One thing is for certain…
Electrification is the way of the future. There’s absolutely no denying it. Many OEMs have promised full electrification in as soon as 10-25 years time – some even sooner. There has been a good amount of debate within the automotive community about the subject of electrification. Most of the time, the discussions are very polarizing. Not everyone is on board with this, but perhaps if we helped shed some light on the subject, it might be more exciting than dreadful. After attending the 2021 SEMA show, everyone brought their electric A-game. From small startups all the way up to companies like Ford & GMC, a good amount of vendors were showcasing their entries into the world of electricity. Today, I’d like to show you some of these vendors & products. Join me on a trip through SEMA 2021 to look at the future of electric vehicles:
OEM Standouts: Ford
It became very clear, very quickly that Ford has their eyes on an electric future. Their display featured a mix of their new vehicles. Some featured internal combustion engines such as the new Maverick & several variants of their popular F-series trucks. On the other hand, for every ICE vehicle, Ford seemingly brought an all electric alternative. Spread across their massive booth were variations of their new Mach-E, which were surrounded by Ford’s iconic blue color at every angle.
Ford also unveiled a game changing drop in unit called the “Eluminator.” This electric motor creates 281 horsepower and 317lb-ft of torque as its pulled straight from a Mach E GT. This makes the kit no slouch, especially when you consider combining one unit in the front and one at the rear for nearly DOUBLE those numbers, as well as AWD. This kit was such a huge hit at the show that as of this writing, it’s sold out of the first production run with more on the way.
Ford also proved that form can play well with function. A good portion of the electric vehicles on display were modified a significant amount. The Mach E above is fitted with some nice Vossen wheels and air suspension. One of the coolest parts is that the builders utilized the Mach E’s frunk area by fitting the management, compressors & hardlines all up front. Smart thinking like this means drivers can still utilize their regular trunk space without much sacrifice elsewhere.
Ford knows how to party. Their Mach E RTR has 1,400 horsepower on tap. One of the absolute quickest accelerating things I have ever seen. Check out this article to see more sideways action from SEMA.
GMC brought a few of their latest EV offerings. Hummer is definitely back in a rather unexpected way. Available as an EV only, the new Hummer is crushing the old stereotype of being “non-eco-friendly.” The new Hummer comes with over 600awhp, so it is no slouch. 0-60 takes just 3 seconds – in a car that weighs over 4 tons. That’s the power electric torque can deliver.
Picture this: what if you could have an EV with a manual transmission? Well, that’s what Jeep is proposing. Their Magneto concept features a 6 speed manual transmission mated to an all-electric drivetrain. This drivetrain actually produces similar results to their V6 ICE model. With more low end torque on offer, this could help off-road situations.
Ford most definitely was not the only one offering EV conversion kits. There are plenty of exciting vendors offering complete kits for just about any vehicle. I spoke with the team at Ampere EV about their DeLorean conversion. Turns out, you can drop one of their kits into any vehicle you can imagine. This makes for a universal swap and could breathe new life into an old car. The original powertrain in the DMC 12 is not the most powerful or exciting engine of all time. Therefore, swaps like this make it more “worth it” in terms of performance. Think about it – instant torque in any car.
This Electric GT powered Porsche really impressed me because at first, I didn’t even know it had been converted. That’s the beauty with these swaps – stealth. Not only are they quiet, but no one will know what you’ve got until you’ve left them off the line. 435 electric HP in a classic widebody Porsche? Sign me up!
I’d like to make a point about these units. They are in most cases smaller than traditional ICE alternatives. As battery tech improves, we should see a reduction in size & weight there as well. Right now, we are at the point where you can relatively easily swap over to EV components. As time goes on, tech will get better & things will keep improving. Our electric future can only get better from here.
This RyWire S2000 is fully electric thanks to a Tesla drivetrain swap. Yes, these guys really turned an S2000 into an all electric missile. The guys at RyWire have done a spectacular job on this car. Everything is executed to a high degree of detail.
Reviving The Classics
There was a theme at SEMA of EV swapped classic cars. The idea being, you can breathe new life into an old project. This classic Bronco above, for example, is one of the cleanest restomods I have seen. It’s nice seeing cars like this get a new chance at life. EV conversions simply open the doors to new & exciting drivetrain possibilities.
Another Electric GT powered classic. With their increasing popularity, I anticipate seeing some of these out on my local off-road trails soon. Personally, I think electric motors off-road is a fantastic idea. Immediate, low end torque from 0 RPM. Plus, you can mount batteries down in the chassis, making for a lower center of gravity. I’d love to attend a demonstration to see how they handle.
Tesla swaps seem to be popular as well. This widebody C10 Tesla swap is currently setting the internet ablaze. The truck features multiple Tesla Model 3 motors making it incredibly quick. The performance of EV swaps like these are what gets me most excited about the future. Sure, you don’t get the growl of an LS or RB engine, but you get all of the immediate performance. Personally, I enjoy my cars loud & the feeling of an ICE is definitely something I would miss on something like this.
Should you be worried?
With the way things are headed, an electric future is inevitable. That’s just the way it is shaping up to be. However, EV’s don’t have to be boring. If anything, SEMA teaches us that EV’s can be cool. Sometimes, EV’s can be even better than their ICE counterparts. For now, let’s all enjoy what we have and look to the future for inspiration. Will combustion engines be outlawed? Maybe one day, who’s to say? – but that’s not the point I’m trying to discuss right now. If this is what we have to work with today to enjoy our race cars tomorrow, then I’m all about it. Perhaps coexist should be the word of the day here.
At the end of the day, EV’s are the way of the future. We are currently seeing more and more companies make the shift globally. But as proven at the 2021 SEMA show, it’s not all doom and gloom. Rather, as long as we remain creative, we will have options going forward. Truth be told, there are a lot of unknowns, but we can all hope for the best for this seemingly electric future.
Keep in mind, these are mostly my opinions – I’d love to hear yours as well.
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Text & Photos by Ben Battles