Last year, Chevrolet Performance gave us a glimpse into the future of electric conversions with its modular crate electric motors and the E-10 concept truck. At the time, the company was vague about when we would see electric motors and batteries for sale in crates. This year, the company is back with a 1977 K5 Blazer converted using a near-production crate motor kit set to go on sale next year.
The K5 you see here has been restored to a near-default configuration. It also includes the solid axles, drive shafts and the four-wheel drive transfer case. This is because the electric motor is bolted to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, which is then connected to the original drivetrain. The electric motor isn’t one of the modular engines shown last year, but simply a Chevy Bolt EV motor, delivering the same 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque as the small hatchback. The Bolt’s 60 kWh, 400 volt battery pack provides power, and the same motor controllers, inverters, and battery cooling and management systems are all used. This allows the kit to provide all of the Bolt’s powertrain functions, such as regenerative braking, overcharge protection and battery temperature maintenance.
It appears that the eCrate Connect and Cruise package (named after Chevrolet Performance’s line of crate engine packages) consists mainly of Bolt EV parts.
You still need to supply some parts yourself, as GM did for this conversion. The company had to purchase an electric power steering system, an electric vacuum booster for the brakes, and a controller to send speed information and the like to the original Blazer gauges. Still, this package should give people an edge in performing a conversion.
While the kit is offered to residential customers, Chevrolet Performance goes a step further, offering training on the 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 its powerful Corvettes, Colorados and other Chevy vehicles.
Pricing for the package has not yet been announced, but the company plans to sell it in the second half of 2021. We should bring prices closer to that time. The company didn’t say anything about the modular motors it had last year, but it did say it is looking to offer additional eCrate options with more power, and will likely eventually offer them with Ultium batteries like the ones in the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyric.