Less Than ZeroLabs Aims to Turn Old Broncos Into EVs

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

ZeroLabs Automotive is re-engineering 1965-77 Ford Broncos as electric vehicles, with the mantra of “the past we love” and “the future we need”. Net-zero emissions aside, Hawthorne, California’s latest tech start-up, ZeroLabs envisions themselves as the savior of tens of thousands of classic cars that would otherwise be rendered obsolete and left behind.

ZeroLabs is calling for a classic-vehicle electric revolution, asking drivers who want to go green to turn their classic cars, trucks, and SUVs over to the company for rectification. Supported by the assumption that the world is moving away from vehicles fueled by fossil fuels, ZeroLabs has built or is building an EV platform to transform classics into electric ‘clean energy heroes’. Does this inspire the Iron Man within you?

Adam Roe, the founder, CEO, and product architect for ZeroLabs Automotive was previously the founder and CEO of a royalty-free video library called Reelhouse, and later, the founder and CEO of Lunchbox, a pioneer in digital shopper engagement. Is this the resume of someone you’d entrust with a classic Land Rover Defender, Porsche 911 SC, or ’53-’56 Ford F-100 pickup? Yet this is exactly what Roe is asking, and he’s not interested in enhancing what’s already there, but to instead allow him to shoehorn his EV chassis under it. In what ZeroLabs touts as a 30-day gestation period, this Frankenstein creation will be reborn. Neither a new EV nor a restored classic, your guess is as good as mine how it gets titled where you reside.

ZeroLabs is betting the farm on their EV platform, hoping that a global ban on fossil fuels goes into effect, and with it the sale of vehicles powered by fossil fuels. At this precise moment, ZeroLabs is hoping to capitalize on its ability to produce four different configurations to accommodate classic 4WDs, muscle cars, 2-door coupes, and pickups. Keep in mind at this point in time, these are all projected platforms, as they are attempting to gin up enough fervor and cash to make the virtual into reality.

On their website, ZeroLabs states that they have already started manufacturing, and expect delivery to begin in late 2020 and delivered in the order received, yet below an image of a Bronco and their EV chassis, it states that limited availability begins in Fall 2021. They say the plan is to deliver them in groups, not one at a time. ZeroLabs’ first project is transforming a limited number of original 1966-77 Ford Broncos into fully restored and rebuilt 100 percent electric-powered vehicles.

As they say, no one is under any obligation to buy this or anything else in the world, and if it speaks to you, great. No company can make enough of everything for everyone, so ZeroLabs wants to make them only for those willing to buy into their concept. Somehow the idea of spending between $200,000-$300,000 for an EV remake of timeless classic vehicles may enthrall Ed Begley Jr., but for most aficionados, we think they’ll pass on this proposition.

[Images: ZeroLabs Automotive]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on Dec 08, 2020

    Instead of buying a classic Ford Bronco at today's inflated prices, wouldn't it be cheaper to build the chassis, then obtain (easily obtainable, from what I hear) the necessary aftermarket Bronco body panels to put around it?

  • Boxerman Boxerman on Dec 08, 2020

    You're seeing something more than a restomod here, thats just the start. Project forwards and there will be a few skateboard electric platforms, any style of sort of body can be placed on top. In the electric world the mechanicals are not a differentiator, theyre all going to be hyper fast, brake and handle well and near silent. maybe shocks an springs differentiate ride. The same essential platforms can be made longer or shorter wider or narrower depending on application. The point of differentiation then is what goes on top of the platforn. A return if you will to the era of coachbuilders. Putting a retro body on top is one answer and maybe an easy entry to the market, you could also do a 50s looking car or a spaceship looking car, ultra luxury inside or somethign else. The bronco body could be a metal one, or done in CF, or the body could be someones fevered imagination of something from the 50s like cadzilla, really the list is endless, the body is pure styling, its like changing the wheels on a car to change the look. So if they have the platform concept mass produced inexpensive enough or the oems do it, were rally talking about a future where styling and interior features becomes a product differentiator, that could lead to a golden era of beautiful transport pods of multiple designs. My guess is these guys need to get their platform costs low enough over time to stay in buisness. But whoever cracks that code is the future Henry Ford, cause the workd is going to be platform makers and coachbuilders, that will make it tough for an oem doign the whole package with a limited selctions of body styles.

  • Lorenzo Aw, that's just the base price. Toyota dealers aren't in the same class as BMW/Porsche upsellers, and the Toyota base is more complete, but nobody will be driving that model off the lot at that price.
  • Mike The cost if our busing program is 6.2 million for our average size district in NJ. It was 3.5 last year.
  • Alan What an ugly vehicle..........and it was named a Mustang!
  • Alan I do believe regulations incentivising hybrids and plug in hybrids should be greater. I also believe that micro cars with emissions below a pre determined level should also be incentivised to allow those who can't afford a hybrid or plug in can afford basic transport.This will create an environment more suitable for all ie, manufacturer, consumer and green groups for the transition away from fossil fuel powered vehicles.The problem is hybrids and EVs are not disruptive and require government support, the US 19th Century rail system had lots of government money thrown at it. Flat screen TVs were disruptive as no government money was needed for the consumer to adopt..............globally.Eventually hydrogen will become the future energy.
  • Alan V8s are nice and sound good. But I'm calling BS on most comments here.[list=1][*]How many own a V8? (truthfully).[/*][*]How many can afford to buy a new Ram pickup?[/*][*]How many can afford to run a V8?[/*][*]How many comments are just a wish list from wannabe V8 owners.[/*][/list=1]The comments regarding the reliability of a turbo 6 are naive. These engines are designed to support the loads placed on them. These engines are not just NA engines with hair dryers from the 70s and 80s..Most every heavy vehicle has a inline 6 turbo. These are the engines of choice.And why are manufacturers going with smaller displacement engines? To meet more stringent emission controls. This I do support. If this can be done with no real loss of performance, or in this case a gain in performance is a plus, we have gained, its not a loss.
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