Electric Hot Rod: Is Chevy's 450 Horsepower "eCrate Motor" the Future of the Hobby?
With the auto industry as a whole moving more and more into the world of electrification it's not surprising to see the aftermarket starting follow suit. And as the potential of EV conversions for vintage and enthusiast vehicles continues to go up, GM has lead the charge with a new concept electric crate motor setup at this year's SEMA Show.
To demonstrate what an application of an electric crate motor setup might be like, a 1962 Chevrolet Pickup was transformed into a one-off concept called the E-10 which has been outfitted with a number of parts from GM's production EV parts bin.
Sitting in the bed of the vintage pickup are a pair of 60kwh batteries from the Chevy Bolt EV, while up front where the engine would be are a pair of "eCrate" electric motors, also borrowed from the Chevy Bolt.
This really isn't much different from Chevy's existing line of crate motors and turn-key swap kits which take the engines and technology of GM's current performance machines and make them available to anyone who is building an old project car.
What's interesting is that the motor setup has been mated to a traditional 4L75-E automatic transmission, which GM envisions being sold in a complete "Connect & Cruise" package. When packaged in the E10, Chevy says the setup is good for 450hp to the wheels and a 0-60 time of about five seconds.
And for those who may be turned off the silent nature of the EV drivetrain, the E10 even has a system that will pipe in the soundtrack of various V8 engines or even another engine note that Chevy simply calls "futuristic."
While Chevy says the eCrate is still in the testing stage at this point, there's a lot of reason to be excited about this idea. Sure it certainly won't come cheap, and you'll have to consider battery placement when planning a project, but there's something very cool about a vintage vehicle with a modern electric drivetrain.
It should also be said that for those of us who live in states with strict emission laws like California, the idea of electric crate motors also opens a world of possibilities for cars which are subject to endless and tedious rules when it comes gasoline engine swaps.
As with any new technology it's safe to assume batteries and motors will only get cheaper and help make EV conversions more realistic for weekend warriors, and at the very least it's nice to GM making progress into this new frontier of hot rodding. It may not be for everyone, but there seems to be no stopping the electric movement, even when it comes to vintage iron.
Of course it's not just in the world of hot rods and vintage cars where we've started to see electric conversions get more popular, this year even saw the debut of an all electric Chevy Camaro in Formula Drift, and you can check out our detailed breakdown of that unique machine right here.