Zero Labs has introduced a range of electric vehicle platforms specifically meant to underpin 1947–1975 classic cars, trucks, and SUVs. The Hawthorne, California, company plans to start offering the conversion beginning late in 2021 and has plenty of options available.
Its RWD platform is powered by a 300-horsepower electric motor driving an independent rear suspension through an open differential. A 600-hp, AWD platform meant for trucks and SUVs combines a similar rear suspension with another motor powering the platform’s independent front suspension. Each corner of the chassis will use either Fox Racing coilovers or an adjustable air suspension. The base battery pack will bring 85 kWh and 200+ miles of range, while an optional 100-kWh battery increases range to 235+ miles.
Zero Labs is touting the benefits of its platform over electric crate options that will soon be more widely available, noting thats its setup has has 280 amps of regenerative braking, on-board charging, and that it’s all-inclusive with a chassis, battery pack, and cooling system that’s designed to all work together. That means it doesn’t require any electronic know-how on the part of the owner, either.
The company plans to do conversions in-house, beginning with first-generation Ford Broncos and expects the price of its first builds to be around $185,000. Each conversion will come with a four-year, 50,000-mile battery and drive unit warranty.
The platforms, which surround a lithium-ion battery in a TIG-welded steel chassis, are custom-tailored for each application but are initially intended for pre-1975 coupes, muscle cars, pickups, and SUVs. The model year cutoff seems a bit strange; in California, 1975 model year and earlier gasoline cars and trucks are exempt from bi-annual smog checks, but logic would suggest that any vehicle that converts to fully electric propulsion wouldn’t have any emissions whatsoever.
We imagine that Zero Labs will soon have competition, as there are lots of other restoration shops that have experience with electric vehicle conversions, including one that has extensive experience with Broncos.
Naturally, there will be plenty of classic car fans that prefer to shy away from an all-electric classic car experience. Zero Labs is cool with that— it knows full-well that its restorations aren’t for everybody. So while we love internal combustion, we’d rather see a classic body restored and on the road than junked or hidden away, to encourage new drivers to get excited about our hobby—no matter the powertrain.