Seven Cool And Unexpected Performance Upgrades Available For EVs Now

This past weekend (July 10-11), aftermarket juggernaut Holley hosted its second annual High Voltage Experience at Sonoma Raceway. The company – once best known for its carburetors – is championing EV performance with a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats enthusiasm. Maverick Knoles, president and co-founder of Legacy EV (a Holley competitor) said, “It was great to see so many popular builds from different corners of the industry in one place.” 

Holley’s gathering brought together a range of aftermarket companies to a broad midway. These companies, along with enthusiasts, clubs and builders participated in a range of activities including a car show, tech talks, and lots of racing.  

Tortured tires could be heard begging for mercy from the autocross course. OEMs ran against EV swaps on the road course.  Teslas faced off against Rivians at the Sonoma’s drag strip. As a fitting exclamation point, the event’s final quarter-mile pass was by Steve Huff who ripped off a 7.551 second ET at a record-breaking 202.82 mph trap in his 800-volt dragster.  

The midway revealed the growing commercial recognition of the EV performance aftermarket. Displays showcased new and soon-to-arrive high-performance products for EVs.  Here are our top picks… 

Tesla Steering Wheels by Rekudo; $771.95 – $992.95 

The standard Tesla steering wheel is a prime example of the brand’s design minimalism. However, the compass-round, super-thick design is simply too minimal, too round and too thick for some drivers. Enter Rekudo.

The company’s flat-bottomed, contoured wheel sports a thinner rim than the Tesla wheel, and the detents welcome a natural 9-and-3 hand position. Built from a Tesla-OEM style baseplate, the airbag module and controls from the standard wheel simply move over to the Rekudo helping to keep costs reasonable. Finishes include carbon fiber with leather and Alcantara.  

The wheels – compatible with Models X and Y – feel great in your hands, and the vertical white stripe on the carbon fiber edition adds a bit of racing flair.  

Tesla Model 3 Suspension Components by Rekudo; $370.95 – $436.95 

There’s no disputing the Model 3’s excellent chassis balance, but there’s always room for improvement. Rekudo now offers two fully sorted packages; a lowering spring kit and a front/rear sway bar set.  

The former fits 2018-22 Model 3 AWD. The progressive-rate springs drop the ride height (and Cg) about an inch. The coils are designed and tested to work with the factory dampers.  

The anti-roll bar set fits all 2018-22 Model 3s and helps improve limit handling for track days, autocross and street driving. The 32mm front (28mm stock) and 22 mm rear (20mm stock) bars stiffen the suspension and reduce body roll. The bars offer 3-position adjustability. Suspension NVH is kept in check with lubed high-durometer polyurethane bushings, and these can be paired with the above spring kit. 

The Model 3 with both kits knifed through the event’s autocross course like a surgeon’s scalpel. At rest, the car has a great stance and the body fits over the wheel/tire package beautifully and reminds your author of a lowered old-school M3.  

Tesla Model 3 Wheels by Halibrand; $1,749.35 – $1,869.35 

Halibrand now offers 19- and 20-inch Hyper Kinetic styled wheels for the Model 3. Inspired by the Model S Plaid prototype that ran the Nürburgring, the Halibrand Y-spoked wheels are lighter than the stock rims yet claimed to be stronger regarding shock resistance and load.  

What matters most in person is how the wheels look. These wheels “fill the gap” in the wheel well, in part due to their different offset that moves the wheel out relative to the wheel well.  

Halibrand claims an improvement in launch traction due to the offset, a claim we weren’t able to verify. But by watching a Model 3 fitted with these wheels run on the autocross course, it appears the company got the specs right for fitment and clearance.   

Stealth Drive Motor 

Motors, batteries, and controls are the “crate motor systems” of the EV world. Hypercraft was one of the first companies to go all-in on sourcing complete systems for re-powering and ground-up builds. HyperCraft https://www.hypercraftusa.com/ recently acquired Stealth EV, a shop in San Diego known for its premium EV re-powering builds.  

The new Stealth Drive motors stand out for their compact design, high torque capacities, integrated cooling systems, and an output shaft that’s just like a GM LS V8 Small Block engine. Re-powering just got much simpler.  

Each Stealth Drive unit comes paired with matched inverters. Hypercraft recommends using an AEM EV controller to manage the system. The motors are flexible in their voltage range and can use up to 850 volts, producing as much as 500 hp. Contact Stealth EV for current pricing and delivery.  

AEM EV Programmable EV VCU300 Control Unit – $3,499.00

AEM is a respected go-to supplier for ICE racers and builders. While the company’s catalog shows great breadth and depth, its engine control modules stand out because of how they simplify complex wiring and control tasks for engine swaps.  

AEM EV provides the same type of benefits for the EV world. If you’ve seen the Ford Cobra Jet 1400 in action, you’ve seen the AEM EV VCU300 EV Control Unit work its magic.

The controller can manage the charging – and more importantly – the power distribution and output from high-powered batteries (up to 800 volts). Managed functions include throttle (with flexible mapping), brake switch, gearbox, charging, battery management, thermal management, and regen braking, all with redundancy and arbitration features for safety.  

AEM EV also offers a lower-cost VCU200 controller ($1,582.28) specifically designed for single-motor swaps and is recommended, in tandem with the company’s LDU Inverter Control Board. These both work with the Tesla Large Drive Unit. The AEM VCU allows remapping of the torque curve and also unlocks some torque Tesla left on the table. Importantly, if the Tesla motor is installed in something other than a Tesla, the AEM VCU enables you to tune the powertrain for the chassis’ available traction.  

Repowering with motors is going to continue to gain momentum, and AEM EV’s product catalog is a key resource for builders. In addition to motor torque management and safety features, AEM EV’s electronics can also manage accessories like air conditioning, rear defrosters, and power windows.  For curious minds, AEM produced a great video covering the systems required to make a custom motor system work, and it’s worth checking out.

Legacy EV Revolt Crate Motor, Sport – $38,999 

EV swaps are complicated. To improve adoption rates, the aftermarket has to simplify the process and make ICE-to-EV conversions easier. Like bolt-in easy.   

For about what you’d pay for a premium crate engine and transmission, Legacy EV has a package that bolts right up to those Small Block Chevy engine mounts. A Torque Trends 1.9:1 reduction gearbox is included, and the power exits the unit at a yoke that hooks up to a conventional driveshaft.  

The Revolt motor is Tesla-based and puts out over 800 lb-ft torque, and the package includes an ECU, a throttle pedal with sensors, and the complete high-voltage wiring harness. Just like with its gas counterpart, all you need to do is hook up the accessories and add fuel.  

Legacy EV is also taking on a leading role in educating enthusiasts, educators, and builders about EV systems and swaps. The company is behind the EV Builders Guide and has developed a certification program for builders. 

Not For Sale – Just Yet 

With Porsche now offering a BEV, it makes sense that aftermarket performance upgrades drivers have come to expect would migrate from ICE-powered vehicles to EVs. 

Coming later this year – and delayed by supply chain issues – are new wheels and some suspension pieces for the Porsche Taycan.  The 21-inch 10-spoke wheels (pictured) are by Finnspeed. While maintaining all key durability metrics, these 21-inch rims weigh just 22 lbs (down from 33 lbs for stock 20-inch Porsche rims). This massive reduction in rotational and unsprung mass will have significant range and performance benefits. Stay tuned for more information regarding pricing and availability.  

The aforementioned suspension pieces include lowering links for the Taycan. Produced by APR, these highly engineered bits drop the ride height about an inch. Tested by the likes of the legendary Randy Probst, the suspension drop pays significant handling dividends.  Expect to see similar components for the Tesla Model S.  

Lastly … and you had to see this coming … mods for EV SUVs. The popularity of SUVs in general, and the Model X, Model Y and VW’s ID4 made this inevitable; suspension lift kits that will help transition these drivers from fantasies involving Louis Hamilton to something evoking Walker Evans.  

The concept parts on this ID4 are by APR.  It’s a 3-inch lift that allows a taller, wider tire and lots more ground clearance. Yes, the lift is bad for aero, but it’s good for posing.  (How many Jeep drivers actually take their Wranglers off-road?) 

For more info and imagery from the event, check out Holley’s blog post here.

Gallery: Holley High Voltage Experience

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