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  • Writer's pictureCarwam

Reviving Classic Cars: The Electrifying Trend of EV Conversions in Los Angeles

LA’s Car Culture and the Classic Car Revival Movement

As the epicenter of car culture, Los Angeles has been at the forefront of the classic car revival movement. These iconic automobiles, often from the 1950s and 1960s, continue to inspire and captivate car enthusiasts across the country. However, with the growing concern of environmentalism, the trend of classic car EV conversion has taken root in Los Angeles, a city where car culture and environmental awareness converge.

Classic Car EV Conversion and its Advantage

Classic car EV conversion is a process in which traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles are transformed into electric vehicles. The conversion process includes swapping out the engine, fuel system, and exhaust with an electric motor, battery pack, and controller. This process has many advantages, including reduced maintenance, increased reliability, and most importantly, a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

Environmental Concerns in Los Angeles

Los Angeles' poor air quality due to high population density

As a densely populated metropolis, Los Angeles has some of the worst air quality in the United States, leading many car enthusiasts to turn to electric conversion to lower their environmental footprint. The conversion process can take anywhere from three to six months and can cost around $15,000 to $20,000, depending on the vehicle's age and condition.

Conversion to electric power as a way to reduce environmental impact

Many Los Angeles residents have converted their classic cars to electric power, including some iconic vehicles such as the 1965 Mustang, the 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, and the 1972 Dodge Challenger. The demand for this type of service is only expected to grow as the popularity of electric vehicles continues to rise.

Conversion Process and Cost

One company in Los Angeles leading the classic car EV conversion charge is EV West, founded by Michael Bream, who started as a builder and tuner for electric race cars. EV West has become a leading provider of electric vehicle conversion kits, including for classic cars. The company has successfully converted vehicles such as the 1969 Porsche 912 and 1965 Volkswagen Beetle.

EV West's conversion process involves replacing the engine, transmission, and fuel system with an electric motor and a custom battery pack. The vehicle's suspension is also upgraded, including brakes, sway bars, and shocks to ensure optimal performance.

Classic Cars Converted to Electric Power

The company has also ventured into electric race cars, which they say offer the potential for quicker acceleration and improved handling, even compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts. The company has produced several award-winning electric race cars, such as the 1968 Ford Mustang and the 1978 Porsche 911, that compete in events such as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Another Los Angeles-based company, Icon, specializes in creating custom, hand-built vehicles with modern drivetrains, including EV conversions. The company has made headlines in the past with their restomodded Ford Broncos and Toyota FJ Land Cruisers, but they also offer electric conversion services. Icon has converted several classic cars, including a 1965 Ford F-100, which they converted to electric power and renamed the "Derelict."

The Derelict is a perfect example of how electric conversion can marry classic style and modern technology. It features a 400-horsepower electric motor, Tesla batteries, and a custom suspension system. The vehicle can achieve a range of up to 200 miles on a single charge, and the performance is comparable to a gasoline-powered vehicle. Icon's conversion process is a complete custom solution, including an all-electric powertrain, updated suspension, and other upgrades.

Electric GT, located in Chatsworth, CA, is another company that specializes in electric conversions, including classic cars. Electric GT is known for converting high-performance vehicles, such as the Porsche 911 and the Tesla Model S. However, they also offer classic car conversions, such as the 1970 Camaro RS.

Advantages of electric conversion for classic cars

The 1970 Camaro RS conversion includes an 80 kWh battery pack, an AC electric motor with a maximum power output of 500 horsepower, and a 5-speed manual transmission. The vehicle has a range of up to 200 miles and can reach 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds.

Beyond the conversion process, one of the biggest benefits of electric conversions is that they provide a second life for classic cars that might otherwise be scrapped or left to deteriorate. Electric conversions can extend the lifespan of a classic car, and with modern technology, make them more reliable, efficient, and enjoyable to drive.

In addition, converting classic cars to electric power can offer some unique advantages, such as instant torque, silent operation, and lower maintenance costs. Electric motors can provide immediate acceleration, while eliminating the need for oil changes and other maintenance procedures associated with traditional gasoline engines.

Overall, classic car EV conversion is a trend that is only expected to grow in Los Angeles and other cities around the world. The combination of classic style and modern technology is proving to be a winning formula for car enthusiasts who want to reduce their environmental impact without sacrificing performance or style.

Expected Growth in Classic Car EV Conversion Trend’s Power and it’s Impact on Sustainability

Los Angeles is an ideal location for classic car EV conversions due to its car culture, environmental consciousness, and the number of specialty shops and suppliers in the area. As more and more classic cars hit the road with electric power, the streets of LA will become a more sustainable and eco-friendly place for all to enjoy.

In conclusion, the trend of classic car EV conversion is taking root in Los Angeles, and for good reason. As a city known for its car culture, but also its air pollution, electric conversion offers a solution that marries style, performance, and sustainability. With several companies specializing in custom electric conversions for classic cars, there has never been a better time to convert your classic ride to electric power. Whether you want to extend the life of your classic car, reduce your carbon footprint, or just have a unique and exciting driving experience, classic car EV conversion is a trend that is here to stay.


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