Design

Can't wait for an electric Bronco? Zero Labs will convert the original

Take a classic Ford or Land Rover but make it eco-friendly. And insanely luxurious. And extremely, wildly, unbelievably expensive.

Zero Labs

Some people dream of having the money to buy a supercar. Others dream of one day having the time to restore a classic. I want neither. I want the money to pay someone else to turn a classic into an electric vehicle, and I'm in no hurry. That "someone" could be Zero Labs. The pricetag? At least $185,000.

Zero Labs will turn all sorts of classic muscle cars, roadsters, pick-ups, or other dream-mobiles into emissions-free beauties complete with Rolls Royce-level deluxe interiors. But it's especially eager about hyping up its electrified first-gen Ford Bronco and its Landrover Series III, both of which its offering in "beach" variants with canvas tops. And with "Eames-inspired" interiors like the one pictured below, who can blame it?

A starter button, cupholders, and other modern conveniences with a nonetheless classic look.Zero Labs
Both the classic Bronco and Land-Rover are available in "Beach" or "Classic" versions.Zero Labs

No half measures — Zero Labs is no two-bit conversion house that just jams an electric motor and a few batteries into classic car shells. Instead, it engineers every aspect of its vehicles from the ground up, starting with a "laser scan" of the original vehicle's body and frame, a discussion to determine "range, power, safety and technology goals," and intensive testing. That level of attention also means the end results tend to outperform the originals.

Even better than the real thing — The electrified Bronco can be had with either an 85 or 100 kWh battery (both 400V). The larger capacity option results in > 235-mile range. Its peak power output of 400 kW is — as Zero Labs brags — a whopping "464 percent improvement" over the 1966 original's comparatively puny 78 kW. Meanwhile, the 600 Hp on offer is a 471 percent increase from the original.

Traditional looks with a contemporary feel.Zero Labs

We'd argue the interior is substantially more compelling than the original's, too. And considering how involved you can be in the design process, if there's a particular accessory or feature you've always dreamed of putting in your 4x4, Zero Labs can likely accommodate it.

Beating Ford to an electric Bronco — Ford's 2021 Bronco has racked up six-figure pre-orders and it's clear there's a plug-in hybrid version coming, but there's no mention of an all-electric model, despite vehicles like the forthcoming Cybertruck, Rivian's all-terrain trucks, and BMW's forthcoming lengthy roster of electrified SUVs.

But none of those, not even the Cybertruck, will get you the sort of unsolicited conversation from strangers a restored and electrified 1966 Ford Bronco will.

Outrun the wind, or get recharged by it.Zero Labs

If money were no object — What would I buy if money were no object? My electrified classic fantasy isn't an apocalypse-ready offroader, nor is it an early Porsche with some contemporary touches. Nope, what I'd like is a plug-in version of the car Enzo Ferrari once (in)famously called "the most beautiful car ever made," a Jaguar E-Type.

Jaguar will happily make an all-electric E-Type for roughly £160,000 ($200k) at its Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works facility in Coventry, England, complete with upholstery cut using the original E-Type's patterns and with every part made to match the originals as closely as humanly possible. Should I ever find myself with that sort of money, I'll likely get a quote from it and one from Zero Labs. Because even when you're loaded it doesn't hurt to shop around.

Of course, if I ever come into that sort of money I'll likely buy something from Zero Labs regardless. Because what better feeling would there be than turning the ultimate guilty pleasure into an ecologically guilt-free one?

The classics never go out of style.Zero Labs
Good-looking from all angles.Zero Labs
The Zero Labs marque will have purists horrified, but intrigued.Zero Labs