Electric conversions made easy? Tesla driveline swap kit for classic pick-ups

Aftermarket giant Holley aims to make bolting a full Tesla subframe into a Chevrolet C10 easy


Performance giant Holley has continued its expansion into the electric-swap world, unveiling a kit to bolt a whole Tesla rear subframe into a classic Chevy C10 truck.

Designed for 1973-1987 C10s, the subframe mounting kit is sold under the AEM EV brand and allows a Model X or Model S subframe/motor combo to sit in a notched chassis with aftermarket coilover shocks.

Holley, which currently owns dozens of big-name aftermarket brands including Flowmaster, MSD, B&M, Earl’s, Mallory and Weiand, purchased the assets of AEM in 2021 for $52m USD ($76.9m AUD).

While the bulk of Holley’s brands are dedicated to serving the internal combustion engine, there is no doubt the company see a major opportunity in the EV conversion space.

AEM describes its EV sub-branch as specialising in parts that “simplify the conversion process,” including power distribution units, wiring harnesses, and CAN equipment.

AEM pulled off the first successful Ford Eluminator swap last year by fitting the electric crate motor to an S197 Mustang.

Interestingly, there’s already a Tesla-swapped C10 hooning around the US in the form of the this Salvage to Savage missile, but it’s certainly not as subtle as the possibilities this kit offers.

And Ford has had a lash an EV-powered classic pickup, debuting their twin-motor, AWD 1978 F100 at SEMA 2021.

At around $700 USD ($1035 AUD), the mounting kit is very much at the cheaper end of the total cost of an EV swap, but it represents a new direction for Holley, which has developed a sub-brand dubbed Holley High Voltage to promote the EV conversion cause.

This has extended to a series of live events under the Holley High Voltage Experience banner that mixes appearances by influencers such as Rich Rebuilds with track action including autocross and drag racing.

AEM is far from the only EV-swap group offering conversion kits: EV West lists a range of packages for classic Porsches and Volkswagens, and Melbourne’s own Jaunt Motors merged with Zero EV to produce conversions focused on Land Rovers and Minis. But they and the other players are dwarfed by Holley’s distribution and marketing muscle.

While Holley and AEM haven’t offered any EV subframe kits for other vehicles just yet, versions for more classic rides seem likely down the track as the battery-powered transplant industry continues to grow and more manufacturers hop on the train.

And while it is unlikely that Holley would go to the trouble of engineering kits for the relatively small Australian market, it isn’t too hard to imagine some of our larger aftermarket players coming to the party with the goodies needed to more-easily EV-swap our native metal. A Tesla powered HQ one-tonner anyone? TIme will tell.