Vintage SUV showcases new electric powertrain conversions.
During this year’s SEMA360 Virtual Event, Chevrolet Performance took the step of showcasing its new eCrate conversions which are designed to allow enthusiasts to install electric powertrains in vintage, performance and special interest vehicles.
Chief among them at SEMA360, was the Blazer-E, a 1977 K5 four-wheel drive sport utility that features a complete eCrate electric powertrain.
Outwardly, the goal was to retain as much of the factory look as possible, while 90 percent of the eCrate conversion parts come from the all-electric Chevy Bolt.
The Blazer had its original 350 ci (5.7-litre) V8, three-speed automatic transmission and exhaust system removed and replaced with the Bolt EV electric motor, delivering the equivalent of 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. This motor is teamed with a Chevrolet Performance electronically controlled four-speed automatic, while the Blazer retains the rest of its original drivetrain including the transfer case, driveshafts and axles.
Power is supplied by a 400-volt Bolt EV battery pack with 60 kilowatt-hours of usable energy installed in the cargo area. Using production controllers and wiring harnesses preserves many Bolt EV features, including shock protection, battery heating and cooling, battery-overcharge protection and even regenerative braking.
The aftermarket components also include an electric power steering kit, an electric pump providing vacuum to the stock brake system, and an electronic controller to drive inputs to the vintage Blazer gauges—such as displaying the battery’s state of charge on the original fuel gauge.
Chevrolet Performance has said it is in the process of certifying Electric Connect and Cruise installers. Participating Chevrolet dealers and aftermarket companies will receive the training, tools and equipment needed to work with high-voltage systems and charging stations to service customers’ vehicles.
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in Brighton, Mich., will be the first company to pilot the training and certification program. This experience will help inform the certification process for future installers.
The 60-kWh Electric Connect and Cruise package is expected to be available in the second half of 2021.