Zelectric Builds Tesla-Powered Porsche 912, Jay Leno Approves


Jay Leno’s weekly YouTube series is usually about classic cars and the latest supercars. But from time to time he invites small ventures to showcase their vehicles in the famous garage. This week’s episode welcomes Zelectric, a California-based company that transforms old Porsche and Volkswagens into electric vehicles.

The shop’s vehicle of choice for Jay Leno’s Garage is a nicely restored Porsche 912 from 1968. But instead of the production-spec flat-four gasoline engine, this classic coupe uses a Tesla electric motor to spin the rear wheels.

I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no. Tesla didn’t start offering crate motors. Zelectric is getting their motors from dismantled Teslas. This specific unit, for instance, is a rear motor that used to power a Model S. And it draws juice from a 32-kWh battery pack mounted under the front hood.

But his 912 is not just an old 912 fitted with an electric drivetrain. The folks over at Zelectric also modified the suspension, upgraded the brakes, and improved the car’s weight balance. All of them are necessary updates given that the car is now a bit heavier and significantly more powerful.

Speaking of which, the 912 now tips the scales at around 2,500 pounds (1,134 kg), which is at least 300 pounds (136 kg) more than the stock model. All that extra weight comes from the batteries. While an old Porsche 912 engine comes in at around 375 pounds (170 kg), the Tesla motor and battery assembly weighs more than 600 pounds (272 kg). But the extra power makes up for that, especially given that the 912 came with just 90 horsepower on tap.

You’re probably curious about how fast this thing is from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph). Well, Zelectric didn’t run a speed test on this specific car, but it claims that they benchmarked another Porsche that covered the distance in just 2.6 seconds. The 912 is also supposed to hit a top speed of at least 130 mph (209 kph). On the flip side, the range is limited to 120 to 140 miles (193 to 225 km), which is well below a Tesla production model.

While it’s not the most practical EV out there, Zelectric’s Porsche 912 makes a solid case for crate motors. They’re obviously a good option for classic cars, especially if they’re designed in a way that you don’t have to do radical modifications under the shell.

Zelectric says that the 912 can be refitted with its original gas engine, which is why many customers opt to retain the internal combustion unit after the conversion. Perhaps this is the future for classic cars?