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Chevy Is Making Electric Vehicle Conversions Quite a Bit Easier

Ben Parker

The 1977 K5 Blazer-E uses a Bolt EV electric motor, delivering 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, paired with a Chevrolet Performance electronically controlled four-speed automatic. The rest of the Blazer drivetrain remains untouched, including the transfer case, driveshaft and axles.

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The task of converting your car from gas to electric is daunting. Unless you’re an engineer, an electrician, or a savant, which I’m none of, the task may seem intriguing enough you want to do it, but daunting enough that you don’t. Well, Chevrolet has made the process just a bit easier announcing that they’ll be selling an electric crate motor with batteries for electric vehicle conversions.


The first popular cars were electric, so we’re now coming full circle. Manufacturers are finally giving the people what they want. Chevy revealed their K5 Blazer-E that’s sporting a 200hp electric crate motor based on the Chevy Bolt. The Blazer is a ‘77, and it’s got as many original parts as they could keep, including functioning gauges that they retrofitted to work with the new electric system. The Blazer has been fitted with a four-speed auto transmission that mates to the original four-wheel drive system. 


The crate comes with a 60kwh battery pack also from a Chevy Bolt. In the Blazer they’ve just mounted this on the floor of the cargo area in the Blazer. 


"Minutes after Chevrolet showed the E-10 concept [in 2019], customers started calling to ask how soon they could build their EV project," said Russ O’Blenes, Chevrolet director of engineering, Performance and Racing. "The K5 Blazer-E demonstrates what is possible for customers who want to convert their vintage truck to a daily driver with the instant torque and unique driving experience of an EV. For customers who want more extreme performance, the modular eCrate system will have virtually limitless applications."


The “Electric Connect” and Cruise package go on sale in the second half of 2021 and they include a Bolt EV motor, battery pack, a DC to AC inverter, a DC-to-DC converter, wiring harnesses, controllers, and water pumps for battery heating and cooling. 


The hope is that this inspires other car manufacturers to create similar offerings for hobbyists and custom shops. Chevrolet has announced they’re planning on similarly certifying aftermarket installers who would be able to do the conversion for you. An interesting option as many people just want the electric car conversion without the fuss. 


For those still considering doing one on their own this is a great option as most of the hardest parts are figured out for you. This is essentially an electric vehicle conversion kit, but made all from a trusted manufacturer with a guarantee that everything works together. The outlying issue that you’ll have to figure out is mating the motor to whatever current drivetrain that you’ve got. It’s unclear, and I’m unsure what actually comes with the four-speed automatic. For the ‘77 Blazer  it looks like it’s got the original transfer case, driveshaft and original axles.


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Power for the 1977 K5 Blazer-E 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.

Credit Chevy