Pure Electric Power – With Three Pedals

It was only a couple of days ago that I was listening to one of my favorite automotive podcasts, and the subject about electric cars came up.

It’s obviously nothing new on the conversation table, but it got me thinking about what it is that makes us hurl at any thought of having purely electric cars in the future. After all, this is the direction that things are going in – see Dino’s EV story on Yamaha last week, if you don’t want to take my word for it.

Even more recently, Mark took a look at Bisi Ezerioha’s wild 935 K3V, making this a bit of an EV-centric week on Speedhunters. We’re not going to shun the tech, because there’s a lot coming for the enthusiast.

Back to the podcast… I pondered for a bit, and I realized that the key component that lures me towards older cars is the level of engagement you get from an overall driver’s perspective. And although that can be relayed back to many different driving components, I’d argue that having three pedals is the most important.


If you think about it, as the years go by and technology continues to progress, the amount of effort needed to drive a car has continuously become less profound. Electronic assists, tire compound, and all the like have resulted in effortlessly-fast lap times around a circuit, whilst simultaneously removing any ounce of soul left in the pleasures of being behind the wheel. And with companies like Tesla being the forefront to the madness, and other big-name manufacturers following, it’s clearly becoming obvious that driver engagement is pretty much a thing of the past. We hear constant rambles on about manufacturers creating a new form of autopilot, or how you can drive such and such’s car with only one foot, never having to use the brakes, ultimately relieving more and more necessary interaction as time progresses. For the masses, that may be all the rave, but for people like you and I, all of it is quite literally the opposite of what we want out of our cars.

That’s where people like Royce Hong come in.

Queue Royce

Royce is another one of us. At the age of five, he made his first venture in automotive design, plastering the walls of his grandmother’s home in Taiwan with nearly 50 drawings of different cars before facing consequences. Some years later, his passion for design prevailed, leading him to obtain a degree within the industry, followed by the founding of multiple design firms in his home country. Although his passion had always been rooted with cars, these companies focused on leveraging new technologies amongst the realms of design.


But that all took a drastic turn in 2013, when Royce had the chance to drive the first Tesla Roadster. “The experience of driving through the Redwood California forests while still being able to hear the birds chirping blew me away,” recalls Royce, and it was at this point where he was convinced that electric propulsion would be the paradigm shift for automobiles of the future.


A couple of years later, Royce became acquainted with his now good friend and business partner Azizi Tucker, who was one of the early engineers at Tesla and also shared a strong passion for sportscars. Azizi invited Royce over to his at home workshop to view a tube chassis that he was developing for e-racing, and asked Royce if he could design the body for the car. Obviously Royce was overwhelmed with excitement and took on the project as a passion-driven side gig, which soon after led them to their first automotive venture together.

The Development

Surely Royce sounds like an awesome guy, and so does Azizi, and of course we all dislike where the future is headed with electric cars. But what’s all this have to do with the Camaro pictured throughout the story? Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, this isn’t your average ‘69 Camaro restomod.

Because Royce and Azizi are driven by the same fuel-filled craving for cars that we are, they understand the importance of having a pleasurable and engaging driving experience when behind the wheel of one’s favorite sportscar. Those distinctive characteristics and feelings of adrenaline rushing through your body as you mash on the throttle and row through gears are familiar for them, too. This premise is precisely what their company, Xing Mobility, was founded on.


As Royce and Azizi continued development on their e-racer, they were faced with numerous obstacles. Mind you, this was back in the early days of EV development, so sourcing batteries, drivetrains, and everything else needed to make a car move were quite scarce in the EV world. Their biggest setback was finding batteries that could be powerful enough for what they needed, whilst retaining a lower weight, and of course maintaining cool temperatures under heavy load. After months of searching for a distributor, they were left empty-handed, and decided to devise a solution of their own. They developed what was ultimately named IMMERSIO, an immersion-cooled battery system, which eventually proved successful in their e-racecar. It was light, made great power and torque, and most importantly, was easily configurable to any chassis. That last bit became the foundation of the Camaro.

Vintage Meets Electrics

The Camaro started off as a restomodded SEMA car that Royce happened to stumble across at one of the aftermarket supplier factories in Taiwan. He fell in love with the Chevy, and purchased it to add to his eclectic collection of other cars. It was equipped with a small block 350ci V8, manual transmission, and the usual works found in any modestly-modified ‘69 Camaro.


The car had been sitting for quite some time prior to Royce’s acquisition, and as with any carbureted car, was running poorly because of it. Being that Xing Mobility was going through its emergence period, and was starting to get requests to retrofit other vehicles – both recreational and industrial – with their technology, it made logical sense to use this car as their demonstration vehicle for perspective clients. So they developed what they call the Xevo-Matic plug and play solution, which is essentially a crate engine that can be developed for virtually any vehicle platform.


But here’s where things get interesting. As Royce and his team were approached by clients, they weren’t only asked to deliver a conversion motor, but also so an entire drivetrain solution. So instead of coming up with something that would replace an entire driveline, they engineered an adapter that allows the motors to work with virtually any manual transmission on the market. And the best part of it all is that the motors, batteries, and accessories are designed to retain the factory mounting points of the original motor, which means that an owner could easily revert back to their conventional engine, should they choose to.

Game Changer

To think that you can turn any conventional ICE vehicle into an EV is impressive in itself. And yes, I know that there are others in the industry that have and continue to make conversion kits as well, but for the first time, Royce and his team have brought back the missing pedal that others haven’t been able to deliver on. And I think we can all agree that that is the key ingredient that gives us that special bond with our cars.


So this begs the question: Is this going to be the way of the future? When put into perspective, we’d have virtually everything we could ask for, minus the smell and sound that comes with a traditional classic. Some may argue that those commodities are necessary, too. And while I agree, I can’t argue that if regulations forced out all ICE vehicles some day, I wouldn’t be completely disappointed knowing that I could retain my manual transmission – would you?

Naveed Yousufzai
Instagram: eatwithnaveed
Email: naveed@speedhunters.com

Pure Electric Power


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I've got one question.. WHAT ARE THOOOSE?!? Seriously what are those wheels? Why do they exist? Might as well not put any tires on them at all and instead paint the circumference with a small black line..


My sentiments exactly!


Raffa wheels. Looks like a collaboration with Rough Crafts design and Raffa wheels


Good eye! Those are indeed Raffa wheels designed by Rough Crafts. Winston of Rough Crafts is working with XING Mobility as a design consultant for the Miss R supercar and various other vehicle projects.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Companies like Bisimoto and Xing Mobility here, they are giving me a sense of relief and hope that the EV future has got aftermarket support as well. But when it comes to "exhaust" sounds, one can easily make the car's speakers to play them. I mean, even most performance cars today does that, right?


While playing videogames using a steering wheel step-up I always thought about that. You could have a a Logitech or Thurstmaster wheel to emulate the 3 pedals and stick. And you could hear whatever noise you want from the speakers. You could go to work driving a muscle car in the morning and come back home in an F1 car in the evening.


I was actually considering talking about this, but I think it would make more sense to save the convo for a story on maybe a tycan or model 3 or something of that sort. IIRC, you can configure the noise to sound like whatever you want it to sound like, which is pretty awesome.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Yup. On the Clio RS you can even select the sound to be some alien space craft or something. LOL!


The "exhaust sound" won't need speakers. There's a much simpler solution, which should be coming out soon.


That was a great post, but I have one comment, which is why I am commenting. ;-) You said something like 'We all don't like the way this is going', talking about electric cars. But it is not true. I like it. What I absolutely HATE though is what a lot of people are talking about; autonomous cars. I'm alright with the idea as long as you can alsi drive the car yourself, like a Tesla, but not even being able to do that?! Crazy bad. Oh, by the way, one other thing; Did Mr. Royce here say anything about the Xing Mobility Miss R? I'd be cool if that went into production.


The Miss R supercar project is chugging along with extensive testing. The prototype might be appearing stateside in the near future...


Autonomous cars are for the non-enthusiasts IMO. They are going to be used as mobile work spaces and meetings etc. And for those who just dont like driving or can't drive. Time will tell.


That's why he wrote "We all don't like the way this is going" right?
Also, I agree with you on the "autonomous cars" thing.


I thought the one point of a electric motor is there is no need to a transmission and no mechanical loss due to drivetrain. So with these conversions the transmission is adding mechanical loss and limiting revolutions just to give you the manual feel but for no other reason?


@Martin you are correct- a gearbox designed to match the motor and the vehicle will be more efficient. However in this case we are aiming to retrofit existing vehicles (mostly industrial and fleet) without having to go through the costly process of developing custom gearboxes. The ability to select gears for different situations is an added plus.


Forgot to mention that it should also increase range by having the option for higher gear ratios


Think of it as a torque multiplier, the motor will put out more power depending on the gear ratios


I'd like to see more of these electric cars with manuals to get a better idea of what it's like to use them together. While I will definitely love a screaming loud engine, I think a manual electric car could also be fun. The manual makes it fun.


Man, i don't want an electric whirr, or fake exhaust noise, in my car. That said, every emerging-tech car with a manual trans gives me some hope. I'd rather have this than, say, the 3cyl / hybrid powertrain of the BMW i8, with a dual-clutch, or the NSX's driveline-- even though it's an enjoyable experience-- because there are too many nannies creating that sense of easy speed. I may not be a fan of EVs, but maybe I could be if more of them were as "honest" as this one.


I absolutely love this car and it only makes it better that it is electric.


I do like the complexity, but I don't like how electric is taking over. So will we still be able to have gas cars in the future when electric cars take over? somebody, please give me an idea


Internal combustion engines are still far - very far - from dying. The goal today when it comes to developing an ICE is to increase the thermal efficiency (how much power from the combustion is actually going to propel the wheels instead of being wasted as heat). Meanwhile, EVs are still considered stopgaps for passenger cars as the main challenge for EVs are the energy density (they still use a heavy battery unit for the same range in relative to their gas-guzzling counterparts).In short, both ICE and EV are developed side-by-side, and EVs still have a long way to go in order to actually taking over our daily means of transportation.

To answer your question, though, I’d like to say it this way: we still got horses left in the age of ‘horseless carriages’ that are ICEs, and I’m convinced that we are facing that pattern of introduction again.

Well, who knows if we would still see LS-swapped Miatas coexist with EV-swapped Camaros like this


Its gtreat that we are making electric our own. The alternative is to be left behid. I have an ICB engine swap goig in but I am working out a four wheel tire motor unit, so I can work out electric torque vectoring that feels natural to me. If we build it and drive it and enough of us do it, it will just happen. So who has tried double joy stick drive by wire like in an excavator thats what I want in my E Civic build. Wheels ad tires and connected to the Road/Ground.


If electric cars have a manual transmission, then I'm in


Speedhunters gone woke?


We love everything!


Seems like it, but this project looks promising for the future of conversions.
I'd be more than happy to convert my S14 in the future to somethink like this as long as I can keep the manual gearbox.


I am one of the ones that doesn't like this EV biased future, but I'd still swap my SR20 in my S14 for something like this in the future as long as I can keep the manual gearbox, and also have some luggage space in the trunk.


I can only imagine how much hate mail they're going to get from the purists. I would convert mine to all electric if I could. The technology for battery power and the issues with driving distance is changing fast. Also, this is just another path for auto enthusiasts to go down, develop and grow, cleaner air is another benefit.




Directly from the source:
IMMERSIO battery system: 108 modules/4,536 Li-ion 18650 cells
Capacity: 51 kWh
Nominal Voltage: 400 Vdc
Liquid Cooled AC-Induction Motor with integrated inverter/DCU
Peak Output: 282 hp
Peak Torque: 400 Nm @0-3,889RPM
Curb Weight: ~3,800 lbs
0-60mph: ~7 sec
Top speed: ~124 mph
Range: ~180 miles

So roughly same hp as a normal 350 small block, but way more torque. weight is a bit on the heavier side of course, but not too terrible given that a the additional ~500 lbs would be the same as having 2 american sized humans riding passenger lol.


that's really cool what they've created. i wonder if they will be able to downsize all that stuff so we can bolt it on to something smaller like a miata.


We’re slowly heading there, Steve. One of the current main concern in developing EVs is to increase the energy density of the battery pack, meaning that we would be able to travel further with the same physical amount of batteries, or less batteries for the same range. Soon enough and you’ll be able to feed your Miata with premium electron juice and not pump gas.


They'd have to bolt all that in, under, in the driver seat and on the outside of a Miata...


Well, a miata is a lot lighter so you need a lot less battery cells for the same range


Am I missing something or did I just read an entire article on a car that didn’t provide any performance specifications whatsoever?!? If we’re talking EV’s, the only things I want to know is acceleration, top speed and range (at full throttle).


I listed it below on one of the comments.


Whoa, never thought I'd see the day...but I'm diggin it.
The specs really impress me. Can't wait to see what the future holds for this industry.


AMAZING!!! Now all we need to do is wait a while till the battery weights come down. Maybe when they start using Graphene as a material, it is a superconductor.


In the world of democracy, and free speech, I reveal that I would stick to ICE, as long as I could. Will always prefer ICE in any combination over pure electric, except for the family hauler. Will always pick a DCT tranny hooked to gas engine, over electric motor that's mated to manual. The best combo would be firebreathing gas engine, with a manual tranny.


Peanut butter and jelly. This thing is more like peanut butter and kale.....


My interest for EV continues to grow... Awesome writeup on this awesome project!


I love companies like this, you should not see this as ruining classic cars but future proofing them. I cant wait for this tecnology to become more mainstream and afforable




As electric vehicles will eventually end up being the only future option I'm totally on board with this. So damn cool


The context and so on of this build is great and all, but these articles are kind of pointless without technical and install details.


Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire


I love new electric drivetrains; just not in an old car. You mention the manual transmission being one of the key ingredients, another is the soul-forming internal combustion engine.

I work in a cutting edge industry, where new tech practically pours out of vending machines..... however, when it comes time to get home and tinker/drive, I want old "fun" stuff. I'm just seeing a surge in guys opening up EV-swap businesses trying to carve out a new niche market by swapping them into classic cars. Lots of initial marketing money..... but then.....


I agree - being able to keep the car in the right torque range (why a gearbox is needed) and being able to physically select that gear is a large part of why driving is such a joy - for me, it is about control.
I can’t understand however how that helps with an EV. Electric motors produce peak torque at start, gradually falling off the curve. Power and torque are maintained by adding current and rpm. (Check out any high end slot car and controller if you need an example). Given the motor characteristics, how does a manual gearbox assist? Surely the motor only needs a reverse current for braking and current management for power...