EV Aftermarket Leads — OEMs Whiff Again
By Rex Roy
Senior Editor at large
The Auto Channel
Report from the Holley High Voltage ExperienceAuto Central July 17, 2022; Over a picture-perfect weekend (July 10/11) at Sonoma Raceway, a company with a 100+ year legacy in petrol fuel delivery systems hosted an unflinchingly forward-looking event that focused directly at EV enthusiasts and builders; The Holley High Voltage Experience.
Equal parts social gathering, car show, commercial midway and amateur racing, the event proved that the aftermarket is (again) leading OEMs into the future.
Among the many midway displays, there was not a single EV OEM. Not Tesla (but they never do events), Hyundai/Kia, Porsche, Audi, VW/Ford, Lucid, Faraday, Rivian or GM.
In recent years, Holley has exponentially expanded its brand portfolio by investing heavily in EV powertrain componentry. Holley’s AEM EV brand is a go-to source for builders of ICE-to-EV conversions and ground-up EV builds.
While Holley could have limited the midway just to its own brands that offer EV-segment products (Rekudo, Finnspeed, APR, Halibrand, AEM), Holley welcomed all, including direct competitors. Why? Because the company knows segment momentum matters. More exposure to – and support from – EV owners/enthusiasts helps expand the entire segment. OEMs know this, and such thinking is behind every OEM racing and performance-parts initiatives.
Non-Holley exhibitors included Hypercraft a company that offers advanced and complete crate motor systems. Hypercraft recently acquired Stealth EV, a San Diego entity/shop that owns the IP behind the Stealth Drive electric motor. Stealth Drive electric motor. 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 go much simpler. This is leadership.Whiff whiff WHIFF!
Stealth Drive electric motor. Another aftermarket leader is Legacy EVs. This company offers its own full EV motor/battery/controller system utilizing excellent components from suppliers including Revolt and TorqueTrends.
However, where Legacy EV truly stands out is their efforts grow, improve and popularize the EV aftermarket through instruction (builder’s guides) and certification programs.
While Ford and GM have either announced plans for, or introduced “crate motors,” neither is currently supporting the broader aftermarket in the way Legacy EV does.
It is important to recognize that GM announced a training partnership with Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in February, 2021. Since then, it’s reasonable to assume that LPE made progress, but nothing more is publicly available about the initiative.
One should expect great things from the LPE program given their history of excellence in the OEM/builder space. The eL Camino concept introduced at PRI 2021 was actually a validation build for the upcoming training program. .
However, Legacy EV is training people now.
The EV market and aftermarket will continue to grow. It is both ironic and encouraging that Holley … once best known for their carburetors … is now a leader in EV restyling, wheels, chassis and powertrain upgrade. The company is investing in the space, and while not intentionally doing so, is throwing shade on the OEMs – including EV-only OEMs – for not being engaged as they could.
Industry organizations like SEMA and PRI should also take note. These trade organizations would profit from supporting this nascent segment, knowing that a big, long-term payoff is certainly in the future.
Unfortunately, an honest look at Detroit’s OEMs reveals so many missed opportunities in the electric space. For example, imagine if – and this idea was formally presented by a strategist at Chevrolet’s lead marketing agency more than a decade ago – if GM had prior to the original Volt’s introduction, created an EV division? It’s not like GM hasn’t created (and squandered) brands like Geo, Saturn and Hummer. Such a move could have dramatically shifted the history for the Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac ELR and the dual-mode hybrid trucks.
Here's to hoping OEMs follow Holley’s lead regarding the EV aftermarket.