American start-up launches electrified classic Ford Bronco

by Felix Page, Autocar UK 27 Apr 2019

California-based EV start-up Zero Labs Automotive has unveiled a re-engineered classic Ford Bronco with an electric powertrain. 

The electric version of the iconic 1965 4x4 features a brushless permanent magnet AC motor producing 277lb ft of torque and 434bhp – a 500 percent increase over the original straight-six petrol engine. 

Power is sent to either the rear axle or all four wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox, marking a break from convention for EVs, which typically make use of a single-speed transmission.

Zero Labs' first production vehicle stores its power in a 70kWh lithium-ion battery pack, making it good for a claimed 190 miles (305km) of range.

Despite significant modification to the original chassis, the electric Bronco is said to retain 1000 original parts.

The model's renowned off-road capability has been preserved with the installation of a two-speed transfer case, high-performance front and rear differentials, adjustable coilover suspension and Brembo six-piston disc brakes, while the styling has been recreated with newly fabricated carbonfibre body panels, which are claimed to be fitted with 4mm of tolerance. 

Buyers can specify bespoke interior material options, with a range of sustainable and vegan-friendly finishes available. A digital instrument display features, but it has been designed to mirror the shape of the original analogue display. 

Those interested can now place a reservation through the company’s website. The initial production run is limited to 150 units. 

Zero Labs says the electric Bronco was designed over the course of three years to be low-maintenance and environmentally friendly, with the ability “to be enjoyed now and well into the future”. 

Zero Labs founder Adam Roe said: “A clean energy future doesn't have to come at the expense of our past.

“We have committed ourselves to provide car lovers with both the spirit of our past and a clean energy future but at today’s standards.” 

The electrification of classic cars is a growing trend; Aston Martin now offers reversible electric powertrain conversions for classic models, Jaguar sells the E-Type Zero and an electric classic Mini has been put into limited production by Swindon Powertrain.