Irish start-up converting classics into electric supercars

Norman Crowley-backed Electrifi to invest €50m in Wicklow operation employing 150

Electrifi’s Norman Crowley with the Ferrari 308, now converted to electric power and capable of 0-100km/h in two  seconds.

Electrifi’s Norman Crowley with the Ferrari 308, now converted to electric power and capable of 0-100km/h in two seconds.

 

A new Irish electric car company converting valuable classic cars to run on electricity is to invest €50 million over the next three years on a new operation in Co Wicklow, which will employ 150 people.

Backed by Irish environmental entrepreneur Norman Crowley, Electrifi is located on the Powerscourt Estate, where it plans to open a retail outlet and a factory later this year.

Crowley has teamed up with with Richard Morgan, founder of Electric Classic Cars in Wales, in which he has a 30 per cent stake. Morgan has a stake in Electrifi.

The Irish start-up initially plans to convert expensive classic cars to run on electric power, replacing their combustion engines and “oily bits” with modern electric motors and battery packs.

Bodyshells

According to Crowley, the company will also build bespoke electric vehicles fitted with the bodyshells of classic cars. For these models the basis of the car will be a rechargeable battery pack, four-wheel-drive twin electric motors and racing suspension. A bespoke body – anything from a Lamborghini, Jaguar E Type to Porsche Speedster bodyframe – is then fitted to what could potentially be a 1,200bhp EV supercar.

“We’re like any other car company we’ll buy from whoever has the best components,” says Crowley. These can be sourced from European, Chinese or US suppliers.

Pricing is dependent on each car’s build or conversion requirements and ranges from €100,000 to more than €2 million.

Ultimately, says Crowley, Electrifi intends to be able to design and build its own high-end electric car models.

To demonstrate what can be done, the company showcased a Ferrari 308 – of Magnum PI fame – that has already been converted to electric. This involved replacing the car’s original V8 petrol engine with the electric motor from a Tesla. It can now achieve a 0-100km/h time of just two seconds, something only normally attained by Formula One cars.

Crowley says the conversion involved the removal of 3,700 “unreliable Fiat components” with a new electric powertrain delivering 600bhp. In all about 100 original moving parts have been left on the Ferrari. He wants to tap into the electric vehicle market, estimated to be valued at €500 billion, between now and 2025.

‘In the blood’

“I grew up in a village about a mile away from where Henry Ford’s father was born. Motoring was always in the blood. When I was about 15 I bought my first car – in fact I got two VW Beetles for £30. We fixed them up and we’d race them around the fields,” says Crowley.

“When I came into some money I wanted to buy a classic car but they break a lot. There is the dream of classic car ownership and the horrible reality, and that’s when we came up with the past, present and future strategy.”

Next up for Electrifi is Crowley’s next company car: a €1.4 million zero emissions electric conversion of a Lamborghini Countach.