One DIY to Rule Them All: The Electric 1965 Cobra


A 1965 Cobra on the road turns heads and it is hard to improve on that automobile – that is unless you make it fully electric, which is exactly what Wayne Krauth is doing in his garage.

The car itself is a kit car made by Factory Five and the kit alone cost $20,000. Mr. Krauth explained,

Factory Five makes this kit and they have done it in such a way that this body is so true to the original Cobra that it includes ten flaws that original one had. For example, one of the rear fenders is taller than the other and there’s little alignment problems on it.

There is no power anything on the car, thus true to the ‘65. The frame of the car is 4 inch steel tubing to mirror the original Cobra’s frame. In fact in some states, like Florida, this type of kit car when fitted with a gas engine is registered as a 1965 Cobra; the Factory Five specs are that good.  The rear end frame is the same rear end found in a Ford F250 pickup truck, and after ten months of work, Mr. Krauth is about 50% done with the project.

The body of the car is one piece fiberglass and the car weights about 1,700 lbs including the current batteries. The battery pack Mr. Krauth is using, for now, is a lead 72 volt pack; these get him maybe about ten miles on 500 amps. This lead battery pack is only for test purposes. The goal is to put lithium batteries in the car, eventually.

I am still trying to develop my lithium plan. There are a lot of choices out there and there is quite a bit of change going on. Some better high performance batteries are coming out; higher performance is going to be a smaller battery with a lot of power. Either a lot of energy stored to release that energy over time or a lot of current, or both. I have to find the right balance of price and performance and range. Those are mutually exclusive things, you choose two not three. That’s a choice I have to make. This car has been a classic power house, so with the lithium, the set up I have, and the motor that’s in it, this car will be more than V8 performance.

The motor is an 11 inch high voltage NetGain motor. The motor is good for 288 volts. The control is good for 1400 amps. As for the top speed for the Cobra, well it is currently unknown. Mr. Krauth explained,

The top speed is basically limited to how many RPMs I dare run the motor at. They say try to keep it at 5,500 or less, but they test it to 8,000, and people who race it run it to 10,000 RPM. At this point the rear end is the only thing that will affect it. I have a 4:10 gear rear end in it which will make this thing about 106 mph top end. But if I go to a 289 than the top end goes to, well way faster.

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About the Author

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison
  • Lithium electrics for light weight, and designed from the get go to be replaceable, recyclable, no mechanical “Rear End” – Speak to the electric motor engineers – yes they can !, to reduce power train to three moving parts, and a hemp car body from University of Alberta , Canada, for light weight and environmentally friendly renew-ability. Gotta be the 1965 Cobra – timeless design. Imagine the commute in this two seater! and affordable in the new American economy too! Candidate for expoet to the Pan Eurasian scene? You bet!

  • A quick update from Mr. Krauth himself:

    Mr. Krauth wanted to share that the $15 – $19K lithium pack that he is planning to use actually cost closer to $10K through a new supplier that Mr. Krauth has just found. Mr. Krauth is testing the cells now. This means that the overall cost of the finished car will now be in the 40’s – so a much less expensive project than projected.

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  • Just for Hellery, will somebody figure out the cost of the’ three moving part’ power trains in electric cars over their lifetime, and reveal their true lifetime? (transplantable to new bodies even?) Add to this, a reasonable figure for the cost of designed to be recyclable lithium batteries . add it up, compare to typical gasoline type vehicles and let the truth out!

  • Jake

    Quote: “My plan is to put in a two phase 30 amp outlet to my garage to feed the car. …”
    Actually two hots is still single phase.
    Great project; and more power to ya …!