The Non-Replacement for Displacement

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Tesla thinks it has the replacement for displacement – for the V8 engine in your classic car, truck or project car. It is a “turn key” – if electric cars had keys – electric motor that supposedly bolts directly in place of a factory V8 engine and transmission, tying in to the existing driveshaft and rear axle.

It even has the general shape of a V8/transmission combo.

What it doesn’t have – in addition to any soul – and which isn’t mentioned or rather explained in the deliriously fellative coverage (including even Motor Trend) is a battery pack to run the thing. Which is like a crate V8 without pistons only worse because it is easy to install a set of pistons in a V8.

It is not easy to install a battery pack in a vehicle that was never designed to house one.

Electric cars that aren’t converted cars are designed from the floorpans up around their battery packs, out of necessity – because of the size of them. The pack is spread out over the length and width of the vehicle’s floorpans, so as to leave room in the car for passengers and cargo. Electric car conversions have to find room for the batteries – which generally have to go in the trunk or where the back seats used to be.

Maybe in the bed, if it’s a truck conversion.

This will eat up a lot of room for the passengers – and cargo. If it’s a truck, with a battery in the bed, you’d better not load the bed without first having reinforced what’s under it – as putting – dropping – heavy objects onto an EV battery pack risks damaging it and that risks a fire.

Which risk will increase, regardless, in a vehicle never designed to safely house an EV battery pack. Wherever you manage to fit the thing, it will be vulnerable to damage in the event of a crash and thus, to a fire – unless the whole car/truck is re-engineered to safely house the battery pack.   

Which will add more weight to the 1,000-plus pounds of battery pack necessary to power an electric V8.

That Motor Trend could overlook all of this is mute testimony to the sorry state of automotive journalism especially. How can a car publication be so obtusively fellative?

Much attention is given to how much power (550 hp!) the non-replacement for displacement generates. But how will it generate any power without any power?

An electric motor is a kind of translator of power – converting electricity into propulsion via its motor. The same being true, of course, for a gasoline-burning V8, which converts gasoline into propulsive force, via combustion.

The difference is that 20 gallons of gas stores far more propulsive power – and doesn’t take up nearly as much room (or add nearly as much weight) as 1,000 pounds of electric batteries.

To refine it a little further:

A gallon of gasoline weighs about six pounds, so 20 gallons weigh about 120 pounds. Assuming 25 miles per gallon – most modern V8s are capable of this – we have a range of about 500 miles – about 200 miles farther than the longest-range factory-built EVs can travel on a single charge – at about 15 percent the weight penalty.

Without the wait.

How far will your electrified classic car or truck go on no batteries? Where will the batteries go? In the bed? In the back seat? How will this affect the balance (and handling) of the result, assuming you don’t mind having a backseat or bed full of batteries? If the resultant conversion weighs 1,000 pounds more than it weighed when it had a V8, the brakes will need to be upgraded, unless you don’t mind not being able to stop

How about the vitally important cooling system needed to prevent an electric battery pack from “bricking” in the cold (and being capable of receiving a charge, in the cold) and to prevent it from overheating – and catching fire – when it’s hot?

How about the electronics necessary to supervise the delicate process of recharging, without which an EV cannot be “fast” charged – or rather, without which an EV is very dangerous to “fast” charge?

Motor Trend is silent.

Well, not exactly silent. The round-mouthed writer exults in the “wonderful creation” that is “gunning” to replace displacement.

Well, let’s see.

A crate V8 weighs about half what an electric battery pack weighs – most modern V8s being made of lightweight aluminum. It has its power infrastructure  (gas tank lines, etc.) already installed and is ready to go. It is – to borrow a term –  “plug and play.”

The non-replacement for displacement just makes you pay.

Motor Trend lists the price for the aptly-named Revolt(ing) motor: $11,900 – sans the 1,000-plus pounds of batteries, the cooling system it will need and the electronics needed to run the works – assuming you can find a place to put those 1,000-plus pounds of batteries.

This is like buying a house without plumbing or wired for electricity – with the foundation already poured and the walls already dry-walled.

Have fun with the conversion.

So how much more will you pay to “electrify” (and silence the soul) of your previously V8-powered classic car, truck or project car? Figure at least another $5-$8k for the battery pack, which will then have to be Frankenstein’d into the chassis somehow, somewhere – plus the same for the cooling system for the battery pack plus the necessary electronics and then paying someone to hook it all up and sort it all out, which is likely beyond the capabilities and tool-kit of the typical do-it-yourselfer and you’re probably looking at $25k, all in.

Meanwhile, you could have purchased a literally “bolt in” crate V8 from any  of several suppliers – such as Summit Racing or JEGS – for $4,500-$5,500. These are “turn key” engines, ready to run. There is no need to spend more to get them running – unless your vehicle needs a new gas tank and lines, cooling system and so on.

And there’s no need to fill your back seats or bed with batteries, either.

Elon’s Musk is potent. It has the power to incapacitate the victim’s critical thinking ability. It renders him soft and pliant, a goofy smile on his face as he huffs the heady scent emitted.

Including, apparently, the writers at Motor Trend.

. . .

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34 COMMENTS

  1. I read somewhere that Ford is also going to offer an electric “crate motor”. I hope no one buys either. Prob a few car mags or expensive custom shops will do a few; and no one else.

    • Hi Anon,

      “Crate” electric motors make even less sense in classic cars as the engine in a classic car is its literal beating heart. Rip that out and you have a shell that moves. It would look different than a modern car but it would not be different.

  2. With an internal combustion engine, you use the energy-dense output of the massive chemistry set in Baytown. With battery/electric, you bring a different massive chemistry set with you just so you can avoid using the energy-dense output of the massive chemistry set in Baytown, because it is icky. Yep, seems like good commie logic to me!

  3. The truly pitiful part is that the US government is directly responsible for the amount of driving being done. Whether by intent, or coincidence, the Interstate Highway system put much of the by far most efficient means of land transportation out of business. The rail roads.

    • They’d have died a SLOWER death, but passenger rail transport was already on its way out, mainly due to the AIRLINES. This was kicked into gear by the end of World War Two, as the Army had THOUSANDS of C-47s, now surplus, along with a lot of spare engines and other parts. Many regional airlines got their start or greatly expanded thanks to acquired a dozen or so surplus C-47s and converting them to passenger liners.

      It’s not as if the freeway was unknown prior to the Interstate System, either, the first one being opened for traffic in Pasadena, CA, in 1940. Already several “parkways” were in operation in the Northeast. What got the Interstate Highway system going was Eisenhower…he saw first hand the German Autobahn, which had just several hundred miles built thus far, but already greatly facilitated the movement of army vehicles…mainly the US Army, since the Heer lacked gasoline, mainly, and was, for all practical purposes, still either RAIL-bound, or relying mainly on HORSES. Ike wanted an American version, and they were dubbed “America’s DEFENSE highways”, for facilitating rapid troop movements across the country. The biggest political resistance was from Southern DEMOCRATS, who saw this new Federally-funded highway system as a boondoggle that mainly benefitted the West and Mid-West, then GOP strongholds, but as far as they were concerned, the US and State highways their Soutnern states already had were sufficient, and they didn’t want many a town’s businesses by-passed by these new-fangled freeways.

      Americans didn’t want transportation “efficiency” to be determined by others, they wanted the MARKET to figure that, and, save for certain high-traffic routes in the Northeast, rail transport just didn’t cut it anymore.

  4. I keep getting posts promoting “Win An Electric Porsche 912” on my farcebook feed. The 912 is a great chassis, lighter than a 911…well, at least before the battery pack. If you want to upgrade a 912 you take out the 4-cyl Porsche engine and drop in a 4-cyl turbo VW with 300~hp.

    I can only imagine how that battery powered “912” handles. As my boss would say, “Turd Bucket”

    • They’ll tax the hell out of anything related to the operation of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Registration fees with skyrocket, tax on gasoline will skyrocket, etc.

  5. Yeh, the “drop-in” e-motor is fairly ridiculous. That said, I would really enjoy your reviewing a Tesla 3 performance or an S Plaid! They’ve been tearing up the “Ring” in Deutschland lately…

    I can see a case for owning one, if they weren’t so pricy. If you have a convenient south-facing roof or space to set rack in the yard, you could charge the thing with solar panels and big batteries. This guy is doing it: https://youtu.be/wNBpJa_2rdw

    Need a battery storage to run at night, of course. Most states have rebate/incentives too!

  6. ‘Elon’s Musk is potent. It has the power to incapacitate the victim’s critical thinking ability.’ — eric

    Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) acquires a whole new unintended meaning, half a century on.

    The acid test is: are you reckless enough to swallow the Electric Kool-Aid and park one of these incendiary devices in your garage?

    Better Call Saul … *wink*

    • Not shameful. That’s the free market. Try until you succeed.

      Problem is that the market is anything but free, what with all of the interference from the 80,000 governments in this country putting themselves between two consenting parties.

      Did anyone need a Pet Rock? No, but the inventor made millions.

  7. There were electric street cars in Pittsburgh when I was a kid. They are considered light rail and ran off power lines over head. Is it remotely possible that an electric cable buried in a highway could charge a moving electric car battery by induction? I charge a number of electronic devices wirelessly.

    • Costs big money to run cables. Plus they’ll need maintenance, screw up plowing and will still be pretty inefficient. Plus you’ll be stuck at whatever max power they wish to energize the lines to, which will pretty much lock in speeds.

      If they really want to make a dent in carbon dioxide emissions, let the railroads build stationary nuclear plants at key points along the rails, with an option to sell into the grid. Then just add catenary lines. I think most rail engines can run on overhead lines with a pantograph added, since they are already diesel electric traction motors. Then make it easy to run passenger traffic to airports and regional hubs.

      Oh, but that would require regulatory reforms so a nonstarter.

      • Yep, the cables idea is absurd. But so is concern about CO2 and the promoting of “nuclear plants.”

        CO2 is only about one-half of one percent of the atmosphere. More CO2 = More Crops, more nice plant growth. Zero negative effect on humans. We could double or triple CO2 in the atmosphere with zero negative effect on humans. CO2 is not in any way “pollution.” And the whole “greenhouse gas” –> “global warming” –> “climate change” is one continuous criminal hoax, i.e. LIES.

        “Nuclear power” is the most heinously absurd invention for boiling water yet built. Power isn’t magically converted from radioactivity into electricity. The radioactivity is HOT, which boils water, which drives the standard electricity-generating turbines used in the normal gas-fired and coal-fired electricity plants and in the gravity water-driven production of electricity. Gas- and coal- and oil-fired plants are safe, and we know how to limit the pollution to insignificance.

        Do a search on Hanover nuclear contamination, which is just for starters. Oak Ridge. Fukushima. Chernobyl. Every “nuclear power plant” and every nuke waste storage facility deliberately vents radiation into our environment. They must be vented so as not to build up pressure and explode.

        The (((media))) lie by omission in regard to “nuclear power” — akin to Motor Trend’s lie by omission about (((their))) darling Musk’s latest crap, as well exposed by Eric.

  8. Far from being practical it seems like the watermelons are just getting their ducks inna row. Good ol slimy stinkin Musk is right on the ground floor of the next mandate with something whiz-bang and hip. You see Eric. They’re not going to force you to stop driving the orange pumpkin! Just a little ask! Upgrade it to pumpkin plaid. It’ll be faster and with a whole 30 miles of range with the gas tank sized drop in battery pack. Who needs more than 30 miles in megacity 1 anyway? When you convert your old clunker it saves me from climate catastrophe and when I convert my clunker it saves you. Surely there will be a IRS reach-around on the purchase price and a super helpful app to calculate your fair share mileage tax.

    These people make me sick. I pray for mad max over whatever utopia the demons are conjuring up.

  9. I saw a show where a vapid beverly hills woman had a vintage mercedes convertible converted to electric – I believe the conversion cost was around 50K. She was soo happy in her ruined car.

  10. A Public Hearing Notice with my electric bills yesterday:

    “The overall request would raise a typical residential customer’s bill by approximately 11.97%.”

    “These [reasons for the proposed rate increase] include investments in the Ameren Missouri system as part of its Smart Energy Plan, and the addition of two wind production facilities used for compliance with Missouri’s Renewable Energy Standard…”

    So a 12% rate increase so we can be like Texas. Except we have a lot more cold weather than Texas.

  11. Oh Yeh….The magic word “bolts.” GM just announced that owners of the Chevy Bolt should park their EV at least 50 feet away from other vehicles in case the battery goes up in flames(see ZH article).

    • Would love to know how this is going to affect insurance payouts. If some diaper wearing liberal does not heed gm’s warning and parks their bolt in an enclosed parking garage around other vehicles and the bolt spontaneously combust. Will the insurance pay out or is the liberal virtue signaler on the hook for all the damages?

      Also liberal mentality on this is it’s all us ICE drivers fault. Their ev would work if we all drove ev’s. Us ICE drivers are putting their ev’s at risk.

      • Haha, yes: all those fires constitute an epidemic of the unelectrified. Makes as much sense as what they’re saying about the frankenshots.

  12. ‘That Motor Trend could overlook all of this is mute testimony to the sorry state of automotive journalism especially. How can a car publication be so obtusively fellative?’ — eric

    I’ve been reading ‘EV conversions are the future’ articles for a couple of years now, both in the motor press and in general interest publications.

    Like vaccination harangues, it’s a full-scale onslaught, with seeming total coordination among the woke hive mind. But one should be cautious about taking automotive advice from round-mouthed (touché!) toadies of the anti-carbon crusade, promoting an insidious agenda.

    If someone wants to butcher their classic vehicle so that it don’t drip yucky oil onto the spotless epoxied floor of their 5-car garage in Rancho Palos Verdes — why, be my guest! Reportedly EV chop shops in Cali are booked till the Second Coming.

    But which classic vehicles command the highest honors at Pebble Beach, or the highest prices at the Kendall-Jackson auction? It’s the bone stock ones — not merely with matching numbers on the major components, but right down to OEM stickers on the radiator, water hoses, and oil filler cap.

    Like dead-tree newspapers, the motor press is rendering itself irrelevant with its cringeing surrender to the woke mob. Ol’ David E Davis — co-credited with the iconic slogan “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet” — wouldn’t have put his name to EV-pimping sludge, I reckon.

    In everyday situations, rather than the conventional “How are you?”, Davis was known to ask “Is your life a rich tapestry?

    That was a mighty long damned time ago.

    • p.s. Every.Single.Time:

      The White House said California Workplace Safety Chief, Doug Parker, will lead OSHA as the assistant secretary of labor.

      The role took a great importance due to the pandemic as the Biden administration prepares to issue COVID-19 safety regulations. [i.e., mandatory vaccinations in companies with >100 employees]

      Parker leads California’s Division of OSH and previously worked at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) during the Obama Administration. He also began his career as an attorney at the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). — oshonline.com

      Attorney — check.
      Union — check.
      Obama — check.
      California — check.
      Biden — check.

      Yeah, I’m profiling. Me so bad …

    • Jim:
      And when Chevy’s Bolt EV battery burns up like a pack of firecrackers, one can toast those weenies and apple pie up fresh in the baseball stadium parking lot. GM could call it a hot new way to tailgate…..

  13. A simple solution would to have the battery hitched to the vehicle, a drive shaft, and tow the battery until it needs to be charged, then swap one out at the battery charging store. Some kind of electro-mechanical engineering can be made to work and be functional with fewer failure rates.

    The battery won’t be underneath your seats or wherever they are located and if the pack ignites, it will automatically disconnect from the coach and four wheels. You can coast to a stop and be safe.

    Probably not a rectifying solution, but there has to be one in the future if electric cars are to sell in massive quantities Conehead style.

    As long as there is gasoline, I’ll have an ICE vehicle as the first choice. New tires, new oil, you’re good to go.

    EVs tend to cause some anxiety in their current build design. Has to be something better than Copart selling used and salvage Teslas by the hundreds of listings.

    https://www.copart.com/vehicle-search-make/tesla

    China has large deposits of anthracite and they will burn it to generate electricity until the cows come home.

    Some food for thought:

    “Freedom is a basic human right recognized by the United Nations and international treaties, and is the heart of social justice.

    Freedom is an engine of economic and human development, and scientific and technological advancement.

    Freedom ameliorates the problem of mass poverty.

    Free people do not suffer from and never have had famines, and by theory, should not. Freedom is therefore a solution to hunger and famine.

    Free people have the least internal violence, turmoil, and political instability.

    Free people have virtually no government genocide and mass murder, and for good theoretical reasons. Freedom is therefore a solution to genocide and mass murder; the only practical means of making sure that “Never again”

    Free people do not make war on each other, and the greater the freedom within two nations, the less violence between them.

    Freedom is a method of nonviolence–the most peaceful nations are those whose people are free.”

    https://hawaii.edu/powerkills/welcome.html

  14. 9 kW in your backpack: https://fusionflight.com/arc/

    Says you can stack units together, so a “V8” of these would be 72 kW, about 96 HP. Add in a super capacitor or battery bank for launch/boost and you might have an interesting experiment. Pretty brutal 25 hr maintenance schedule (not specified what that consists of), so probably wouldn’t want to daily the thing though.

  15. If he offers a modular gas turbine drop in maybe I’ll consider it. I want the old Rumley Oil Pull guarantee tho,

    “Guaranteed to burn successfully all grades of Kerosene, under all conditions, at all loads up to its rated brake horsepower”

    • Sounds like a great idea, but how about a steam engine conversion like the old Stanley Steamers’? Then you could burn just about anything with the correct burner. Coal fired anyone?

      • I always wanted a steam traction engine. But I don’t have the money, the room, the ability to truck it to shows, etc. And, they require annual inspections (ultrasound to look for micro-fissures) and the operator has to attend a school & get licensed to run the boiler. Wish I could take the Jay Leno approach & pay someone to do the hard part so I could have all the fun.

        • My Dad worked with steam engines on the farm as a young man. He would have loved to own one in retirement, but didn’t have the means either. So he went to shows. Lots of shows. At one of them he spotted the gas tractor that he had when he was doing custom wheat threshing. He knew it was the one because of the pencil marks he had put on the throttle.

        • I have to imagine that working for Jay Leno in that shop has to be fun time. Even when things go sideways it has to beat the snot out of a regular job. Sure it’s work when things are more difficult but you get paid to play with all these toys in the end. And playing with them is more than just driving them, but taking them apart, maintaining them, putting them back together etc…

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