Zero Labs will let fans turn classic cars into EVs – for a (substantial) price, of course


Some people really, really love their classic cars and, honestly, it’s not hard to see why. But it’s getting harder and harder to repair and maintain them and, also, it’s more difficult to remain environmentally responsible while doing so. But Zero Labs, a EV outfit in Los Angles, California, might have the answer you’ve been looking for.

If, that is, you’re okay with getting rid of the whole ‘runs on gas’ part of your classic car. And by ‘classic’, Zero Labs means vehicles that were built before 1975. And by ‘getting rid of’, we mean ‘converting to a completely electric platform’.

Zero to Hero

Zero Labs is offering access to its electric platform to members of the general public (who can afford it). Conversions are available for classic 4x4s, two-door coupes, muscle cars, as well as pickup trucks (that’d be bakkies here at home), with the transformation taking 30 days to execute.

At the end of it, drivers will have an EV that still looks like whatever bit of classic motoring history went into the shop. But inside, it’ll have electric motors, one of two batteries (85kW or 100kW) and a range of up to 376km. The latter will depend on the profile of the car body dropped on top of the EV platform, though. Less aerodynamic models will see that range drop. It’ll also have all the other running bits replaced. Everything from the brakes to the suspension and chassis are swapped out for something more modern, while hanging onto the original exterior and interior of the vehicle.

If you’ve got the kind of money that’ll allow you to ship a classic car to Los Angeles so that its chassis can be replaced with a full EV platform, you can get hold of Zero Labs here. The company’s workshop will open for limited conversions next year and slots will probably disappear fast, regardless of the eventual cost. Pricing isn’t available yet but Zero does offer electrically-converted classic Land Rovers to buyers and those’ll cost you about R2.8 million. Each. Don’t expect a wholly custom job to be much cheaper.

UPDATE: Zero Labs got hold of us to let us know that the “…[price of using the]platform is designed to be considerably lower than the complete rebuilds”, so if you’re looking at redoing your pre-1975 hardware, it’ll cost you less than a pre-made full conversion mod. Just what that price actually is they’re not saying yet, but we’d be happy with ‘cheaper than almost R3 million’.



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