Last year, Chevrolet Performance gave us a glimpse at the future of electric conversions with its modular electric crate motors and E-10 concept truck. At the time, the company was vague about when we might actually see crate electric motors and batteries on sale. This year, the company is back with a 1977 K5 Blazer converted using a near-production crate motor kit that’s slated to go on sale next year.
The K5 you see here has been restored to pretty much stock configuration. It also retains the solid axles, driveshafts and four-wheel-drive transfer case. This is because the electric motor is bolted to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic, which then hooks up to the original drivetrain. The electric motor is not one of the modular motors shown last year, but simply a Chevy Bolt EV motor, making the same 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque as the little hatchback. Providing power is the Bolt’s 60-kWh, 400-volt battery pack, and the same motor controllers, power inverters and battery cooling and management systems are all used. This allows the kit to offer all of the Bolt’s powertrain features such as regenerative braking, overcharge protection and battery temperature maintenance.
It seems that the eCrate Connect and Cruise package (named after Chevrolet Performance’s line of crate engine packages) primarily consists of Bolt EV parts.
You’ll still need to provide some parts on your own, as GM did for this conversion. The company had to pick up an electric power steering system, electric vacuum booster for the brakes, and a controller to send information on speed and such to the original Blazer gauges. Still, this package should give people a leg up in doing a conversion.
While the kit will be offered to private customers, Chevrolet Performance is going a step further and offering training on installation and service of these systems to dealers and aftermarket companies and shops. The first to take advantage of this is Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, the same company known for high-performance Corvettes, Colorados and other Chevy vehicles.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the package yet, but the company plans to start selling it in the second half of 2021. We should get pricing closer to that time. The company didn’t say anything about the modular motors it featured last year, but it did say it’s looking at offering additional eCrate options with more power, and likely eventually offer them with Ultium batteries like what will be used in the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyric.