Long before there were production EVs like the Nissan Leaf or the Tesla Model S, automotive hobbyists all over the country were playing around with converting gas-powered cars and trucks to electric vehicles, initially with lead acid batteries but more recently with lithium ion batteries obtained from a wrecked EV or from a battery manufacturer.
This Saturday, August 13th, several of those converted classics will be on display at La Vida Volta! — an EV expo sponsored in part by Xcel Energy and CDOT. The free, family-friendly event runs from 10 to 3 in the lower North lot at Red Rocks.
The day before there will be a first-of-its-kind “Educational Conference for Performance EV Conversions” at the nearby Origin Hotel Red Rocks. That event is sold out, but you’re welcome to attend the car show on Saturday.
The conference and the Saturday car show are produced by a venture with the clever name of Ohm on the Range. (If you’re not familiar with the word ohm, which rhymes with home, it is a measure of electrical resistance.)
Speakers at that conference include men and women who have converted the following cars from gas-powered drive trains to electric drive trains: a 1999 Jeep Wrangler, a 1980 Subaru Brat, a 1982 Scrambler, a 1965 Mustang, a 1972 Plymouth Satellite, and a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. Those and many other EV conversions will be on display at Saturday’s event.
Converting a gas-powered car to an EV is often done by taking the drive train from a wrecked Tesla, Nissan Leaf or other EV. Alternatively, DIY hobbyists can purchase new electric components from aftermarket companies with names like Electric GT, reVolt Systems and Netgain Motors. Saturday’s expo will also feature some of the newest OEM offerings from Lucid, Rivian, Polestar, Ford, Kia, Nissan and Chevrolet.
We’ve had one or two EV conversions show up for the EV Roundups which we sponsor each April and October. This event dedicated solely to conversions should be fun!