The Electric Vehicle Revolution

Is the End in Sight for the Internal Combustion Engine?

 While you might not love the idea of electric vehicles (better known as EVs) or acknowledge the importance they currently serve, let’s get one thing straight—they are here to stay. This is evident more than it ever has been due to the sheer amount, quality and variety of electrified cars and trucks on display at the 2021 SEMA show. 

Now, we aren’t talking about factory-built electric powered vehicles that are currently on the road such as Tesla models and various smaller cars from just about every major auto manufacturer. While these did help with pave the way for where the electric marketplace it is today, we were paying closer attention to the conversion projects that were in attendance—and sheesh, there were a lot of them!

Of course, the type of “conversion” we are discussing is the actual change over to full electric power from internal combustion engines. The vehicles that received the most attention at the show weren’t even brand new car and truck model offerings—it was the retrofitted classic vehicles that made the biggest impact as a whole.

One particular build that stopped us in our tracks was the 1978 Ford F-100 Eluminator pickup. This thing looks like a regular classic truck, only with a slight electric twist. The build features two Ford Performance Parts’ Mach E electric crate motors as well as matching components from the Ford Mustang Mach E GT electric SUV, which is a great production EV to take note of.

Now, some folks might mistake the word “electric” for “weak,” but the F-100 Eluminator truck is anything but sluggish. The dual Mach E electric motors crank out a combined 480 horsepower and 634 lb-ft of torque. Yep, those numbers are correct. Add that with the truck’s custom chassis by the Roadster Shop, and you’ve got yourself one performance-minded electric pickup that could change the way you think about these battery-powered conversions.

Those who enjoy true off-road vehicles must have got a kick out of the vintage Toyota Land Cruisers that showed up. There was also a great Ford Bronco built by Gateway Broncos at the show that does the 0-60 dash in about 4 seconds, while maintaining a 300-mile range on a full battery charge. Its e-motor also boasts a similar horsepower output that would rival a high-performance V-8, which is certainly impressive. These types of electric conversions might be some of the most unlikely candidates as they have the most to prove, but it just goes to show that EVs don’t have to be boring, slow or lack reliable power and utility.

 These types of electric conversions might be some of the most unlikely candidates as they have the most to prove, but it just goes to show that EVs don’t have to be boring, slow or lack reliable power and utility. 

On the flip side, this new breed of EVs doesn’t stop at classic retrofit conversions. Ford introduced the all-electric 2022 F-150 Lightning, which has already begun rolling out on the streets. EV pickups will soon become commonly available when shopping for a new truck, which will be an interesting option to weigh out indeed.

GMC also unveiled the Hummer EV “supertruck” prototype that features an insane 1,000+ horsepower rating as well as an upgraded wheel and tire package, an air suspension system and everything else necessary to conquering rugged off-road terrain. Again, local dealerships should soon start offering these complete and ready to rock direct from the factory.

Across the board, there were more types of EVs at the 2021 SEMA Show than any year in the past. Yes, it is a sign of things to come. No, you should not be afraid of it. There are a number of conversion options for classic trucks if you feel the desire to electrify your ride. At this point, these kits are ultra reliable and can realistically be a part of your next project. Price points can range higher than typical engine swaps, so don’t expect to get off cheap going the EV route.

With gas prices the way they currently are though, plugging in could be more cost efficient in the long run than remaining reliant on the fuel pump. That same rationale has to be taken into consideration when considering purchasing one of the new production EV trucks as well—only time will tell.

While EVs aren’t for everyone, electric motors do show the potential of being the next big thing in customization. There has even been some buzz about these types of builds being the next hot rods, but we won’t move too fast too soon here, although there is no denying the level of quality and excitement that was on display at SEMA ’21.

We’ll be looking forward what the electric offerings will look like this year, but until then take the time to familiarize yourself with the term “frunk,” as it will soon enough become a regular addition to the pickup truck vernacular.


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