Meet Kevin Erickson, a visionary car enthusiast from Commerce City, Colorado, who dared to reimagine a classic 1972 Plymouth Satellite, affectionately named “Electrollite.” Kevin is the owner of EV Muscle Cars LLC and has a passion for blending classic muscle car aesthetics with cutting-edge electric technology. I had the incredible opportunity to shake Kevin’s hand at the Electrify Expo in Austin, winner of the Best Coupe award in Electrify Showoff, where his ’72 Plymouth Satellite not only turned heads but also drew a spotlight to his innovative approach in breathing new life into a classic car.
- “Electrollite” features 636 horsepower and instant torque, reaching 0-60mph in 3.0 seconds.
- The 1972 Plymouth Satellite underwent a Tesla Model S electric conversion.
- Kevin Erickson’s innovative build combines classic muscle car aesthetics with cutting-edge electric technology.
From Childhood Dream to Reality
Kevin’s love affair with automobiles started at a young age when he purchased his first car, a 1969 Dodge Dart GT, from his own mother at the tender age of 14. Remarkably, he still owns that very car 33 years later. Guided by his father, a seasoned master mechanic, Kevin acquired a deep understanding of cars and their inner workings, igniting his lifelong passion.
He recalls, “I’ve always wanted to know how everything works, and learned about cars while working on the Dart with my Dad. Though I loved the older muscle era cars, I also love new technology.”
The Evolution of the Dart
Over the years, Kevin’s Dart underwent a series of remarkable transformations. It began with straightforward upgrades such as carburetor enhancements and engine swaps. As time marched on, the Dart’s evolution took a more sophisticated turn, culminating in a custom EFI system. Notably, the latest iteration of the Dart features a turbocharged setup running on E85, exemplifying Kevin’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of performance and embracing cutting-edge technology.
Discovering the Gem: 1972 Plymouth Satellite
In 2016, while perusing Denver Craigslist, Kevin stumbled upon a 1972 Plymouth Satellite, a car that had always held a special place in his heart due to its iconic body style. Remarkably, it was a one-owner vehicle with fresh paint, but it was far from roadworthy. Devoid of an engine, interior, and plagued with various issues, the project’s blueprint began to take shape.
Originally, Kevin had set his sights on a Twin-Turbo Gen III Hemi build for the Satellite. However, as he observed the ever-increasing power of Tesla electric vehicles, a novel idea took root. He approached his wife with the proposition of a Tesla swap, and to his delight, she embraced the concept wholeheartedly.
Electrifying the 1972 Plymouth Satellite
Transitioning from traditional muscle car power to electric proved to be a transformative experience for Kevin. His choice was a 2016 Tesla Model S Large Sport Rear Drive Unit for the conversion. The results are nothing short of astounding:
- Horsepower: 636
- Torque: 442 lb/ft (motor) and 4300 lb/ft (axle torque)
- Battery Pack: Tesla P100D 100kWh
- Range: 325 miles
- 0-60 mph time: 3.0 seconds
- Quarter-mile time: 12.04 seconds @ 109 mph
Furthermore, the key to the Electrollite’s performance lies not only in its electric powertrain but also in its sophisticated charging and battery management systems. These include J1772 level 1 and 2 charging, Fellten CCS fast DC charging, and an advanced thermal management system that ensures optimum performance under various conditions.
Reinventing the Chassis and Suspension
To accommodate the electric powertrain, Kevin executed significant modifications to the chassis and suspension. Some highlights include a custom inboard cantilever/pushrod suspension, double adjustable coilover shocks, Wilwood drop spindles, Viking coils, and a custom-mounted EPAS Performance quick ratio electric rack and pinion steering.
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Aesthetics and performance were further enhanced with American Racing AR924 wheels, Firestone Firehawk Indy500 tires, and formidable braking power delivered by 6-piston Wilwood front brakes and Tesla P100D Ludicrous/Brembo rear brakes. The result is not only an electrifying powerhouse but also a car that stops with confidence.
The Electric Advantage: Instant Torque
One of the Electrollite’s most compelling features is its instant torque delivery, a hallmark of electric motors. As Kevin explains, peak torque is delivered instantaneously, but it’s limited by battery voltage sag. With a stiffer battery, the car could sustain peak torque for a longer duration, offering an even more exhilarating driving experience.
A Lifestyle of Innovation
Beyond its impressive performance stats, Electrollite is Kevin’s daily driver, accumulating over 18,000 miles since its electrifying conversion. This electric muscle car is no garage queen – it’s regularly pushed to its limits on mountain passes, keeping pace with modern high-performance vehicles.
Kevin’s passion extends to his family, as they embark on 150+ mile drives together, proving that electric vehicles can be both exciting and practical. Notably, Kevin undertook an epic 900-mile journey from Las Vegas to Denver after SEMA, relying on CHAdeMO fast DC charging to keep Electrollite on the move.
Conquering the Show Circuit
Electrollite is no stranger to the automotive show circuit, making appearances at SEMA 2021 and 2022, the Holley High Voltage Experience in 2021 and 2022, and the State of Charge in 2022 and 2023 at Red Rocks. The car has also graced events like the Electrify Expo Austin 2023, where it received the Best Coupe award, and numerous local Cars and Coffee gatherings, cruises, shows, and EV promotional events.
Challenges and Triumphs in the 1972 Plymouth Satellite Build
Reflecting on his journey, Kevin acknowledges the challenges he faced. One significant hurdle was the failure of the first aftermarket controller for the inverter, unable to handle high power to regen transition. However, Kevin’s determination led him to adopt the EV Controls T2C with a factory Tesla control board, ensuring a robust and bulletproof system.
Throughout the build, Kevin discovered innovative shortcuts, leveraging tools like Fusion 360 for designing parts that he could either 3D print or CNC plasma cut at home.
Words of Wisdom for Aspiring EV Builders
Kevin’s advice for those considering similar EV builds is rooted in experience:
- Start with the vehicle you truly desire.
- Don’t let budget constraints compromise your project’s potential.
- Perfection isn’t always necessary; “good enough” often suffices.
- Plan for future expansion with extra wires in your wire harness.
- Embrace a “learn-as-you-go” mentality.
- Consistency is key: tackle one task per day.
- If you hit a roadblock, let it simmer while you focus on other aspects.
- Share your journey on social media; feedback, both positive and negative, can be invaluable for motivation and improvement.
A Glimpse in the Future
Kevin’s work with Electrollite is far from a mere singular project. It serves as a testament to the boundless potential of electric conversions. With this monumental achievement under his belt, Kevin’s dreams for the future are nothing short of audacious.
His current build, “Jiggawatt,” is a 1982 Model 3 Performance-powered DeLorean. This fusion of iconic ’80s design and modern electric performance is a testament to Kevin’s unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of electrified classics.
Among his upcoming projects is a vision that promises to ignite nostalgia and excitement among car enthusiasts. He plans to create a “ThunderVolt,” a 1970 Ford Torino powered by not one, but three Model S Plaid electric motors. This ambitious venture seeks to bridge the gap between classic muscle and modern electric power, promising a unique driving experience that seamlessly blends the best of both worlds.
But that’s not all. Kevin’s passion for electrified classics extends to a 1955 BelAir, which is set to undergo a remarkable transformation. Equipped with a dual-motor setup sourced from a Model 3 Performance, this BelAir promises to be a true marvel of electric engineering, marrying timeless aesthetics with cutting-edge electric propulsion.
As the automotive industry continues its inexorable shift towards electrification, Kevin’s story serves as an inspiring testament to what can be achieved when the past harmonizes with the future. With the “ThunderVolt,” the Model 3 Performance BelAir, and “Jiggawatt” in the mix, the world of electrified classics is poised for even more electrifying innovations.
Bridging the Past and Future: Kevin’s Inspiring Story in the Automotive Industry
Kevin Erickson’s story with Electrollite is truly remarkable in the world of classic cars. His passion for cars and innovative spirit have placed him at the forefront of electrifying classic vehicles. As the automotive industry keeps moving toward electric power, Kevin’s journey is a source of inspiration, showing how the past can seamlessly blend with the future.
|Orlando, FL (new location for 2024)
|Phoenix, AZ (new location for 2024)
|May 31-June 2
|Long Beach, CA
|Denver, CO (new location for 2024)
|San Francisco, CA
|Long Island, NY
Owner: Kevin Erickson
Location: Commerce City, Colorado, USA
Vehicle: 1972 Plymouth Satellite “Electrollite”
Horsepower: 475 kW (636 HP) / 100kWh Battery Pack
Overall Vehicle Weight/Ratio: 4358 lbs, 45% Front / 55% Rear
Amount of Time to Build: 1.5 years
Cost to Build: $65,000
Electrify Showoff Austin Award: Best Coupe
|Modifications and Parts
|Motor / Drivetrain
|Motor Swap Performed By: Kevin Erickson / EV Muscle Cars LLC
|Motor Drive Unit Year, Make, Model
|2016 Tesla Model S Large Sport Rear Drive Unit
|Motor = 442 lb/ft, 600 NM / X 9.73:1 gear ratio = 4300 lb/ft axle torque
|Custom build mounts for Model S rear subclip
|EV controls T2C
|¼ mile time
|12.04 @ 109
|Tesla P100D 100kWh battery pack
|Number of amp-hours
|Charging / Battery Management
|Installation Shop: Kevin Erickson / EV Muscle Cars LLC
|J1772 level 1, level 2, and Fellten CCS fast DC Charging
|Level 2 charging with onboard liquid cooled charger provides 6.6kw with a continuous current of 15-19 amps. CCS fast DC charging 75KW, 200 amps
|12-Volt Battery, Electrical System
|DC/DC is liquid cooled 125 amps output
|Battery Thermal Management System
|Fully automatic liquid cooled / heated / chilled Thermal management system using CAN bus temp sensors, Racepack Smartwire PDU, Orion BMS, and custom programming. Battery is Heated above 11 degrees C before charging, or regen, maintained between 25 and 35 degrees C for maximum longevity and range, and heated to 45 degrees C for Race mode. Automatic operation will run radiator bypass valve, heater, A/C compressor and chiller, and fans to maintain the programmed temperature ranges. A/C chilling allows for DC fast charging to maintain high charge current.
|Installation Shop: Kevin Erickson / EV Muscle Cars LLC
|Plymouth B-Body with US Car Tool Subframe Connectors
|Wilwood Drop Spindles / Custom mounted Tesla Rear Subframe
|Rear Suspension Setup
|Custom built inboard cantilever/pushrod suspension with double adjustable coilover shocks and all aluminum independent multi-link
|Front – QA1
|Wilwood drop spindles
|Viking coils, 400lb front, 450 lb rear
|Viking Double adjustable Coilovers
|Custom built Battery boxes
|Front K-member is a modified and reinforced QA1 Coilover conversion with
|Custom mounted EPAS Performance quick ratio electric rack and pinion
|Wheels, Tires & Brakes
|Front Wheel Brand, Size, Width, Backspacing
|American Racing AR924, 19×8.5, 6.72” backspacing, 5×120.65 bolt pattern
|Front Tire Brand and Size
|Firestone Firehawk Indy500 275/35R19
|Rear Wheel Brand, Size, Width, Backspacing
|American Racing AR924, 20×10, 8.45” backspacing, 5×120.65 bolt pattern, 64.1 – 70.3 hub centric rings
|Rear Tire Brand and Size
|Firestone Firehawk Indy500 305/35R20
|6 piston, 14” Wilwood forged Superlite with drilled/slotted rotors
|Tesla P100D Ludicrous / Brembo 14.3”, and Electric parking brake calipers
|9.73:1 Tesla Gears with Quaife Limited slip differential
|Chrysler Bright Silver Metallic
|Factory Steel Wide Body
|Painted body color
|2 Hi/Low LED White, 2 Hi/Low LED Amber
|Factory / LED
|Factory blue tinted glass (only in A/C cars)
|Install Shop: Kevin Erickson / EV Muscle Cars LLC
|Corbeau Heated Leather Sport Seat
|Dual Ipad Mini’s with multiple pages of customizable data including: GPS speed, Current draw, charging current (and regen), State of Charge, high and low battery temps, high and low cell voltages, total pack voltage, pack resistance, relay status (discharge enable, charge safety etc..), Error status. Tablets are quick removable with wireless charging, bluetooth interface to Battery management, rear camera, audio, and wifi updates, and 4G LTE.
|Momo “Race” and custom mounted Ididit tilt steering column
|Benling 27cc, 400 volt, variable speed compressor, Factory evaporator, aftermarket expansion valve, large aftermarket condenser, Vintage air dryer and trinary switch, programmable thermostat, PWM controller for variable speed operation. Automatic precharge, and contactor operation. Automatic operation from thermostat, defrost, and battery chilling.
|Electric 400VDC heater core mounted in factory HVAC box, programmable thermostat, factory controls.
|Custom painted dash
|Custom recovered/stitched dash pad
|Radio Head unit
|SSV bluetooth amplifier with Carling Rocker sized controller
|Kicker Hideaway powered subwoofer
|Pioneer / Alpine
|Sponsors and Special Thanks
|Matt Hauber / Stealth EV
Kevin Erickson’s 1972 Plymouth Satellite Photo Gallery
IMAGES: ELECTRIFY EXPO, RANDI BENTIA
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