Watch Jay Leno drive a Porsche 912 EV.
Love it or loathe it, electric conversions for classic cars are becoming increasingly common. It may sound sacrilegious, but EV conversions will help preserve vintage cars for future generations to enjoy. One company that specializes in converting European classic sports cars into modern EVs is called Zelectric.
The California-based company has electrified everything from a Volkswagen Beetle to a Microbus, but is perhaps best known for its Tesla-powered Porsche 912. Jay Leno took one for a spin in the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage, and to say he was impressed with the electric conversion is an understatement.
Launched in 1965, the Porsche 912 was a more affordable, entry-level version of the Porsche 911. It shared the same flat-four engine as the Porsche 356 producing around 90 hp but was light and nimble to drive. For the electric conversion, Zelectric has added a 32-kWh battery and an electric motor from a Tesla Model S rated at 536 hp. On a full charge, the Tesla-powered Porsche will last around 120-145 miles depending on how conservatively you drive. Flat out, the electric Porsche 912 will reach 135-140 mph.
Fortunately, the electric motor and battery haven't ruined the original car's agile handling. Weighing just 2,505 pounds, the electric Porsche 912 is only 130 pounds heavier than the stock version. In fact, it's even more enjoyable to drive since it has better weight distribution and upgraded suspension.
It's more practical than the original car, too. Unlike the base, the electric Porsche 912 has a rear trunk. And in case you were worried that Zelectric has sacrificed a 1960s Porsche sports car, the conversion can be restored to original as it doesn't require any cutting or welding.
Out on the road, Leno praised the converted Porsche, declaring it as "one of the best electric cars I've ever driven." That's a bold statement but we're not surprised considering that Jay Leno is an advocate for EVs, despite owning hundreds of combustion-powered cars. He also owns a Tesla Model S and recently drove a Mercedes EQS, which he said was "more refined than a Rolls-Royce."