The center of the car modification universe is the Las Vegas Convention Center this week as it hosts the 2023 SEMA Show, which puts a spotlight on crazy cars and intriguing upgrades.
Hosted annually in Las Vegas by the Secondary Equipment Market Association, this year’s show is estimated to have over 2,200 exhibitors and about 160,000 attendees, an increase over last year.
The industry for modifying cars is large. An economic report from SEMA estimates this industry contributes $337 billion to the U.S. economy and adds about 1.3 million jobs.
Here are some products on the show floor that were eye-catching.
Conversion kit to switch gas engines to electric
Scorpion EV is a company that offers a conversion kit for those looking to swap out engines in older cars for engines powered by electricity. The conversion kit comes with a 12-volt engine and instructions on how to replace the inner workings of a car to be powered by an electric engine. The company is focused on getting its kit to do-it-yourself-mechanics that are interested in working on classic cars and in making the switch to electric, said Karen Salvaggio, vice president of business development for Scorpion EV. The engine in Scorpion EV’s conversion kit has a range of about 200 miles.
Four-seat mobile tailgate
There were plenty of outdoor recreation-focused items at SEMA, but the four-seat tailgating kit from Overland Eagle can be attached to the back of a vehicle.
The four-seat tailgating kit can fold into a tight box and be driven wherever a car goes and extends out to have a four-seat setup as well as space for a mini barbecue, a cooler and umbrellas to block out the sun. The layout for the tailgating kit is also flexible and can be arranged in many different ways from a semicircle behind the vehicle or with two seats on each side of the vehicle.
Right now only larger SUVs and trucks can tow Overland Eagle’s tailgating kit since it requires an 18-inch hitch height to work, said Overland Eagle co-founder Deler Dawood.
Overland Eagle used SEMA to preview the tailgating kit and should be able to send it to customers by the second half of 2024, Dawood said.
4K interconnected dash cams
Traditional footage from cameras placed on a car dashboard can be grainy, but BlackVue is hoping to change that with its 4K high-definition resolution DR970X-2CH dash cam.
This dash cam can be installed in any car and comes with a SIM card that can connect the camera to the internet and major cellular carries such as AT&T and T-Mobile, said Chris Mendoza, technical support manager for BlackVue.
This internet connection allows users to see the live footage of the dashcam through BlackVue’s mobile app or view past footage collected by the camera.
Mobile solar panels
There is a push worldwide and in Nevada for more clean energy to power everyday life. One company called Jackery showcased a range of mobile solar panels to provide renewable energy for people on the move.
Jackery’s range of mobile solar panels can generate up to 100 to 200 watts of energy. Jackery also makes mobile power stations that can store up to 3,000 watts of energy for its top-end models.
The company also displayed some prototype items including a solar panel that can attach to the top of rooftop car tents and a mini solar panel. The timeline of the mobile vehicle rooftop solar and minisolar panel is still being figured out, said Nimesh Patel, account manager for Jackery.
Plasma cut tools
Most of the items on the SEMA show floor were already made by the time attendees could see them. One exception was wrenches made in front of people by the Radnor plasma cutting table at the Airgas booth.
This machine uses plasma lasers to cut wrenches out of a sheet of metal and has a software program that allows for other simple metal tools to be cut out of a metal sheet.