Remember when Elon Musk bought a McLaren F1 supercar with the proceeds of selling software company Zip2 for $300m? That wouldn’t happen today, claims former Apple engineer and Nest co-founder Matt Rogers, who says newly-minted Silicon Valley executives are increasingly going electric.
He should know, since Rogers this year became the first US customer of, and investor in, Everrati, a British company that takes classic cars, removes the engine, and makes them electric.
“We love our cars here…but overwhelmingly people are wanting to move to electric, ” Rogers says. “We had a similar story [to Musk’s McLaren purchase] at Nest. One of the entrepreneurs from one of the companies we acquired at Nest bought a McLaren the next day and people looked at him funny. Like, ‘what are you doing?’. It’s so loud and with a spewing exhaust. It’s like ‘gosh, it’s kind of tacky actually’. That is the culture, especially in the Bay Area. People are very environmentally conscious.”
But that doesn’t mean California parking lots will be filled exclusively with Teslas and Nissan Leafs – the latter a car Rogers was an early owner of, but which he admits is “super dorky”. Instead, wealthy Californians who care about cars as much as the environment are turning to companies like Everrati. That way, they get to enjoy driving (and being seen in) a classic car with none of the tailpipe emissions. Because there is no tailpipe.
Everrati, with its US manufacturing partner Aria Group, this year built Rogers’ car, a restored and electrified example of a 964-generation Porsche 911, built in 1991 – the exact model owned by his father and which he used to ride in the back of as a child. A serial Porsche owner since, the former iPod and iPhone software engineer says: “I love those cars and they’ve had a special place in my heart, especially now my kids can be in the back seat like I was when I was a kid.”
But, he continues: “That dropping oil in the garage – you know your Porsche loves you when there’s a pool of oil on the floor – I think those days are over. There are different ways to preserve that legacy.”
In electrifying iconic cars – Everrati works on classic Land Rovers, Mercedes Pagodas and a battery-powered Ford GT40, as well as the 964 Porsche – Rogers says these automotive “artifacts of history and of our legacy” are protected, but also brought into a world “where we have to get emissions to zero…We’re going to get off petrol, as humanity we’re going to move forward.”
Everrati founder and chief executive Justin Lunny agrees. “It’s cars that we just don’t want to lose. If we’re not careful with what we’re doing, our kids will not have anything like that [classic Porsche 911] to look back on. They will have, dare I say it, current Teslas to look back on, or current Leafs or whatever it might be, and that scares the life out of me.”
Where Everrati sees itself – as well as several other firms who are also electrifying classic cars, both in the UK and US – is in a place where it attracts customers who are equally passionate about preserving classic cars and cutting local emissions. These drivers appreciate iconic vehicles, and want to drive them more than a Tesla, but only once they are made electric.
The way Rogers and Lunny see it, sitting in Bay Area traffic in a flashy supercar with a noisy exhaust, regardless of its age, is now as socially acceptable as smoking in a restaurant.
During our half-hour Zoom interview Rogers says repeatedly how the era of driving gas cars is over. A self-confessed gearhead who has owned several Porsches over the years, Rogers says: “I can’t imagine purchasing another car that’s not an EV. That world is over. Between Russian invasions of Ukraine and energy crises around the world, we need to move on from petrol.”
As well as the electric Porsche 911, the Rogers household has a Lucid Air, an Audi e-tron, and a Rivian on order. “We’ve cleared out the petrol cars at this point,” he says.
First shown on the lawns of Monterey car week this summer, Rogers’ electric Porsche is finished in Miami Blue with a houndstooth interior that retains its small rear seats, so his children can also grow up in the back of a 964 – “part of a rite of passage,” he says.
The car produces 500 horsepower (twice that of the gas-powered original), can accelerate to 60 mph in under four seconds, and has a range of approximately 200 miles from a 62 kWh battery pack. “I never do more than 100 miles a day, so this is plenty,” Rogers says. Optional extras include a Performance Pack with suspension adjusted via touchscreen, plus there’s all the mod-cons of a modern sports car, like heated seats, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay. A narrow-body model and a newly-announced convertible version are also available, with prices starting at around $300,000, plus taxes and a donor car.
Although three-year-old Everrati began in the UK, Lunny says the US is a big market, accounting for “a good 50 percent” of enquiries, mostly from California but also from Texas too, “which I was shocked at,” Lunny said, adding: “The cool thing about Texas is it’s got a huge tech community. Canada as well, we got a few people from Vancouver recently. So I think North America is where it’s at for us going forward.”
Once a base is established in California – which 2022’s fundraising has contributed to – Lunny says Everrati will look at producing market-specific cars. “There’s the GT40 but there might also be other US cars that people don’t expect, like muscle cars.”
“A ‘67 Mustang, one day?” Rogers asks, without getting an answer.
Lunny continues: “We’re recovering petrolheads in the way someone might be an ex-smoker. It’s the same thing. And actually we’re still able to enjoy them, arguably enjoy them more because the performance is different, and it’s just fun. They are cars you get out of, then look back on and smile. I don’t think you can say that about many modern EVs.”
As for what’s next, Everrati is still working on its electrified GT40, which has a 700-volt architecture for faster charging speeds, 800 horsepower and rear-wheel-drive. Lunny says how there “are quite a few supercars in that space and of that era that we’d absolutely love to reimagine.”
He also says how the company’s technology is scalable, adding: “The front-engine, rear-drive platform of the [Mercedes] Pagoda has been designed so that it can be applicable for different vehicles. So it may well be a ‘67 Mustang, right through to an E-Type [Jaguar] or a [Aston Martin] DB4, five or six.”
Similarly, the company’s 4×4 platform, currently used for a Land Rover Series IIA, “could scale to anything from a Range Rover Classic to something bigger but with different features.”
Rogers, who has invested into Everrati via a family fund run with his wife, is pleased to have joined the British firm during its formative years. He says: “It’s one of the reasons I like to get involved in companies like this. It’s being on the journey together…the great thing about being a supporter and an investor is that we’re there to help and there are lessons learned from other businesses that can apply. I’m excited to help out and be there for the journey.”
by Alistair Charlton
Source : Forbes