A New Chevy Electric Engine Crate?
Working off the reputation of ‘killing the electric car’ is a full-time job and one Chevy is taking seriously. We were there when they announced the Chevy Volt and then followed up a few years later with the Bolt. After that, Chevy began debuting cars from their Hummer and Cadillac lines, with plans for several future models. But encouraging Chevy lovers to convert their beloved classic to a Chevy electric engine? That’s a move truly worthy of respect!
Unlike the days of old, Chevy has not only made this option available, they seem determined to ensure its success. Efforts are already underway to certify dealerships (and even aftermarket companies) for eCrate installation. U.S. Vice President of GM, Jim Campbell, says, “Our vision is…delivering a solution for every customer ranging from LSX V-8s to eCrate conversions.”
Chevrolet Performance plans to sell this “Electric Connect and Cruise” package in the second half of 2021. What is Chevy offering their electric car fans? Let’s see what the new 1977 K5 Blazer-E gives us.
1977 K5 Blazer-E eCrate and the Chevy Bolt
The Blazer-E eCrate incorporates the electric motor from the Bolt EV into a 1977 K5 Blazer. The engine is not particularly fierce, only putting out 200 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque. Considering the ’77 Blazer stock engine has an output of 175hp, the new eCrate is a little more than sufficient.
Along with the eCrate engine, many Bolt parts are incorporated. In fact, Chevy states that approximately 90 percent of the new parts installed for the eCrate package are factory components from the Chevrolet Bolt EV. For instance, the 60 kWh battery incorporates Bolt features like battery heating and cooling, battery-overcharge protection, shock protection and regenerative braking.
A number of aftermarket components are compatible with the vehicle. This includes an electric power steering kit, an electric pump that provides vacuum to the stock brake system, and an electronic controller that inputs to the vintage Blazer gauges.
Is There a Market for the 1977 K5 Blazer-E?
As opportunities come along you may mutter to yourself, ‘Admirable, but how successful could this be? Is there really a market for this?’ And in this case, there are some concerns.
Chevy has created a concept that seems very narrow — a 1977 K5 Blazer conversion with hardly more horsepower than a stock engine. It’s also costly and may not tempt classic car collectors. After all, many collectors are focused on original and stock parts. The battery pack also presents a challenge, as it takes up pretty much the whole back end of the Blazer. This move cancels out extra seating and storage. More encouraging, though, Chevy indicates that this is the beginning of something greater.
Check out what Russ O’Blenes, Director of Engineering at Chevrolet Performance and Racing has to say: “Minutes after Chevrolet showed the E-10 concept, customers started calling to ask how soon they could build their EV project. The K5 Blazer-E demonstrates what is possible for customers who want to convert their vintage truck to a daily driver with the instant torque and unique driving experience of an EV. For customers who want more extreme performance, the modular eCrate system will have virtually limitless applications.”
Will eCrates Be Successful?
Electric cars are the future, we all know that at this point, but Chevy is taking it to the next step. Will people respond? Some have. Others also may feel more inclined to convert to electric than one might assume at first glance. For example, cars from the 60’s and 70’s are a novelty, but matching numbers are getting harder and harder to come by as the vehicles age.
Consider too the allure of electric engines. They are faster on the uptake (a huge plus to racing enthusiasts), more efficient, easier to maintain and more reliable. In the case of trucks, electric engines provide a balance between the front and rear end, as they are lighter weight than their fuel counterparts. Plus, electric engines are a novelty of their own. Just pull up to a classic car show with your eCrate and see how much buzz is generated!
As we can see, it’s possible the trend will at some point become ‘original electric engines’ rather than ‘original stock engines’. The question left to ask is — Will Ford and Dodge join the trend?