Hot-Rod Companies Build EV Motor for Everybody, London’s “School Streets”, EU Announces LIFE Awards, and Big Bison Back in South Dakota

by | Feb 23, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Two after-market car companies build an electric motor that’ll fit almost any American hotrod paving the way for classic car electric motor retrofits , plus London initiates the “school streets” program to reduce pollution by getting children and their parents to walk or bike to school. The European Union announces its annual LIFE Awards– recognizing best projects for environment and sustainability from people just like you and me, except European…and Big Bison return to South Dakota…sort of.



 In order to really combat the Climate Crisis, we have to figure a way to retrofit existing cars with electric motors because it will be impossible to replace the several hundred million gas cars with newly manufactured EVs in time. So why not start by converting hotrods and classic cars? One of the biggest hurdles to EV swaps has been for builders to construct a driveline that can withstand the powerful torque of an electric motor, along with the big question of how to mount it in between the frame rails. The solution for a while has been to make custom motor plates under the hood from which the motor can hang. Then, building a drive adapter to match a motor’s output shaft with a driveshaft yoke usually involves spinning off custom-machined parts, which is both expensive and raises the barrier of entry. 

Revolt Systems and EV West are changing that with their Crate motor, which repackages the motor and inverter from a Tesla Drive Unit into a longitudinal format. The setup also uses standard Chevrolet small-block motor mounts, meaning that it will be a breeze to fit into practically any project. This design reduces the barrier to entry significantly because the most difficult engineering and fabrication has been taken care of, leaving the matter of building three mounts, two for the motor and one for the tail shaft, to you. Why Small-block Chevy? Other than the fact that GM vehicles are widespread and readily available in the classic car world, the iconic mouse motor was one of the highest-production engines ever built, selling across multiple brands for decades. The new electric crate motor arrives compatible with a wealth of ready-to-use swap kits for the trusty old gas-burner that will work in a huge variety of makes and models.

The estimated pricing is in the $25,000–$35,000 range for the crate motor package itself, not including associated motor controllers, batteries, and hardware. While still a major hurdle for many folks, “crate engines” like this go a long way toward introducing zero-emission solutions that will present minimal installation hurdles and in due time feel as natural as cross-pollinating gas engines in the hot rod and classic car universe. Go speed racer, go.

DEEPER,News Break




Across the city of London, neighborhoods have implemented a new initiative called “school streets,” closing roads to traffic in the morning and afternoon. The hope is to give students and parents encouragement to walk or bike to school and a safe space to do so. “School streets” is part of London’s wider initiative to promote sustainable transportation throughout the city. While the initiative was first introduced in 2017, Bloomberg CityLab reports the program has greatly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Parents across London schools have called the initiative an important step towards establishing sustainable transportation and low-traffic neighborhoods safe for children walking and biking. The initiative has also spurred discussions about installing traffic calming designs, cycle parking, and launching bike loan systems. Very exciting news in London suburbs for the global movement towards sustainable transportation.  

DEEPER DIVE: Bloomberg CityLab




 Sustainable, green and climate-friendly projects across Europe have been recognized in the at this year’s LIFE Awards. The LIFE Awards are sponsored by The LIFE program, the European Union’s arm for funding  environmental and climate-related projects across the continent. The program was founded in 1992. The LIFE Awards recognize the most innovative, inspirational and effective LIFE projects in three categories: climate action, environment and nature protection. Unlike past years, this year’s LIFE AWARDS was streamed online, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

A project in Portugal called FLAW4LIFE which takes mis-shapen and “ugly” fruit and vegetables and sells them in an alternative, parallel cooperative market won both the Environment and Citizens awards, the latter the result of a public poll.

Efforts across the southern and Dinaric Alps to encourage a cohesive and sustainable policy for the management of the brown bear population won the LIFE Awards Nature category. 

The FIRELIFE project in Hungary took home the Climate Action award for its innovative approach to forest fire awareness. With wildfires a relatively new phenomenon in central Europe, the goal of the project was to educate the population on the risks and consequences, and to draw together stakeholders such as landowners to create a long-lasting prevention strategy. 

A special ‘Adapting to COVID-19’ award was given to the Italian PrepAIR project, which had initially been funded to develop new strategies to improve air quality in the northern Po Valley region of Italy.

DEEPER DIVE: EuroNews, The European Commission LIFE Awards



In South Dakota, a Native nation living on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, released 100 American bison onto a 28,000 acre pasture, reported by Mongabay. From the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountain, an estimated 30 million bison once roamed the North American Great Plains region. Backed by the U.S. government, mass-hunting of the keystone species in the mid-to late 1800s fundamentally changed the makeup of surrounding societies and landscapes. Today, the return of bison marks a culturally and environmentally significant moment for the Native nation. The initiative is part of a collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund and US Department of Interior. Looking towards the future, Native leaders plan to expand the herd to 1,500 bison over the next five years.