Classic cars may be beautiful and exciting to drive but pollute and are hard to maintain. Austin, Texas-based Moment Motor Company electrifies classic vehicles, making them cleaner, easier to maintain and more fun to drive. Auto Futures talks to Founder, Marc Davis, who reveals how the company electrifies classic cars and trucks.
“I’m a technician. I went to engineering school and then got into the software industry. I spent the whole time in my garage on the weekends and evenings working on my classic cars on the side. In my late forties, I want to do something that I can be excited and passionate about,” says Davis, who formerly ran tech businesses.
The trend of aftermarket electrification has changed. Previously, hobbyists electrified cars to make them clean. Now they can buy an inexpensive used EV, says Davis.
The trend has changed to classic car lovers who “want something with character and soul, but do not want to maintain a classic car or smell the exhaust.”
When classic cars sit in the garage too long, they sit and rot away and get worse and worse, says Davis.
“We pull out the drivetrain and all the things that can cause problems and maintenance issues. Then you now have access to this beautiful car.”
The environmental impact of classic cars is significant. The company converted several cars from customers who love cars but can not bear to smell the exhaust when they know they are polluting the atmosphere, he says.
How Moment Makes a Difference With Electrification
Moment Motor Company has a couple of different ways to electrify a vehicle. To keep the original sporty/classic driving style, they keep the original transmission and clutch or use a direct drive system.
“In my electrified ’73 Alfa Romeo GT, we kept the original transmission. It still kind of drives and runs like the original car with much more torque and more horsepower. It is amazing,” explains Davis.
It drives much more like it was originally designed. Although the gear shifting is similar to gear shifting on the original, there is no rolling down the hills when switching gears.
“The one difference between this and a combustion engine is that the electric motor does not have to idle. So you only need to use the clutch when you are shifting from gear to gear.”
“Anytime you want, you can throw it in first gear. Rip the tires apart, snap people’s necks and have all sorts of fun with all that torque. Or you can just leave it in third gear, especially around town and not have to deal with shifting,” he says.
The other option is not keeping the transmission using a simple gear reduction unit which is essentially a direct drive motor, says Davis.
“In that car, you just get in, you press the pedal and go. It is absolutely bonkers.”
Preserving Works of Art
The company is focused on keeping the balance the same and as close as possible to the original. They distribute the battery pack in the front and the rear; mounted right over the rear axle to give it as much balance as possible.
The company electrifies all kinds of classic cars from sports cars up to trucks. Customers are enjoying conversions of 1961 Austin Healey 3000, 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, 1963 GMC truck, 1982 Toyota Hilux, 1965 International Scout, 1972 Blazer, 1967 Mercedes 250SL, 1985 BMW 635CSi, 1948 Chevy Stylemaster and classic DeLorean.
The company has also electrified Porsche and Cobra replicas.
“You get to preserve works of art. You get to drive a car that you are passionate about,” says Davis.
“We can not turn the car into a modern vehicle”
Moment uses special modular engineered motors, reusable modular battery boxes and modular motor mounting systems. The modules are all tested and are in several different vehicles and have different configurations, says Davis.
“Then the custom engineering happens when we are doing a new car that we have never done before. Then that becomes a library of parts that we can use the next time somebody wants to do the same car.”
Sometimes customers come in who own a classic vehicle or with what Davis says is a car in their heart. The company also helps customers select a car for modifications.
Because components have to fit into the body of combustion-engine cars, they may have a battery range from 75 to 100 miles on the low end up to about 175 to 200 miles. Pricing depends on the vehicle and can run from $50,000 to $150,000. If the company has experience retrofitting the model the whole process can take three to five months or up to a year for other models.
Davis asks customers how they plan to use the electrified vehicle and warns them of safety issues.
“For highway commuting and kid transportation, we have to remind them to remember the era of the car. We can not add airbags. We can not turn the car into a modern vehicle,” he says.
In the future Moment Motor Company plans to offer more services.
“We have customers interested in a set of cars. We are going to start doing more through our relationships with restorers. We will hopefully be able to provide a kind of soup to nuts solution,” says Davis.