more than just a bunch of electric car parts that you bolt a body to. It has remote diagnostics so Zero Labs can perform maintenance over-the-air.

It also has regenerative braking, fast-charging capability, on-board thermal management, and a four-year guarantee on the motor and battery. Essentially, with the Zero Labs platform, you’re buying a complete electric car, but one that gives you the freedom to decide how it should look.

There’s no word on prices, but don’t expect it to be cheap. Zero Labs is taking inquiries for production slots next year.

While the platform does introduce some standardization into the world of classic car to EV conversions, it’s still a very niche product and won’t be manufactured on the same scale as mainstream EVs.

Zero Labs already offers EV conversions of old Ford Broncos and Land Rovers, and those start from about $185,000.

For now, it seems EV conversion still won’t come cheap, but they do remain very, very unique.


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