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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Can EVs Be Modified? Yes, but Not Without Drawbacks

Posted February 09, 2023 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: car culture electric vehicles

While the general public might have its issues with modern electric vehicles (EVs) --range anxiety, charging infrastructure and the mining of lithium for the batteries among them -- gearheads who aren't blind to the potential of all that torque right off the line seem to have one concern above all of those: Can EVs be hot-rodded and made to perform better? As with any vehicle, regardless of the energy source that turns the wheels, of course they can, but it's the tradeoffs to watch out for.

As the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) recently noted, the EV aftermarket has steadily grown over the last few years, to the point where SEMA Electrified, a sort of show-within-a-show at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, now features several dozen exhibitors across 21,000 square feet of the convention center floor. "Many folks who were new to the electric market were both surprised and excited to see how far this segment of the industry had progressed," said Luis Morales, SEMA's director of vehicle technology.

How are EVs being modded?

If the exhibitors in the SEMA Electrified display are any indication of overall trends in the EV aftermarket scene, then a significant portion of that scene is dedicated to electromodding older vehicles either via individual components such as motors and controllers, conversion kits, or conversion services offering turnkey vehicles. One exhibitor, Switch Vehicles, even built an entire EV kit car from the ground up during the weeklong SEMA show.

Fo newer EVs, however, exhibitors focused more on charging solutions, service equipment, testing equipment, safety tools, and accessories. Tjin's Lightning is a good example of the focus on accessories: The brand-new truck with less than 100 miles on it was painted green and fitted with a Ford accessory electronic bed cover, a custom grille and headlamps, Air Design roof and bed spoilers, a Thule bike rack and awning, Recaro seats, ARB air compressor, PowerTank air compressor, an electric grill, and even an ARB refrigerator and freezer. Underneath, Tjin had Baer six-piston front and rear brakes installed along with a Custom Air Lift suspension to drop the pickup over its 24-inch Vossen wheels and 295/45-24 Nitto Recon Grappler AT tires. The idea, Tjin said, was to build "the ultimate EV vehicle that does it all."

Similarly, a scan of the leading Tesla aftermarket parts sources shows that hard parts for Teslas -- beyond carbon-fiber trim pieces and other dress-up or utility accessories -- are largely relegated to brake kits and suspension packages. The Nissan Leaf -- at one point the all-time top-selling EV and a car that benefits from parts-bin sharing with other Nissan vehicles -- sees little aftermarket support beyond floormats and charging adapters.

So, what are the drawbacks? Keep reading...


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