Stephen Kim
April 15, 2015

Texas thanks you for your business. Last year, the Lone Star State pumped out over one billion barrels of oil. Just in case that wasn’t enough, Texas has turned up the wick to 3.4 million barrels per day thus far in 2015, a rate that tops every OPEC country except Saudi Arabia. No wonder the state has a cool $8 billion budget surplus sitting in a rainy day fund. Ironically, the same state that benefits so profoundly from America’s oil-burning proclivities has spawned a machine that gives fossil fuels a Texas-sized middle finger. The lewd gesture in question is an all-electric ’68 Mustang fastback that eats big-blocks, spits out 10-second timeslips, and runs 174 mph in the standing mile. How’s that for lewd? Any car that pisses off both hot rodders and tree huggers in one fell swoop must be doing something right.

From behind the wheel, the experience is as disconcerting as it is exhilarating. There’s no cam lope massaging your ear drums, no unburned hydrocarbons tickling your nose follicles, and no rhythmic thumps pulsating into your pudgy, middle-age torso. Gone are all the visceral elements of driving a musclecar, as the e-Mustang hums along in near silence like a golf cart. At least that’s what you think until you hit the loud pedal and unleash 800 horsepower and 1,800 lb-ft of torque. Unlike an internal combustion engine, all that torque hits instantaneously. In fact, the e-Stang kicks out so much torque that it has no transmission at all. Nothing short of stalling up a big-block and popping the transbrake at 6,000 rpm even comes close.

Tipping the scales at 3,300 pounds, the e-Stang weighs about the same as a full-option 390 big-block-powered 1968 Mustang. The entire car, including the paint-and-bodywork, was built in-house at Blood Shed Motors. Although the shop has the ability to perform ground-up restorations, it prefers to start with solid running and driving cars for its electric conversion packages.
The two 11-inch electric motors sit longitudinally inside the engine bay. To mimic the look of a gasoline engine, the controllers are mounted where the valvecovers would typically sit on a V-8. According to Mitch, AC motors rule in the passenger car world, and DC motors rule in the electric drag racing world. To get the same level of performance as with a DC motor, an AC motor would be three times as expensive.

On the surface, an all-electric musclecar may seem like the brainchild of some hippie wanker—who knows absolutely nothing about cars—making a statement about the virtues of alternative energy. Yawn. But that isn’t what this machine is about. Although car owner Mitch Medford has enjoyed enough success in the tech industry to retire at an early age, he’s been a blue collar hot rodder since birth. “I grew up in the hills of North Carolina surrounded by hot rods and cool cars. At my redneck high school, you had to have a monster truck, a Mustang, or a Camaro to be cool,” he jokes. Mitch drove Mustangs and Cougars during his teenage years, and he’s restored countless Mustangs over the years as a means of escaping the high-stress demands of the corporate world. From paint and bodywork to final assembly, Mitch does it all with his own two hands.

Considering Mitch’s hot rodding credentials, it’s not surprising that his top priority is performance. “For me, building an electric musclecar is less about being environmentally responsible and more about the amazing performance that electric motors offer. Just like intercooled turbos and superchargers revolutionized the performance industry, I feel that electric motors are the next major advancement in hot rodding,” he opines. His vision led to the creation of Blood Shed Motors (www.zombie222.com), an Austin, Texas-based company that specializes in electric conversions for classic cars. “Restomods are all about adding modern technology to old-school musclecars, so electric conversions are like building the ultimate restomod. That’s why we’re not interested in performing conversions on late-models. While it doesn’t have to be a ‘60s musclecar, we prefer to work on cool vintage cars.”

The e-Stang sits on 17-inch 427 Cobra wheels. It destroys the 315mm-wide Hoosier drag radials at will in complete silence.

Let’s face it. Hot rodders aren’t the most progressive dudes out there. Considering that musclecar guys are just now warming up to fuel injection 20 years after the last carbureted production car rolled off the assembly line, Mitch knew he had to make one hell of an opening salvo to quiet the critics. The Mustang couldn’t just be fast for an electric car. It had to be fast, period. “If we built an electric car that did 0-60 in five seconds and topped out at 80 mph, no one would care about it. Plus, a lot of the boutique electric car builders out there make cars that get great range, but don’t make lots of power,” says Mitch. “Musclecars are supposed to be about stoplight to stoplight performance, so we decided to build an electric supercar. Our Mustang runs 10.7 at 129 mph in the quarter-mile, and it also hits 60 mph in 2.4 seconds compared to 3.2 seconds in a Lamborghini Huracan. The 174 mph the Mustang ran at the Texas Mile served as a great way to push the boundaries to top speed to prove that there’s more to electric cars than off-the-line performance.”

Thanks to the overall simplicity of electric powertrains, the bulk of the conversion process is relatively simple. Everything fits neatly into the stock fastback chassis, and there is no cutting or hacking required. Sitting between the shock towers are two 11-inch-diameter electric motors, which are quite large by electric car standards. Larger motors produce more torque, and motors as small as seven inches are common in cars like VW Beetles. There are no radiators, fans, headers, accessory drives, pumps, or vacuum lines to contend with. The motors hook directly to a Gear Vendors overdrive unit, which sends torque to a Strange 9-inch rearend fitted with 35-spline axles, a TruTrac differential, and a 2.47:1 ring-and-pinion set.

Power from the batteries is channeled directly to the motor controllers. They regulate voltage to the motors via pulse width modulation. In other words, it varies the power output of the motors by turning them on and off slowly at low speeds, and very quickly at high speeds.
In lieu of a transmission is a Gear Vendors overdrive unit that weighs just 45 pounds. If plans call for keeping speeds below 80 mph, the overdrive unit can be removed, in which case the motors attach directly to the rearend with an extra long driveshaft. To prepare for the Texas Mile, Mitch added a second overdrive unit.

The ridiculously tall gearing, lack of a transmission, and the 0.78:1 ratio of the Gear Vendors unit is a testament to the outrageous 1,800 lb-ft of torque that the Mustang’s electric motors produce. With three times the torque output of a healthy stroker 460 big-block, it simply doesn’t need nearly as much gear to get it out of the hole. Furthermore, not all electric motors are created equal, and Mitch opted for DC motors over the more popular AC motors to maximize performance. “AC motors are like a high-revving, turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder engine. They rev up high, they’re very efficient, and while they are still torquey compared to gasoline engines, they don’t make as much torque as DC motors,” Mitch explains. “In contrast, DC motors are like a 900ci engine with six carbs. They don’t rev as high and they’re not as efficient as AC motors, but they’re torque monsters. Whereas AC motors turn up to 8,000 rpm, the DC motors in the Mustang are done at 5,000 rpm. It’s geared so tall simply to increase the top speed. It’s like launching a car in Fourth gear, then immediately shifting into overdrive.”

Unlike Teslas, which use lithium ion batteries, the e-Stang is equipped with lithium polymer prismatic pouch batteries. Lithium ion batteries are designed to release power over a long period of time, while lithium prismatic batteries release energy immediately for maximum performance. The race pack in the e-Stang can be fully charged in 105 minutes using a 220-volt plug. Topping it off after a ¼-mile pass with a generator takes 15 minutes. Mitch says the weight of the batteries helps the car hook up at the track.
A custom enclosure houses the e-Stang’s battery packs. The chassis and suspension have been fully upgraded with Street and Track coilovers, front control arms, a custom rear three-link with a Watt’s link, and 13-inch Wilwood disc brakes.

Supplying juice to the motors is a 280-pound battery pack fitted where the stock gas tank once lived. Since Mitch’s e-Stang was built for speed, it’s essentially a pared-down race pack intended to minimize weight at the expense of range. It’s good for up to 50 miles of normal street driving, which is plenty to get to a cruise night and back. If that’s not enough, an additional 520 pounds of batteries can be fitted into the Mustang’s rear seat area, thus extending the range to 140 miles. For comparison’s sake, a Tesla carries around 1,200 pounds of batteries.

The e-Stang represents the pinnacle of Blood Shed Motors electric conversion packages. Dubbed Zombie 222, the package includes two motors and two controllers, with pricing starting at $125,000. The mid-level Zombie 211 package includes two motors and a single controller, with pricing starting at $75,000. The entry-level Zombie 111 package includes one motor and controller, with pricing starting at $50,000. According to Mitch, a Zombie 211-powered car will hit 60 mph in under four seconds, while the base Zombie 111 package offers performance on par with a new Mustang GT.

Although the e-Stang was built to highlight its electric powertrain, it can still hang it out on a road course. Thanks to the good folks at Driveway Austin (www.drivewayaustin.com) for letting us rip it up on their beautiful facility. Hands-down, it’s the premiere driving academy in the Austin area.

Understandably, the e-Stang will certainly upset hoards of traditionalists who aren’t ready to give up fossil fuels just yet. As an older demographic less open to new ideas, their anxieties will certainly be compounded by the fact that the technology they fear has spawned a car that’s faster than the vast majority of musclecars on the road. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the virtues of electric powertrains and its potential future impact on hot rodding. It challenges convention, demands discourse, and pushes the envelope of technology.

Sure, the e-Stang and Mitch Medford’s vision of the future may be too disruptive in 2015 for musclecar guys to accept. Thanks to his efforts, however, we can now rest assured that once the last drop of gasoline on earth has been burned, hot rodders will still have a means of hauling ass. And isn’t that what hot rodding is all about?

The gas pedal hooks up to a potentiometer located at the base of the driver side shock tower, which relays throttle position information to circuit boards mounted on the inner fender. The circuit boards send that data to the motor controllers, which determine how much power to send to the motors.
Although there is no need for a traditional cooling system in an electric vehicle, the motor controllers can get warm. A tiny heat exchanger, roughly the size of a tranny cooler, and a half-liter of coolant is all that’s needed to regulate the controller temps.
High-voltage industrial relays mounted in the front passenger-side corner of the engine bay switch the flow of current to enable Reverse. It’s activated by a toggle switch inside the cabin.
Tubular U-shaped braces welded to the driver- and passenger-side framerails provide support for the motor mounts. They help stiffen up the chassis as well.
The e-Stang’s chassis has been fortified with Street or Track subframe connectors. Unlike many SFCs on the market, they tie the left- and right sides of the framerails together for additional strength.
Since there is no accessory drive system with electric motors, a hydraulic 12-volt pump mounted on the bottom of the firewall provides power assist for the brakes. Similar electric pumps are available for power steering systems, and electric compressors can also be added for A/C systems.
Four switches on the center console control just about everything in the drivetrain. The three black switches control the line lock, overdrive unit, and power to the car while the silver switch activates Forward and Reverse.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery