Kindred’s Six-Figure EV-Converted Chevrolet 3100 Pickup Is an Electrifying Classic

Kindred’s Six-Figure EV-Converted Chevrolet 3100 Pickup Is an Electrifying Classic

11/29/2022

If you’re an absolute purist when it comes to classic vehicles, consider this your trigger warning to avert your eyes now. Kindred Motorworks is introducing its latest all-electric conversion of a vintage vehicle, a 1947-1953 Chevrolet 3100 from the Advanced Design generation. It’s also more than just an EV conversion of an old-school pickup as, much like its gas-fed lineup, these are hot rodded vehicles with modified chassis, modern entertainment electronics, and custom touches to the exterior. It also gives us some modern Silverado EV vibes in its features along with its battery power source.

Coming out of the heart of California’s Bay Area not far from Silicon Valley, the San Rafael crew at Kindred Motorworks has stuck to its script providing a turnkey electric conversion that you’ll struggle to pick out as, well, electric. Viewed from outside, with its hood closed, this looks like any other 1947 to 1953 Chevy truck that’s been mildly hot rodded.

Inside, the only clues to its electric power are the lack of a traditional shifter and the use of a “PRND” dial, but you might also expect it to have a modern transmission that lacks a truly physical connection between it and the actual shifting mechanism. Heck, even the interior just looks like a street rod setup with its leather-wrapped bench seat with a stowable center console arm rest, a touchscreen infotainment system with a triple speaker and subwoofer setup—that also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto—wireless phone charging dock, and a backup camera.

Yep, the only true way to know without lifting the hood is watch one pull away from a stop and realize it isn’t making any noise.

All Motor, but No Gas Required

Those sounds of silence emanate from a 294-hp motor, which is powered by a 74-kWh battery capable of delivering up to 200 miles of range. Kindred splits the battery into two modules, with one under the hood and the other living underneath the cab and between the frame rails of the custom chassis. The preproduction 3100 EV is also charged by an onboard AC charger using the common J1772 connection, but the hope is to have an in-house CCS DC fast charging system on all Kindred EVs in the near future. While it would have been more interesting to see the original filler neck or an homage to it to be used as the location of the charging port, Kindred decided to make it more like a street rod style and locate it in the same spot as a custom filler neck would be located—right on the right rear fender. This location and the design also allows for the use of the J1772-CCS combo charger in the future.

Where Does The Sheet Metal Come From?

While that’s interesting to know, you’re probably wondering—and some of you are probably hoping—that these trucks are made from all new sheet metal like a few of the lower volume, turnkey electric classic vehicle converters are doing. Nope. These 3100s need to be sourced by the customer, mainly so that Kindred can harvest the donor vehicle’s VIN to ease registration issues.

Amenities of Modern Convenience

Worry not, despite its EV conversion and ancient donor truck, the 3100 is chock full of modern amenities. The preproduction 3100 conversion is currently using electric power steering assist (column-mounted) that helps crank the rack-and-pinion steering setup. Kindred is also in the process of testing an electric-hydraulic system, if that proves to deliver better performance and reliability. Power assisted brakes are managed using a Bosch iBooster system that Kindred points out is similar to what’s used on the Tesla Model 3 and helps the driver’s foot send clamping power to the four-wheel disc brakes. Even the parking brake is an electric conversion. Meanwhile, the HVAC system uses a 400-volt Mitsubishi AC compressor system and the heater uses a 400-volt Webasto water heater. Not only does this system reuse the pop-up cowl vent—the right side louvers aren’t functional, but are present on the preproduction—but are also used in heating and cooling the battery system, too.

Modern Amenities, Classic Design

Outside, the stock-looking lighting is all LED converted, a nice detail. Ditto the “Kindred” logo cut into the cover of the underhood battery pack cover, which also lights up when you want it to. Kindred is hoping its battery supplier Kore Power will be able to make a smaller front battery design, which would open up the already massive underhood space to be used as a large frunk (front trunk), just like the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV has. The Kindred 3100 EV even has a 1,000-watt power inverter for true 120-volt power and an outlet in the bed that even includes USB ports.

The preproduction truck shown here is a little less forward-looking underneath its cool detailing, relying on a De Dion-type rear axle with leaf springs formed from an in-house design. The front uses a hot-rod-style independent conversion, which is headed for the rear in the production model, along with a vendor-supplied reinforced frame.

Regardless, those axles and front spindles will be attached to a set of 17-inch aluminum wheels designed to replicate the original Advanced Design wheels and will fit a set of chrome hubcaps with “Chevrolet” embossed into them. The tires will also be a set of Continental TrueContact Tour tires, but sadly won’t have any whitewall treatment.

Not Cheap—Obviously

Unfortunately, the modern amenities, bespoke chassis, and the EV conversion of an Advanced Design truck doesn’t come cheap. After first sourcing a usable 1947-1953 Chevrolet 3100, which isn’t cheap to begin with, you’ll need to send it to Kindred Motorworks along with $159,000 to complete the entire conversion. Then again, with the way dealerships are marking up new cars these days, that might be the same cost as a brand new Silverado EV or GMC Sierra EV. That said, a modern truck just doesn’t pull off the looks of a true classic like the Advanced Design—which, thanks to this EV conversion, finally delivers an Advanced experience outside of its styling.

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