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BangShift Question Of The Day: EV Hot Rodding…Do You See It As The Future?


BangShift Question Of The Day: EV Hot Rodding…Do You See It As The Future?

It wasn’t the biggest story of SEMA…that had to have gone to the Quintin Brothers’ Challenger theft/pursuit/recovery tale that led to a wicked, 1,000 horsepower Dodge with body damage and crime scene tape stealing the show on the floor…but it was one of the biggest talking points: the EVs that were on the floor. There was an entire section of floorspace in the South Hall dedicated to EV tech, with Don Garlits’ “Swamp Rat 38” sitting front and center. There was the Chevrolet E-10 concept truck with a display of the prototype stackable motors sitting next to it. There was the Mustang Lithium concept parked on a plinth in Ford’s inside display. There were Teslas here, there and everywhere, including the Optima Ultimate Street Car row between Westgate and the Convention Center. You could also find a Chevrolet Bolt that would join in the competition as well. Manufacturers are embracing EV tech faster than you probably would’ve suspected…but what about show-goers, both official and those that we all know sneak in thanks to the buddy hookup? What did they say?

I hung around the Mustang and E-10 for a little bit, eavesdropping in on conversations. I talked with one of the engineers on the E-10 program. I talked with a couple of spectators who were inspecting the parts and the program. And the result: not only was it all positive, but there seemed to be genuine excitement over the whole deal. The whole time I was present, I heard not one dark word. People were praising the move forward. They were asking deep questions about the workings of the system. And the engineers were excited to explain their work to the public. Compare that to last year, when Chevrolet showed off their 1973 Chevelle Laguna build with the LT-5 V8 and the only time I saw an engineer get wound up was the moment he realized I was about to salivate on the paint.

Photo: Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational via Facebook

The one thing that GM’s engineers are excited to do with the E-10 is to take it on Hot Rod Magazine’s Power Tour next year. Keep in mind, the E-10’s system is basically two Chevrolet Bolt battery packs, stacked, feeding about 450 horsepower worth of electrical motors to an automatic transmission. With a five-second 0-60 MPH time and a quarter mile run in the thirteens, performance wise it slots in between a stout small-block and a fresh, mild big-block. For speed, there’s no lacking. For range, they’re expecting something like 260-ish miles per charge (on-par with the Bolt)  but if they can run one battery at a time and keep the truck in a modest power setting, can they stretch out that figure? Can you have your cake and eat it too? Would it be worth the investment for an older vehicle build?

So, for today’s Question of the Day, I ask you: can you see EV hot rodding as part of the future? Can you see a way, any way, where an EV car can possibly be fun or even the one you’d want to drive as your ultimate ride, or is there too much of the soul of the ride removed in that conversion? I’m asking now, because one way or another, I suspect it’s something we’ll be facing sooner than later.


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14 thoughts on “BangShift Question Of The Day: EV Hot Rodding…Do You See It As The Future?

  1. Dave Pristasch

    Unfortunately, one day the only way you’ll be able to enjoy a classic car is if it has an electric conversion. Hopefully I’ll be taking a dirt nap by then!

    Reply
  2. Brian Cooper

    Range anxiety.

    When I can charge a battery in the same time it takes to fuel a conventional car, and still have a 300 mile range, I will be interested in electric cars.

    Until then they remain an in town novelty in my eyes. I drive a LOT for work as an appraiser. Range anxiety is the number 1 issue with battery cars for me.

    Reply
    1. Brian Cooper

      The truck GM built is full of electric motors in the front, and the bed is full of battery packs. So it’s a 2 seater with no luggage room but the size of a full size truck? The technology just isn’t there yet for conversions.

      Reply
      1. Steve

        I saw it at SEMA & thought the same thing. Not a fan. Sure they can accelerate quick, but a hot rod is also about sounds and smells of a petroleum-powered engine.

        Reply
  3. Len

    Maybe not the entire future, but certainly part of it. People have proven over the last 100+ years that they’ll modify pretty much anything with an engine or motor – why should this technology be any different?

    Reply
  4. Gary

    The future should be detirmined by the marketplace, not governments. Electric vehicles may be the future, but the fact is that today, they are more harmful to the environment than our currently used methods. A Toyota Prius has a larger carbon footprint than an H2 Hummer! Not the little H3, but the H2! Being an old guy, I guess I could see having one as a family ride, providing the range and speed of charging matched what our current expectations are for conventionally fueled vehicles. But even though, in what is essentially their infancy, they have shown themselves to be blindingly fast (see: the video of the Tesla kicking the Hellcat’s ass), I wouldn’t want one for my hot rod. It’s just not right!

    Reply
    1. David Sanborn

      *SIGH* I don’t know where guys like you get your information. EV’s are far better for the environment, with a slight deficit during manufacture and a HUGE return on them as the miles pile on.

      PS If it wasn’t for the government making the effort, we’d never have gone to the moon. Or had Social Security. Or the internet. Sometimes it takes a commitment to a very distant ROI, and this is where government intervention shines.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/05/20/are-electric-vehicles-really-better-for-the-environment/#7e2123b676d2

      https://www.autoblog.com/2016/05/10/minnesota-ev-pollute-less-than-gas/

      I’d post more links, but I’m sure you’ll ignore them or label them false.

      Reply
  5. Patrick

    No. Probably end up being forced to drive one as a daily by laws and the government but have zero interest in racing one or hot rodding one. Big deal, its fast. Everything is fast nowadays. I like racing and driving a car with a manual, no nanny settings, and a price to pay mechanically if I screw up by missing a shift, etc. Too easy to go fast today actually, no skill left. Auto braking, traction control, no shifting, etc just sit there and say “Wheee” like the little pig on TV. You can get the same effect at K1 Speed go karting for less. I am not afraid to tackle electrical projects or upgrading a computer, just derive no joy from it. Everything will be basically the same underneath anyway, electrical motor and a bunch of batteries, not that exciting.

    Reply
  6. john

    back in the 60’s one of the car mags did an article on the future of electric cars. somebody needs to find that article and do a reprint.
    as far as going electric, it doesn’t fit into drags racing for me. local shopping maybe.

    Reply
    1. Pizzandoughnuts

      I guess I’d like to find out what the push is for this form of power, it has the same problems as a IC engine. Maybe they think that self power, fully contained, zero pollution is truly possible, or that the laws of physics do not apply here. As we move into the future I guess we forget that even walking cost something.

      Reply
  7. tw

    Yes they are fast , but electrical motors are basically all the same , so there is not much to do ,no more creativity, wich is Hot Rodding all about . Maybe the new generation will get into it , maybe not .

    Reply
  8. Matt B

    It’s all about the pendulums, baby. The automotive industry at-large is a plump kid looking at cake through a bakery window; they gotta have it. And right now! Electric will be chic for the foreseeable future until we all collectively get wood for nostalgia again. Or predictably, we will find that Mother Early did not open her womb up to us for saving the planet with our eMotors, batteries and inverters like we had hoped. Be sure to horde some flat-top pistons and other bits; they will be gold one day…GOLD!!

    Reply

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