Zero Labs’ all-electric Bronco blends tradition, technology, and deep pockets
Electrifying classic cars is nothing new, but the idea has certainly gained momentum in the past year. The phenomenon hit the world stage when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drove an electrified 1968 Jaguar E-Type to their wedding reception last May. One month earlier, BMW presented a one-off electric Mini, which is based on a 1998 model. And we took a more in-depth look at electric conversion shops last summer.
Bottom line: All-electric classics are not only a thing, but when done right they’re very cool, and one avenue to keep old cars alive in a modern world.
Exhibit A: Los Angeles-based Zero Labs’ all-electric classic Ford Bronco. Reimagined but instantly recognizable, the recently-unveiled electric Broncos are based on 1966–77 models. They are powered by a Borg Warner brushless electric motor with a 70-kWh battery that promises up to 440 horsepower and a range of 190 miles (charging time is not yet available). The Zero Labs conversions also feature a five-speed manual transmission, two-speed transfer case, part-time/full four-wheel drive, adjustable Fox shock absorbers, and Brembo brakes.
The interior features bamboo and leather, as well as classy but minimalist gauges and gear shifter. The vehicles will retain their Ford and Bronco badging, so it’s important to note that the trucks are considered restorations, since only Ford has the right to produce a Bronco and attach its name to it. (Ford is doing exactly that, by the way; it announced earlier this year that it plans to relaunch the Bronco in 2020.)
Each donor vehicle is registered to the DMV and will have to pass inspection after its gas-burning engine is removed and the restoration work is completed. Zero Labs says it will restore only 150 examples.
You can learn more through a series of videos on the company’s website. The dialogue in the introductory video focuses on protecting the environment while remembering our past, and how we can get both through the purchase of an all-electric Bronco:
“Classic vehicles represent how we keep our past alive… the spirit of who we are… a conflict between pride and shame… a symbol for change. Zero Labs introduces the soul of the past and a clean energy future… 100% electric, carbon fiber, off-road suspension… The Past, Remade for Tomorrow.”
Zero Labs’ website says the Broncos are designed to be low maintenance and environmentally friendly, while offering “superior luxury and refinement. Our goal is to offer everything you love, minus everything you hate.”
Actually, you may hate the price. While final pricing has not yet been determined (or revealed, even), Zero Labs explains, “We expect our customer has owned classic vehicles in the past and done their homework, knowing pricing for a premium Ford Bronco restoration can run from $160,000–$300,000. Our vehicles are very different, and we expect the first-edition Zero Labs production models to be within 10–15 percent of the premium Ford Bronco restoration market, depending on options.”
If our calculations are correct, that puts the price at $136,000–$144,000 on the low end and $255,000–$270,000 at the high end. Ready to take the plunge? Zero Labs is accepting reservations, with no money down.
If you’d rather go the traditional route, Icon has its own ideas about Bronco restoration, although that won’t be cheap, either.