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Watch Zero Labs convert an old rusty truck into an EV in 24 hours

EV designer Zero Labs has shared demonstration footage of its proprietary EV platform designed specifically for classic cars being implemented on a 50-year-old truck. In a process it’s cleverly calling “retrobution,” the company electrifies the truck in just 24 hours. The video offers evidence that classic gasoline or diesel vehicles from previous decades can successfully be converted to fully electric versions to help reduce emissions.

Zero Labs is a Southern California-based EV design, technology, and engineering firm taking a unique and resourceful approach to electric vehicles. Founded in 2015, the company has set out to adapt existing classics toward zero emissions, rather than develop and manufacture new EVs. This quest is especially timely, as many countries look to ban traditional ICE classics this decade.

Last year, Zero Labs made headlines for converting a first-generation Ford Bronco and a Land Rover Series III into electrified versions using modern materials while maintaining each vehicle’s classic look. This includes aerospace-grade carbon fiber components, and Zero Labs’ unique electric platform. In Zero Labs’ latest press release, CEO and Founder Adam Roe states:

While billions have been invested in breakthrough clean energy technology that is 10, 20, even 50 years away, the total projected volume for new and legacy manufacturers in 2025 is 7.9M units and many won’t have vehicles on the market until 2024. Best case, new EV sales represent only 5% of what’s needed. New cars are not enough.

Two previous full EV conversions from Zero Labs featuring Ford Bronco and Land Rover Series III trucks

Zero Labs’ latest EV conversion video

Most recently, Zero Labs released a video of what it’s calling the world’s first complete electric platform designed specifically for transforming classic gasoline and diesel vehicles into EVs.

Like their complete premium classic electric vehicles introduced in 2019, the Zero Labs classic electric platform is designed to seamlessly marry to the original customer-owned classic vehicle to produce the best of both worlds. The soul of the past meets a clean energy future.

The video outlines the climate catastrophes our world is facing, and explains that current automakers going electric over the next decade is not enough. Zero Labs states that there are 20x more classic cars on the road today than all electric vehicles ever made, and being able to bridge that gap between the two worlds is crucial to truly reaching zero emissions.

So Zero Labs finds a rusted 50-year-old Ford Bronco, and converts it to its EV platform in just 24 hours. While it’s not a complete transformation like Zero Labs continues to sell, the video showcases how seamless certain classics can be electrified. The cosmetic stuff can come later. Adam Roe elaborates:

Our customers consistently feel about buying new electric vehicles is they have no soul, no personal history. Vehicles converted on our platforms are upgradable and built to last decades, while simultaneously producing an extremely safe but covert electrical drive system. The result is a clean energy vehicle with the soul of a premium classic. We face a challenging future, but if we can transform even a rusted old truck like this in 24 hours, hundreds of millions of classic vehicles we love can change the world.

Zero Labs truck
“Before” images of the rusted truck before it was converted in the EV platform

The Zero Labs Classic EV platform

The Zero Labs platform will initially be made for four primary formats: SUVs, pickup trucks, muscle cars, and two-door coupes, supporting a variety of popular models and years for each format. As for the demonstration model, Roe explains it best:

The platform we chose for the transformation was one of our top-of-the-line CAN computer-controlled independent front and rear suspension and an optional 600HP dual motor configuration. Electric performance includes digital telematics, VCU and CAN Network, 200+ mile range, and Level 3 DC Fast charging, electric assisted Brembo 6 piston brakes, controllable air ride suspension, and speed-sensitive rack and pinion electric steering. Everything else including the bespoke wasp nest in the glove box was as it was originally found.

Zero Labs truck
Zero Labs’ EV platform being installed on the old truck

Zero Labs expects the power and performance technology to improve in the future, and that is why it’s designed its platform to be upgradable. Additionally, older batteries will be downcycled. According to Zero Labs, a full vehicle conversion would take longer than the 24 hours demonstrated in the video, though. Truthfully, each vehicle would need complete alignment and testing, but the process is no doubt faster than any previous methods.

Looking ahead, Zero Labs will continue to develop full EV restorations on specific classic vehicles like the trucks above. Furthermore, it will now expand its EV conversion of the four traditional ICE formats using its EV platforms. You can view the full truck conversion video from Zero Labs below:

Zero Labs Automotive – Retrobution from ZeroLabs/Vimeo.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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