Converting old cars into electric vehicles seem to be the hot new trend these days. Volkswagen did it recently with their Type 2 Kombi Bus, and now Chevrolet is fitting an EV powertrain into a 1977 K5 Blazer old-school SUV to be shown-off at the virtual SEMA show this year.
However, the coolest part about the electrified Chevy K5 Blazer, called the Blazer-E, is the fact that you will be able to purchase the electric powertrain separately – similar to a “crate engine” – to be used on your own DIY projects!
The eCrate powertrain, or the Electric Connect and Cruise (Chevrolet’s crate powertrain naming scheme), will consist of mostly EV parts from the Chevrolet Bolt. These include a 200 hp and 361 Nm electric motor, a 60 kWh battery pack, a DC-to-AC power inverter to drive the electric motor, DC-to-DC converter to power the low-voltage systems, water pumps for battery heating and cooling, as well as all of the of the necessary wiring harnesses and controllers.
These parts will allow the kit to provide all of the special features required on an EV including shock protection, battery heating and cooling, battery-overcharge protection, and even regenerative braking.
The Blazer-E is also equipped with a traditional four-speed automatic gearbox, though it’s unclear if the transmission will make its way into the eCrate powertrain as EVs don’t necessarily need a wide range of gear ratios to operate. Builders will probably still include it for fun though, such as the Ford Mustang Lithium EV with a manual transmission we saw at SEMA last year.
Just like what GM did with this conversion, you’ll still need to provide some parts of your own for your DIY projects. The Blazer-E received a new electric power-steering system, electric vacuum booster for the brakes, as well as a new controller to adapt to the original Blazer gauge – the battery charge levels are displayed on the fuel gauge, how cute!
No pricing information is provided just yet, as Chevrolet is still evaluating the parts to be offered, including higher-performance options and new battery configurations to fit a wider range of aftermarket applications – such as the Ultium battery system that’s used on the all-new Hummer EV pick-up truck. The company plans to make the eCrate available in the second half of 2021.