One of the world’s leading custom car creators is flicking the switch to electric.
After making his name with wicked V8-powered hotrods and restomods, Dave Kindig – frontman for the Kindig Customs television show – has made the battery-electric switch for his newest private ride.
It’s a fresh take on his passion project, a modern reimagining of the classic 1953 Chevrolet Corvette called the CF1.
The regular run for the carbon fibre-bodied CF1 comes with a 485kW V8 engine but his personal car is silent, electric and stupidly quick.
“Don’t hate me, but I got addicted to torque a couple of years ago,” Kindig told CarExpert, speaking from his Kindig-It Design office in Salt Lake City in the USA.
The result is a lightweight carbon-fibre roadster with more than 4000Nm of torque, now called the ECF1.
“So that’s fully electric. No gas (petrol) engine assist at all,” he said.
Kindig is not predicting a wholesale shift to electrification for his custom car business, which is busy with up to a dozen hand-built creations each year, but can see a future for a small run of the ECF1.
“I plan to offer that as an option, instead of the gasoline version. You will be able to buy one electric. It should be available to order next year,” he said.
He said he is happy to have a battery-electric car in his garage.
“It is a blast. It’s something different to get used to, because the the power and torque is instant. As soon as you hit it, it’s instant,” he said.
“Horsepower is great but, really, the magic is the torque.
“That will rip. If I could get it to hook-up, that car would physically hurt to take off.”
Kindig said he is not planning it, but believes the ECF1 could be built in right-hand drive if a wealthy buyer – with more than $600,000 to spend – wanted one for Australia.
His company has done several Aussie projects in the past, including a custom one-off golf buggy.
“I could do anything. It’s just cubic dollars,” he said.
“Really, honestly, it’s a pretty simple set-up. Just the rack-and-pinion (steering). But I know that’s been done, so, okay.”
The story of the ECF1 plugs into a couple of specialist electric companies based close to Kindig-it Design in Utah.
“I actually took number three of the CF1, which is my personal CF1, which you get to see in Season 10 (of Kindig Customs). But I’ll give you a little sneak peek,” Kindig said.
“Hypercraft is the company that did the electric motor. They actually built a Baja 1000 truck for an Australian racing team that won their class a couple of years ago.
“Hypercraft is actually about 35 miles (56 kilometres) south of my shop. I worked with them and … Cascadia Motion controllers.
“That probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to anybody that doesn’t know electric. Even I’m still learning.
“But it’s 60 kiloWatt hours and 800 volts. It has 580 horsepower (432kW), 3065 pound-feet of torque (4155Nm).
Kindig has been track testing the ECF1 and is clearly impressed.
“I’ve actually raced the car as fast as I wanted to go through chicanes and corners. As fast as I wanted to go and I was only running the car at 38 per cent,” he said.
But he is still working on one crucial key to the car – the sound.
“There is absolutely zero sound. That’s probably the hardest thing to get used to.”
He knows that sound is part of the visceral appeal of any performance car and has a solution.
“I’m actually putting in a second sound system, run off the speed signal and the throttle position. You’ll be able to adjust that on your phone because everything (in the CF1) is Bluetooth,” he explained.
“Then you’ll be able to change the sound. I can make it sound like the Jetsons (car). I’m gonna make it sound like the black hole, that just came out from NASA.
“It’s ominous. So we’ll be able to make it sound like a Top Fuel car if you really care to. So it’d be really cool.”