Bloomberg Businessweek

CHARGING UP THE CLASSICS

Garages around the world are refitting vintage cars with electric batteries. It’s a boost of style and speed that’s totally plugged in
A ’68 Porsche 911 “fills up” in front of EV West in San Marcos, Calif.

Osamu Furukawa’s garage is full of gorgeous electric cars, but none of them is a Tesla. There’s a yellow 1977 Volkswagen Beetle alongside a rare three-wheeled Messerschmitt from the 1950s in cherry red, and both are in buttery-smooth working order. The bodies may be antique, but their engines have been replaced with electric motors and batteries. “This is about how fun a car can be,” says the 47-year-old mechanic.

Furukawa’s shop on the outskirts of Tokyo, Oz Motors, is one of a dozen or so boutique garages around the world that specialize in “EV conversions,” the process of turning an automobile with a combustion engine into one powered by electricity. They’ve sprung up from London to Southern California, all catering to a growing number of car fanatics who enjoy classics but want more power, reliability, and fuel efficiency.

“The guys who come into

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