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The second annual Holley High Voltage Experience presented by eBay Motors has once again arrived in beautiful Sonoma, California. High Voltage Experience offers a different flare than the bevy of other Holley events, giving special cadence to the rapidly growing electric vehicle segment.
EVs are bringing a new generation of gearheads into the performance, motorsports, and automotive customization space and High Voltage offers that unique community a place to gather, experience their car’s adrenaline-inducing potential in a safe, racetrack environment, and enjoy a unique gathering of EVs from multiple brands, build styles, and even some wild, home-brewed creations. It's truly a one-of-a-kind of kind event for a rapidly growing segment of the auto industry.
So if you have an EV, want to learn more about them, or simply enjoy the kinship of like-minded automotive enthusiasts, join us for the weekend at Sonoma Raceway (July 9-10). We will be posting updates, results, and coverage throughout the weekend.
Scroll below for event galleries, coverage, features, and results coming soon.
Steve Huff Motorsports was on hand with the "Faster Than Cancer" EV dragster, and the team was putting the drag strip to good use all weekend long. After numerous passes in the 190-plus MPH range, Steve ran the car on Sunday to a new personal best of [email protected] MPH. There was no removing the smile off of Steve's face afterwards!
Holley High Voltage provided a unique opportunity to check out home-built EVs and professional race machines alike.
Holley High Voltage Experience brings together some truly unique rides. From the EV industry's latest and greatest to home-built masterpieces, everything is represented in spades.
Jeremy Snow has been building his converted K1 Attack for the past three years and High Voltage is its track debut. The K1 Attack is a kit meant to use Honda Accord running gear, but Jeremy opted to use Tesla Model S drive unit and LG Chem batteries from a Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. Four battery modules are in the front, but most of the weight is in the rear. “Range is about 125 miles,” Jeremy told us, which is a great compromise considering the curb weight is only 2580 pounds with 52.5% of the weight on the rear axle. With around 600 horsepower to play with, the 325/30ZR19 Michelin rear tires do their best to push the roadster along the autocross. “My problem isn’t power,” Jeremy told us, “it’s putting traction down. There’s no problem at all breaking loose.”
The Greens, a father and son engineering team from Sacramento, spent the early part of the COVID19 pandemic building this sharp, faceted, open-wheel machine. It’s actually their second build that uses this custom chassis of their own design, but the first with electric power. About 10 years ago, Dave Green built a similar car with an LS1 drivetrain. That was fitting, as the car uses C5 Corvette suspension front and rear. This one uses the same Corvette suspension but it’s powered by an 80KW Nissan Leaf drive unit and Chrysler Pacifica hybrid batteries and uses a Thunderstruck Motorsports VCU. The chassis is made from a mix of 2-inch, 1-3/4-inch, and 1-1/2-inch tubing and the body panels are aluminum sheets. It only weighs 1740 pounds, so the 108 horsepower doesn't have much work to do. It’s fun as is, but there are already plans for a newer Leaf drive unit, which is identical is size but packs exactly twice the power.
San Jose State University's Spartan Racing Formula SAE Electric Team returned to High Voltage Experience with their award-winning racer. Joining them this year is the Cal Poly Formula SAE team with "Gigi", their racer. Both of these cars use a combination of light weight, aerodynamic tricks and engineering challenges presented to them by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in an international championship format to see which competing team engineered the best car. San Jose's car has taken a first place award in Endurance testing and a second-place overall win at the FSAE competition.
Eric Misharev began the EV conversion on this VW Thing about a year ago and recently made the switch to a Hyper 9 motor. It initially used four LG battery packs from a Chevy Bolt, however one of the battery packs was one of those affected by the recall and so the Thing is now down to just three. Range is currently around 50 miles. The motor mounts to the factory transaxle and thanks to the Thing’s low gearing, downshifting makes for some effective regenerative braking. Keeping the four-speed is Eric’s favorite part of the conversion and said it’s a blast to shift through the gears. “I usually start in Second gear. First is useless,” Eric admitted.
Saturday's action featured a car show, front and center, highlighting custom builds, hyper-polished paint, and creative wraps. On every corner of Sonoma Raceway EVs can be seen–and not heard– ripping around the road course, carving corners around the autocross track, and blasting down the dragstrip. The vendors midway is packed with cutting-edge technology, booth cars, and some seriously cool EV performance parts.
For some the motorsports events are an opportunity to test the limits of their cars in a safe and educational environment. For others, it was a chance to prove outright, behind-the-wheel supremacy. The weekend will feature a Grand Champion competition that pits the fastest accelerating cars on the drag strip with those that corner and stop the best on the autocross and 3S Challenge.
An Acura NSX might not be the first candidate for an EV conversion that comes to mind. The well-balanced supercars have a rabid fanbase and are highly collectible. None of that was a deterrent for Geoff Budd of Redwood City, California, who recently began a Tesla drivetrain swap on a well-used 1994 model. He bought the car on the east coast, sight unseen, without an engine. Its original V6 was long gone, replaced first by a Honda K-series four-cylinder, and the chassis had racked up more than 200,000 miles. If there was any NSX that was a perfect EV conversion candidate, it was this one. Still, Geoff was conscious that purists would balk at altering an NSX.
“The only part that I’ve cut so far is a subframe member that bolts in.” Geoff told us. He made sure those were available for sale before he ever laid reciprocating saw to metal. He’s still in the process of installing enough battery packs to give it a decent range, but so far batteries live behind the seats and forward of the engine bay, where the fuel tank used to reside. The Tesla Model S drive unit, mounted backward, keeps all of the mass in the center of the car and the factory Tesla CV axles were even the right spline to fit the Acura’s hubs, and only had to be shortened a bit. Once additional batteries are placed under the hood, Geoff estimates the curb weight will climb to about 400 pounds higher than the original NSX, with an even 50:50 weight distribution.
Pablo Paster of Novato, California, had never ridden a motorcycle before taking on his 1992 Honda CB750 EV conversion project, but still jumped into the swap with both feet. The motor, a MotoEnergy ME1003, kicks out 26 Killowats, a bit more than the original output of the gas engine. A lithium-ion battery, pirated from a Nissan leaf, provides about 35 miles of range and brings the weight to around 400 pounds, slightly under its original specs. Its geared for quick acceleration with top speed around 55mph, so its range makes it perfect for small trips around town. In the two years since its completion, Pablo has accumulated a few hundred miles on the bike.