Rich vehicle collectors are increasingly converting their classic internal combustion engine vehicles into electric cars. During the recent luxury car show in Monterey, California, certain affluent auto collectors exhibited a variety of electrified classic cars as part of their collections, indicating the growing trend of electrification amid wealthy vehicle collectors.
Electrifying diesel and petrol-powered cars has been around since the early 2000s, when workshops and garages began equipping old cars with jerry-rigged batteries and electric vehicle systems. Long before the global electric vehicle revolution began, car engineers and enthusiasts had determined some of the benefits provided by electrification and were jerry-rigging old cars to include electric technology.
In fact, the original mass-market electric vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, was modified from the chassis of a fossil fuel-powered Lotus Elise sports car. Now that the United States, along with other major nations and most large automakers, is set on transitioning to electric cars, the process of electrifying old internal combustion engine cars is gaining more legitimacy, especially among wealthy drivers who can afford the process.
This included an electrified version of a Porsche 911 sports car from the 1990s owned by American businessman JB Straubel. Famed actor Robert Downey Jr. has also developed a TV show documenting the process of converting his entire collection of cars to EVs; the program debuted on HBO last month.
For most electric vehicle companies, their intended market is the average drivers who make up the majority of vehicle users on the road. The process of replacing an internal combustion engine and all related components with an EV battery and electric drive train can be tricky, but it certainly is doable. However, tapping into wealthy clients who prefer to electrify their classic ICE cars rather than replace them with new electric versions could prove to be a lucrative opportunity.
Drivers who opt to convert their fossil fuel-powered cars into EVs will notice that the vehicle performs quite differently once the transition is complete. For starters, electric drive trains deliver a lot more power compared to ICE engines, allowing for greater torque and faster acceleration. However, the additional weight provided by the EV batteries shifts the center of gravity and gives driving a different feel.
Everrati, the company responsible for the electric Porsche at the recent luxury car show, handles the extra weight by replacing the car’s heavy steel paneling with lighter carbon fiber. This results in the electrified vehicle’s overall weight being less than the original model. Everrati founder and CEO Justin Lunny notes that the company’s production methods are meant to extend the lifetime of classic vehicles in a clean, sustainable way.
These classic car conversions may help draw additional awareness to electric vehicles, and the long-term effect would be for startups such as VinFast Auto Ltd. (NASDAQ: VFS) to sell more EVs to the motorists who view electrified classic cars and become interested in owning their own EV.
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