For this project, we wanted to blend the spirit of a Bronco with modern technology and create the ultimate Electric Bronco.
Our goal was not to make a Tesla with a Bronco Body, but something that stayed true to the Bronco heritage. We chose to model this new Bronco after a 66 Roadster as it was the most basic-barebones Bronco you could get. We thought this would be the ultimate contrast with the modern drivetrain.
What makes the Electric Bronco special?
A key goal for this project was to make it look and feel like a Bronco, not an electric vehicle. This meant all touchpoints, like the seats, control knobs, steering wheel, and shifters had to be original as they would have come out of the factory in a 66 Ford Bronco Roadster.
We didn’t want anyone to know it was an electric vehicle unless they really got into the detail, or heard it pass by silently. We were able to hide features like the charge port behind the stock Bronco fuel cap, and pulling this fuel cap off is about the only way we can prove it is an electric Ford Bronco without showing them the battery packs.
We were able to 3D print a custom backing to the stock gauge cluster to implement modern aerospace gauges. We also reworked the faces of these gauges to accurately represent the detailed information needed in an EV SUV, which was State of Charge (Range), Battery Temp, Motor Temp, and Amps of Discharge/charge but keep the vintage Ford Bronco feel.
There is no LED screen in this Early Ford Bronco because we thought it would look out of place.
Can you see the batteries?
We have seen many conversions that have a prominent battery box, either hanging way down below the electric vehicles or somewhere in the cab space. We felt this pulled from the classic feel, so we had a goal of nothing hanging down below the rockers, and no cab intrusions. We were able to make this happen but still maintain a whole 85kWh of batteries.
What kind of chassis is used for the Electric Powered Early Bronco?
We also wanted the rugged look and feel, so we chose to build this based on our Freeway series chassis. It has the same solid axle front and rear that we would use in our IC (internal combustion or gas-powered Bronco) trucks.
In a lot of ways, it would have been easier to go with an independent front and rear suspension and repurposed more OEM power units, but we felt this took away from the feel of a Bronco.
Does an Electric Ford Bronco have 4-Wheel Drive?
We also integrated a standard Atlas transfer case, which provides 2-wheel drive, 4WD Hi, and 4WD Low modes, just like an original Classic Ford Bronco would have. These are selected manually using a lever just like the one that came with an Early Bronco in 1966.
While this vehicle has solid axles to be rugged like an original Bronco, the ride has been greatly improved. Our modified freeway series chassis makes it feel better than a new Bronco with extended radius arms in the front and a triangulated 4-link suspension in the rear.
We choose to set this truck up at stock ride height to further embody the stock 1966 spirit. The batteries are all placed low in the chassis, which provides an awesome center of gravity.
Does the Bronco Sport Updated Shocks?
This vehicle has also incorporated Tractive shocks. These are electronically adjustable shocks that provide an interface to adjust your Front and Rear Damping, as well as vehicle Pitch and Roll.
These allow the Bronco to be adjusted to a “Comfort” mode, which floats down the road like a luxury car perfect for road trips, or a “Sport” mode, which keeps the vehicle tight and dead level around turns and lets you go off the beaten path.
Coupled with the instant torque of the EV drivetrain and the adjustable electric power steering, this Bronco is a total delight to drive, and it’s unlike any other vehicles, electric, gas, or hybrid option, that we have ever driven.
The Jeep Wrangler EV, the Land Rover Defender Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) , or any other hybrid electric variants just can’t compare!
Where did the batteries come from?
The batteries came from a Tesla Model S P85. We were able to fit all 16 modules to maintain the full 85kWh. In order to package these with no cab intrusions, we had to have 4 separate battery boxes.
Each of these has high voltage and coolant running to it. There are 8 modules under the hood where the engine should be, and we were still able to fit a small Frunk (front trunk). There are 5 modules where the gas tank would go, 2 under the tube below the driver’s seat, and one under the tub below the passenger’s seat.
Battery production for this Ford Bronco electric
At the time of this build, there were very limited Batteries available for electric cars. There are always batteries from wrecked Teslas, but they are not very easy to use or get a consistent supply.
While battery production has really ramped up these past few years, only the larger OEMs or heavily backed startups have volumes that the battery manufacturers will work with.
Each one of these Tesla battery modules is 55 lbs, for a total battery weight of 880 lbs, not including coolant or wiring. This Bronco EV in its complete roadster form weighs 4500 lbs. Which is average for what we’ve found Early Broncos to weigh.
This is comparable to what a coyote truck with full interior, hardtop, oversized tires, and a tire carrier would weigh. The low center of gravity and torque help give the illusion this truck is lighter than it really is.
The Electric Motor
The motor cartridge is a standard 3-phase Borg Warner Unit. It has been widely used in other EV SUVs and cars for sale on the market and in industries such as manufacturing and mining.
How Much Horsepower Does an Electric Bronco Have?
This motor puts out around 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The difference is that this is at 0rpm and there are no gears. The power delivery is like nothing else.
This system was designed to have a top speed of just 100 mph, so the acceleration is highly optimized. Acceleration is in alignment with a 5.0 Coyote Bronco, but is smooth and silent. It does not feel nearly as violent as a Coyote truck, but it is just as fast.
You really have to drive it to believe it.
What is the range?
In optimal conditions, the range should be around 200 miles. The real world usable range could be closer to 150. Most modern electric cars on the market employ a drivetrain that includes a highly optimized gear reduction unit and axle shafts that go right to the wheel hubs. Since we wanted to maintain the classic 4WD configuration, we have the main gear reduction unit, a transfer case, driveshafts, axle differential gear units, and axle shafts.
Each of these components has an associated loss and greatly reduces the efficiency of the system.
The blocky design of these early Broncos may be aesthetic, but they are not aerodynamic and it can impact your gas mileage. Most modern electrics are totally smooth on the bottom, as well, which is not possible with solid axles.
EVs usually have very hard, thin tires with very low rolling resistance. We chose to use BFG AT KO2s, as they have a good balance of on and offroad capability, but are much less efficient than normal EV tires.
How does the EV Bronco charge?
For this Bronco EV, we implemented level 2 charging, which will provide a full pack charge in about 8 hours. This uses 240V and is a common level for at-home charging.
Most charging stations also employ this level. DC fast charging has recently become popular but this technology was not common when we started development, and it was not feasible to add later.
It implements the J1772 charging protocol, which is the North American charging standard.
Can you take the EV Bronco off-road?
Because this Bronco maintains the same drivetrain style as a classic Bronco, it is just as capable off-road, and trail difficulty shouldn’t be a problem. It features front and rear lockers in the axles, so with the transfer case in 4WD, all 4 wheels will spin at the same rate, which is very desirable for off-road driving.
Heavy-duty skid plates were incorporated under all sensitive electronic components to protect from rocks and sticks. While the vehicle may look like it belongs on the road, it would be very comfortable in the mud, sand, or rocks.
The low center of gravity also helps to keep the Bronco planted in a variety of situations. All Battery boxes and power electronics components were designed to avoid water intrusion, so no amount of mud or water will be an issue. Perfect for off-road enthusiasts!
EV Bronco Build
Kincer Chassis did everything in-house on this Bronco, other than paint and upholstery. The chassis and electrical systems were all designed and implemented in-house. All bodywork and body modifications were performed in-house.
Many custom components, like the charge port, center console, and soft top all started as an idea and then were designed and built in-house. We really wanted this EV Bronco to be special and we made sure to give it all the features it needed to really stand out. It’s a fantastic SUV!
Are you interested in bringing an Early Bronco back to life or starting on a brand new build? We’ll work with you to figure out exactly what you need to do all the things you want to do in your Bronco and you’ll be living the life of adventure you’ve always dreamed of before you know it! Schedule a call today!