Events / SEMA

SEMA360 Review: Electrifying Performance Potential

The Ford Mustang Mach E 1400 prototype assures us that there’s plenty of room for electric performance. (Image/Ford)

Now that the virtual 2020 SEMA360 event has concluded, one thing is certain: the industry is taking electric performance seriously.

But there’s plenty about battery-electric-vehicle (BEV) performance that’s still uncertain, namely: how soon until it hits the mainsteam?

So let’s share what we saw at the all-online-for-2020 SEMA show.

The OEs are on board.

As alluded to in our Detroit Roundup, the Big Three domestic automakers all have significant electric plans of one form or another. And not just in their daily-driver lineup either. The Mach-E 1400 prototype is a good example of how Ford is approaching electric performance.

For the off-road crowd, Jeep is teasing some specific off-road advantages that electric powertrains have over internal combustion engines, namely throttle control, torque curve and quietness.

The aftermarket is stepping up as well.

In fact, AEM Electronics won a SEMA Best Product Award this year for its EV Vehicle Control Unit. So it’s clear that there’s demand from folks looking to pull more performance out of their battery-powered rides.

And, if Chevy’s eCrate powertrain conversion kits take off, we might see a new evolution of the term “engine swap.”

Most importantly, the culture is embracing it.

The SEMA show attracts a different kind of automotive audience—folks that have a deep passion for all-things on wheels. And when passion runs this deep, it can potentially bring with it a reluctance to try anything new.

So it was reassuring to hear how electric vehicles were being welcomed by the automotive culture.

We heard about several new or growing e-race series, the rise of electric dirt bikes, the next generation of BEV performance, and plenty more on the electric horizon.

In short, electric vehicles are no longer a curiosity or a footnote in a manufacturer’s R&D brief. So anticipate seeing BEVs enter more and more performance conversations, speed shops and tracks across the country.

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