SEMA isn’t happening in its traditional form this year, but that’s not stopping Chevrolet from making a statement. The company has revised a 1977 Chevrolet K5 Blazer making it an electric vehicle. This revision is meant to promote the upcoming Electric Connect and Cruise package Chevrolet Performance plans to sell in the second half of 2021.
This also isn’t the first time that Chevrolet has shown off a modified all-electric truck at SEMA. Last year the E-10 Concept showcased the possibility of electrified hot rodding.
“As GM introduces a new fleet of electric vehicles, it creates an exciting opportunity to bring EV technology to the aftermarket,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports. “Our vision is to offer a comprehensive line of Connect and Cruise systems from Chevrolet Performance – delivering a solution for every customer ranging from LSX V-8s to eCrate conversions.”
With the build, the K5 Blazer-E retains as much of the stock Blazer as possible. Approximately 90 percent of the new parts installed for the eCrate package are factory components from the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
To convert the 1977 K5 Blazer, the team first removed from the Blazer the original 175-horsepower 400 cubic-inch V8, three-speed automatic transmission, fuel system and exhaust. The team replaced them with a Bolt EV electric motor that delivers 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. That power plant is paired with four-speed automatic transmission. The rest of the Blazer drivetrain remains untouched.
The electric motor is attached to a 400-volt battery pack that has 60 kilowatt-hours of usable energy and is stored in the cargo area. Using production controllers and wiring harnesses, Chevrolet was able to preserve many Bolt EV features, including shock protection, battery heating and cooling, battery-overcharge protection and even regenerative braking.
Chevy added aftermarket components including 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.
Ahead of the eCrate launch, Chevrolet Performance is 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, Michigan will be the first company to pilot the training and certification program.
The 60-kWh Electric Connect and Cruise package, expected to be available in the second half of 2021, includes:
- 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack
- 200-horsepower electric motor
- DC-to-AC power inverter to drive the electric motor
- DC-to-DC power converter to power low-voltage systems
- Wiring harnesses, controllers and water pumps for battery heating and cooling
Chevrolet Performance is also evaluating additional eCrate packages with higher-performance options and new battery configurations to fit a wider range of aftermarket applications.