Hitting the mark of “outrageously awesome” has been one of the guiding principles for veteran hotrod builder/car customizer and TV host Dave Kindig.

And anyone who gets the chance to check out his bright red eCF-1 roadster, a ground-up custom job that pays design homage to the legendary ’53 Chevrolet Corvette, probably isn’t going to disagree that he nailed his target once again. But those same enthusiasts may be a little surprised when they lift the hood to check out what’s powering this sleek, low slung speedster, only to discover a tidy storage space where they were likely expecting to see a monster, chrome-encrusted V-8.

That’s because Kindig turned to an emerging Utah startup when it came time to choose a power plant for his riff on the vintage Vette and instead of a deep-throated, double-exhausted Detroit-born combustion engine, the custom hot rod is powered by a turn-key electric powertrain package from Provo’s Hypercraft.

An all-electric 1953 Chevrolet owned by Dave Kindig is displayed at Hypercraft’s booth at the AutoRama car show at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Saturday, March 4, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Back in February, Hypercraft announced a $6.5 million round of seed funding led by fellow Provo business RevRoad Capital on a post-funding valuation of almost $52 million.

RevRoad Capital works in partnership with RevRoad LLC’s business accelerator program and both firms are working to rev up Hypercraft’s entrance into the EV-powertrain business.

“Hypercraft is a high-growth company that we’ve had our eye on for over a year now,” David Mann, managing director at RevRoad Capital, said in a statement when the funding round was announced. “Their leadership team combines innovative manufacturing experience and real-world business ingenuity to provide vehicle manufacturing a path to electrification. We’re thrilled to partner with Hypercraft, as it disrupts the rapidly growing EV sector in a variety of industries.”

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Conceived of in 2019 and launched officially in 2020, Hypercraft’s founders were originally on a path to develop their own electric powersports vehicles but while on that journey, discovered a serious supplier void when it came to electric powertrains.

“We went out to the market to find someone to supply us with motors, batteries and the other components we needed,” said Jake Hawksworth, Hypercraft co-founder and CEO. “Nobody could supply us with a turn-key system. You could find individual components but it was up to us to develop a full powertrain. That option was just not going to be economically viable as a vehicle manufacturing startup.

“And that was the pivot point. Access to EV powertrains was the bigger problem to solve.”

Hawksworth said he and his fellow co-founders, Jonathan Miller and Dr. Eric Ream united their mixed backgrounds that brought years of experience in business operations, manufacturing, product development and marketing to form the base of Hypercraft and recruited experts from the highly technical field of EV powertrain components and battery design.

Electric vehicle components are displayed at Hypercraft’s booth at the AutoRama car show at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Saturday, March 4, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Miller, who is serving as Hypercraft’s chief marketing and creative officer, said the company chose to stick with its original powersports roots when it came time to test its powertrain systems. Putting the Hypercraft drivetrain into high performance vehicles racing in some of the toughest conditions possible could provide an immediate measure of their new product.

“Racing is our performance halo,” Miller said. “It’s an exciting story to tell, but it’s also an area that pushes the limits of what these battery packs and motors can handle. These uses provide a lot of (research and development) data and that dovetails nicely into the automotive space.”

Hypercraft powertrains are showing up in extreme off-road races like Ultra4’s King of the Hammer series and the company has also partnered with Canadian race car company Scalar Performance to debut Scalar’sSCR1 — a NASA-sanctioned amateur race car, based on the Toyota GR86 and powered by a 245kW Hypercraft electric drive system.

The company is also finding interest in their powertrains to propel vehicles that never touch dry land, having added Halevai boats and Mayla Yachts to their client list.

People look at a diesel and electric powered military vehicle at Hypercraft’s booth at the AutoRama car show at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Saturday, March 4, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Hypercraft’s EV drive system bundle includes batteries, electric motor/motors, programming, wiring and a user interface in a turn-key system that, according to the company, takes all the guesswork out of integrating electric propulsion. And, the base package is customizable when it comes to power levels, battery packs and other components to meet the specific needs of clients.

Miller said the company is experiencing “overwhelming demand and interest” and sees an addressable market that’s far wider than the racing/yachting scene. Hypercraft reports its collaborating with 17 unique vehicle manufacturers across multiple transportation segments, including marine, automotive, government, racing and commercial.

The fresh capital from its seed round will help Hypercraft meet that demand as it makes new investments in engineering staff, EV battery research and development and capital expenditures to support scaled manufacturing, according to the company.

And, the Hypercraft EV drivetrain seems poised to grow its fan base among those who build sparkling specialty vehicles.

Kindig, who besides running his Kindig-It Design custom shop in Millcreek, also stars in the long-running “Bitchin’ Rides” TV show, said he first connected with Hypercraft at the massive SEMA automotive show in Las Vegas a couple of years ago.

Hypercraft CEO and cofounder Jake Hawksworth talks to an attendee at the company’s booth at the AutoRama car show at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Saturday, March 4, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

While Kindig built earlier versions of the CF-1 with combustion engines, he was on the hunt for a reliable, and replicable, EV power system for the cars, which are not one-offs. Kindig said he was pitched by companies who said they had the solution to electrifying his custom roadsters, but the systems were relying on the salvage process, with motors and components pulled out of wrecked Teslas.

“The reason that they stood out is because they were not harvesting off of wrecked cars,” Kindig said. “They were using all brand new components ... and actually had the capability of doing the bulk of the work in-house. Which, for my company, has always been important to have control of quality, design and logistics.

“And, the fact that they were working with their own people in their own building less than 40 miles away from us made all the sense in the world to work with them.”

Kindig, like Hypercraft, is seeing a huge response to, and interest in, electric-powered vehicles and said while the ECF-1 was his first foray into electrified hotrods, it was certainly not going to be his last.

“The success of this particular vehicle and the excitement I have now for electric-powered vehicles is definitely going to resonate when Season 10 (of “Bitchin’ Rides”) debuts this October,” Kindig said. “I think we’ll find a lot of people jumping out of the woodwork that normally would not have built a hot rod, but would probably venture to do one in electric power. Any hot rod shop that is looking to stay cutting edge, especially one that is design and performance-driven, I think that this will definitely be the next big boom.”  

Electric vehicle components are displayed at Hypercraft’s booth at the AutoRama car show at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Saturday, March 4, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News