Home Retrofitters Electric car conversion, the past revisited by Zelectric Motors

Electric car conversion, the past revisited by Zelectric Motors

by Retrofit-Daily

In California, the electric car conversion with reversible electric motors is a serious business. Notably with Zelectric Motors created in the summer of 2006 by David Bernardo. His goal? To mix the past and the future. A look back at a few successes, including that of the electric Porsche 911.

Porsche 911 electric
The Porsche 911 retrofitted by Zlectric Motors to win in a raffle.
Photo: Zelectric Motors

Zelectric Motors, a story that starts in 2006 in California

Retrofit-Daily takes you to San Diego, California, to meet David Benardo, founder of Zelectric Motors. It all starts for him in the summer of 2006. David thought “Wouldn’t it be cool to mix the past and the future? To graft the future onto retro cars? Bingo, what a great idea!

A nice German design combined with a high performance electric powertrain. It’s unheard of at the time, scandalous for some. But he wanted it in his garage… so the adventure began.

The electric car conversion with reversible electric motor

Over the years, Zelectric Motors has specialized in the conversion of thermal vehicles into electric vehicles. But not just any beetle… Electric Beetle, electric Porsche, electric combi, Karmann Ghias… the famous models of the 50’s and 70’s have been adapted to the driving of the 21st century and 100% electric with a fully reversible engine. 

Propose a new driving experience. To choose and equip each vehicle with meticulously tuned and improved mechanical components. From the suspension, to the brakes and from the headlights to the windscreen wipers… 

Each vehicle is smoothly transformed while preserving its heritage. Each vehicle is transformed by hand. With two and a half employees, the company on a human scale deliberately remains in a customised production. Each vintage car deposited by its owner remains unique and transformed to order.

Electric Combi
The electric suit retrofitted by David Benardo.
Photo: Zelectric Motors

Electric Porsche 911 and Electric Beetle, the winning duo from San Diego.

The two most requested models for the electric conversion are the Porsche 911 electric and the electric beetle. 

The reason is simple for the old VW “Beetle”. The parts are readily available and their value continues to rise over time. The best versions to convert are the models built between 1958 and 1967. The best decade where “collectability” and vehicle handling are combined. 

Read Also: The incredible raffle of the electric 911 Porsche

Antique electric cars brought by their owners, but not that…

If you are interested in converting one of these famous German models into an electric vehicle, but don’t have the chance to own one, Zelectric Motors will find one for you. 

For a vehicle already owned by its owner, the basic price of the electrical conversion (Beetle, Ghia…) is $62,000. 

The electrical retrofit of a vw combi or Porsche usually costs between 68,000 and 85,000 dollars. 

With a full order book for the next 18 months, Zelectric Motors is prioritizing Porsche or vintage VW owners first.

Zelectric Motors and Icon, a landmark partnership in the history of electric 4x4s

A beautiful partnership was born in 2018, between Zelectric Motors, specialist in electrical conversion on the one hand, and Icon 4×4 preparer specialist vintage 4×4.

The two Californian companies have embarked on the project of the electric retrofit of the 4×4 volkswagen type 181. 

As a result, there are many bridges to be imagined between enthusiasts of old mechanics and electric cars… 


Project of the volkswagen type 181 converted to electric to discover here:

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