NewsUplifting Arizona


Inside Legacy EV in Tempe as popularity in electric vehicles grow

Posted at 7:08 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 12:57:41-04

TEMPE, AZ — “It’s like drinking out of a fire house,” said Legacy EV CEO Rob Ward.

Ward started Legacy EV, a company that focuses on swapping out internal combustion engines for electric motors, in 2019 and has grown exponentially since its inception.

“A year and a half, two years later I got people looking at me with a look of deer in the headlights, like, did you have a crystal ball,” said Ward, with a smile.

That, of course, is because the cost of filling up your tank has skyrocketed. More people are asking him to pop open the hood, strip out the gas motors, fuel tanks and gear boxes, and replaced the soot-stained parts with banks of lithium-ion batteries and small but powerful electric motors.

It’s not cheap and most customers are car enthusiasts hoping to customize a classic ride with the latest tech. At the bottom end, you’re looking at, at least $16,000.

“Range - if you want north of 200 miles, pushing into that 300-mile range, you’ll be up over $60,000,” said Ward.

While that cost barrier can lock out quite a few, it’s expected to drop dramatically in the coming years. Ward says it’s not just personal vehicle owners ordering conversions at this point either.

“We’re working with airport tractors, street sweepers, we do ground service equipment, fleets,” said Ward. “Many corporate CEOs are integrating green technology into their businesses and weighing the costs of replacing versus converting fleets of vehicles.”

“We work with approximately 60 manufacturers, integrate all the components needed to make a complete system, so instead of going to 12 different manufactures to get all the parts you need, you just come to one place, and we put everything together for you,” said Ward.

Ward says the company is also focused on recruiting and training workers that will be critical to maintain electric motors as more hit the road.

Ward gave ABC15 a ride Monday in a recently converted 1968 Ford Bronco that now runs emission-free for upwards of 200 miles per charge. The cost equivalent to a mere 3 cents-a-gallon for gas versus 40 cents with its original engine.

It’s a niche business at the moment but not for long. Ward and his team say they are in it for the long haul, expecting fast times ahead for the industry as a whole.

“It’s been two years of just crazy exciting times,” said Ward. “Tesla really changed the game with the public and now this industry is set to take off in all sorts of exciting ways.”