Most electric cars are cool, right? They're efficient, low-maintenance and usually have high torque and surprisingly impressive pickup. But they're often decidedly very modern. Sometimes too modern for my taste. Like you're floating around in a minimalist, glowing orb designed by Zaha Hadid.
There's a reason why we turn our heads when a well-maintained classic car drives by. Or why the Valet. editors love posting them on our Instagram. Because they're beautiful and have, I don't know ... soul? The design of classic cars were the work of designers unburdened by such constraints as aerodynamic drag coefficients or corporate conglomerate group think. Instead, they dreamed up cars that reflected the mood and styles of an era.
So why not combine the best of both worlds? That's the plan by one Southern California upstart auto-restorer. Zero Labs is a company with a mission to produce excellent all-electric versions of classic cars. Its first classic? The Ford Bronco—a fine choice, considering the auto world is eagerly awaiting the legendary SUV's return in 2020 after a nearly 25-year hiatus.
The design is an impressive and tasteful combination of original details and modern upgrades. Built on an original chassis, the silhouette of the body is instantly recognizable, down to the reworked grille that pays homage to the original. The body is constructed from carbon fiber and aluminum, while the interior pairs walnut and bamboo, along with metallic accents and your choice of leather or vegan upholstery. The all-digital display, which recreates some of the original gauges, illustrates a deft attention to detail. It all makes for a cabin that's utilitarian yet handsome.
Under the proverbial hood? A BorgWarner permanent magnet electric motor that boasts an impressive 369 horsepower. It's powered by a 70kWh lithium-ion battery with enough juice for nearly 200 miles of driving. That's plenty for daily commutes and your weekend off-road adventures. What's more, it's available in part time/full four-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission. Which is something you hardly ever find in a modern electric car.
"I wanted to provide car lovers with both the spirit of the past and a clean energy future," says Zero Labs founder Adam Roe. "I'm proud to say, after three years, hundreds of thousands of hours and tests, we have created a meaningful production vehicle so unique that one look is all it takes to change the way we separate the relationship between our personal past and the future."
Zero Labs will make just 150 of its debut Bronco. And while the final price is TBA, the company judiciously reminds us that hand built motor vehicles and classic car restorations don't come cheap. "We realize this isn't for everyone," says Roe. "That's okay, because we could never make enough for everyone." Car lovers who've done their homework know that premium vehicles like this can run between $150K to $300K. Then again, think of all the money you'll save without having to shell out for gas.
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