The electric car revolution at SEMA trade show

The Ford Mustang Lithium makes 900bhp and 1000 lb/ft of torque, more than the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, the present highest horsepower production Mustang in history.

The electric car (EV) has taken on a strange duality. Originally designed for frugality epitomized by the Toyota Prius, EVs have been co-opted by the performance crowd, first generating the holy trinity of hypercars, the LaFerrari, Porsche 918, and the McLaren P1. Blazingly fast, these three were proof of concept that electric power is for more than saving gas. Yet, true petrol heads have been avoiding EVs, criticising their lack of real-world driving excitement amongst other reasons, thus it might have been sacrilegious to unveil these two EV powerhouses at the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ford Mustang Lithium

New for 2020, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 makes a supercar- threatening 760bhp and 625 lb/ft of torque from a supercharged 5.2-litre V8. But the one-off Ford Mustang Lithium takes those numbers from the traditional internal combustion engine and laughs at them. As the name hints at, the Lithium is all-electric having its gasoline drivetrain scrapped for a dual-core electric motor fed by an 800-volt electrical system. The numbers a staggering 900bhp and 1000 lb/ft of torque.

The car is a one-off, but the parts to do the conversion are available for those wanting to do the conversion themselves.

This electric performance beast doesn’t just stop there. The car retains its six-speed manual transmission for the driving purists and sends power to the rear wheels only. It’s not just a straight line machine. Lowered one inch on 20-inch Forgeline wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, there’s grip in corners too. Carbon fibre body panels help counter the weight gain from the electronics. The Mustang Lithium was created as a partnership between Ford Motor Company and Webasto to showcase the latter’s battery technology and will never be officially on sale. However, the parts are available for those wanting to convert their Mustangs to run on photons instead of fuel.

StreetFighter LA 1977 Porsche 911

What could be more about pure driving pleasure than a classic Porsche? Owners still fume about the brand’s transition from air-cooled to water-cooled motors over two decades ago, so much so there is a division between the two groups. The reality is that while many are in love with classic cars, it’s still more about nostalgia through rose-coloured glasses, as many old cars weren’t really that good in terms of reliability and convenience, especially when put up against a modern car. What many remember and are drawn to are the aesthetics. They may love the older designs, but ignore the horrible gas mileage, the lack of safety features, the oil leaks and overheating.

Crushing every stereotype about EVs is this 1977 Porsche 911 powered by Tesla running gear from StreetFighter LA and EV West.

There is a huge resto-mod community out there, companies that take beloved classics and updates them to modern standards. What California- based tuner StreetFighter LA and EV specialists, EV West, have done is push that market into the future while simultaneously angering Porsche and automotive purists alike by wiping away any excuses they would have against EVs. On the surface, EV West’s 1977 Porsche 911 looks like the perfect restoration. Refreshed from the ground up the bodywork is mint with the addition of bodykit from Japanese Porsche masters Rauh Welt Begriff (RWB). Filling out the extra side dimensions are equally large and wide BBS wheels. Inside, tartan fabric, leather and a wooden steering wheel complete the classic look.

It’s what underneath that has sent everyone into a frenzy. Answering another EV criticism, rather than sitting in some landfill so that people can complain about the lack of environmental sustainability of EVs, the 911 uses Tesla parts, engine and battery in the factory locations. The Porsche’s rear-engine, rear-wheel configuration is still there, with the batteries up front. Classic truth versus modern reality sees the electric Tesla-powered Porsche 911 making 563hp, three times that of the 1977 flat-six engine. To help it stop and go around corners as a Porsche should, it uses the suspension which is tuned to mimic a Porsche GT3.

— Article written by Nichola Beckford