The Electric Ferrari

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

Eric Hutchinson was looking for a vehicle to swap an electric motor into when he came across a listing for a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with a salvaged title. The Ferrari had suffering a fuel leak and unfortunately caught fire. This was a perfect candidate because he wouldn’t be modifying an original and it would have more performance when completed than it did from the factory.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

After purchasing the car for $10,000 Eric formed a plan with help from his friend Michael Bream at EV West. Together they came up with a system that would use three electric motors and 48 batteries to produce almost double the horsepower and a lot more torque.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

The Ferrari uses three AC-51 HPEVS electric motors arranged in a V formation. They drive a single output shaft through a custom pulley and belt system. Together the engines produce 275 electrical horsepower (465 horsepower from an equivalent gasoline engine) and 330 lb-ft of torque at the shaft. This amount of torque would equal about 3,846 lb-ft at the wheel given a 3.23 1st gear and 3.71 axle ratio.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

The output shaft is connected to an Aasco Motorsports 8 lb flywheel, SPEC pressure plate, Tilton clutch, and a Porsche G50/2005 transaxle which is mounted in the car upside down.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

The battery pack is comprised of 48 3.3v Li-ion batteries. There are 24 sitting in the front and two areas in the back each holding 12. Together they are able to produce 31.5 KWhr and give the Ferrari about 100 mile range.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

Eric improved performance by putting the Ferrari on a diet. Several components were removed to reduce weight and after the conversion the Ferrari weighed 3,400 lbs or 150 lbs heavier than it did from the factory.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with three AC51 HPEVS electric motors

Source: Electric GT, Electric Ferrari FB page and Ferrari Chat (build thread)

17 Comments

  1. MOPARfan

    This is pretty cool. Interesting and cool project. Not only car is faster than original, but probably also greatly reduced running costs as well, which is a nice bonus. 🙂

  2. Jimmy Kerrick

    After the smoky burnouts he had to go recharge before the trip home… I think it is a great concept but the battery technology has to come a long way before I could commit to a build like this…

  3. monkey eater

    Commendable work, and hats off to the builders.
    But money wise it wasn’t worth doing. One of these sold for $20,900 at 2011 RM Auctions.. with the proper engine and no salvage title.

    • Ferrar 308 Owner

      It’s now 2016 and a nice 1978 308 is worth anywhere from $50-$150k, or more. But this was a burnt, salvaged car that likely was destined for parts. Eric gave it new life and the execution is nothing short of masterful. He should be commended. If you are focused on cost or ROI, you just don’t get it and should probably stick to cars as appliances.

  4. RacerX GTO

    Lose the cheap “LED strip” 5mm LEDs and affix the respectable professional LED DRL product, go Philips Daylight 8 LED DRL. It’s slim profile and blackout look will compliment the 308 nicely. And it will look the high-end LED part.

  5. ferd

    “After the smoky burnouts he had to go recharge before the trip home…”
    You saw it needing a recharge after duing burnouts? Or just trolling again?

    “But money wise it wasn’t worth doing.”
    That can be argued for any restored or customized vehicle, since you can always find a cheaper original car. Yeah they spent a lot of money on it (just like other rodders do) – maybe they did it just because they wanted to?

    “If I owned this I’d get the license plate “COAL PWR””
    The article doesn’t say where they live or where its recharging comes from. Maybe where you live it would be coal, but for all we know these guys may also have their own solar recharging station. It’s just as fair for me to assume that as for you to make the false assumption that all electricity is generated from coal.

  6. podolefsky

    Beautiful build! Red motors are a nice touch.

    One question – how do you get 465 HP? The AC51 with 144V controller makes 88 HP. Times three is 264HP.

    • I should have been more clear in my article. The project’s website lists the engines producing a total of 275 electric HP or 415 gas equivalent HP. I will update the article to reflect this.
      Update: After doing some research I found some explanation “Three hp electric motor will do the same job as a five Hp gas engine. Electric motors are typically rated at continuous load capacity while gas engines are rated at peak capacity.”

      • podolefsky

        Interesting. It’s true that there are “continuous” and “peak” HP ratings for electric motors. For the AC-51, it is 88 HP peak, 45 HP continuous. At best it is equivalent to an 88 HP gas engine.

        That said, it will feel much quicker because of how electric motors make full torque from zero RPM.

        It’s a great build and a great article. Thanks for writing it up!

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