a new performance era

April 25, 2020 /// issue no. 116

Drag racing is the quintessential American motorsport. It’s an exhibition of power, superiority, and freedom. Slap some horsepower on a car that wasn’t meant for it, mash the gas, and go in a straight line. Big displacement, big turbos, and big electric motors?

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This week Ford Performance announced their Cobra Jet 1400, an all-electric drag car whose name includes its horsepower. The Cobra Jet harkens back to 1968 when Ford built 50 Mustangs for NHRA stock-class drag racing that could run low-11s. Ford says the new Cobra Jet will quietly slip in to the low-8s.

Ford is, rather questionably, using the Mustang brand name to market their Mach-E SUV. Perhaps to Ford the Mustang brand is equal to performance, but I would not complain about a return of the Lightning name to represent Ford performance. Especially Ford electric performance.

One of the most interesting tidbits in their press release was a mention of AEM EV. In the early aughts AEM made street-legal cold air intakes for every vehicle known to man. They were also well known in tuner circles for their standalone ECU. The Cobra Jet 1400 is using some form of AEM’s Performance EV controls. If AEM can tame fuel and timing of an internal combustion engine, controlling electric powertrains has to be a walk in the park and a strong business move for them.

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A name from the same era of import racing, Bisi Ezerioha, has also made the move to EV performance. Back in the day, Bisimoto was known for building non-VTEC 1.5L single-overhead cam motors that could run low-10s in a Civic hatchback. Most recently Bisi has built an internet and Netflix famous 1000+hp Honda Odyssey and an all-electric Porsche “935”. Bisi’s weekly YouTube Q&A this week was largely on EV car tuning.

AEM and Bisi are moving in to the electric era while dinosaurs like me are still burning fossil fuels to satisfy our old souls. We are entering a new aftermarket performance era and EVs are at the center. Knowledge in aerodynamics, suspension, and tires will live on. Basic electrical concepts and controllers are the new playground for automotive tuners. Maybe it’s time to dust off that Electrical Engineering degree. EVolve or die.

Coffee time,
Steven


daily automotive addiction.