GM Performance unveils new electric crate motor concept

Electric crate motor-powered E-10 Concept truck unveiled at SEMA 2019


CHEVROLET Performance has unveiled its new E-10 Concept show truck at SEMA 2019, and the big news from this renovated pick-up is the electric crate motor sitting up front.

The concept is based on a 1962 Chevy C10 pick-up, and was built in just 18 weeks from initial idea to silently humming machine. Chevy is calling the space-age donk its “electric Connect & Cruise concept crate propulsion package”. The system comprises two eCrate motors, which are fed by a pair of 400-volt batteries mounted in the tub. The motors are doubled-up versions of what’s already fitted to the Chevy Bolt EV (an electric consumer car already on sale in the US), and the rest of the battery system is also borrowed from the Bolt EV.

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Chevy says the package is good for around 450hp, with a 0-60mph time of five seconds and high-13-second quarter-mile times. Drive is sent through a SuperMatic 4L75-E automatic gearbox to the rear wheels, and Chevy has programmed in five different modes of noise to choose from, all mimicking traditional dinosaur-guzzling V8s – including the likes of the 7.0L LS7.

The big news out of all of this is not that Chevy has put a fridge motor in the front of a C10, but that there’s a real chance that an electric powertrain may end up in the GM crate engine catalogue.

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“It’s all still in the testing stage, but this concept brings the electric option for hot rodders much closer to reality,” said Russ O’Blenes, GM Director of Performance Variants, Parts & Motorsports.

GM has teased an electric crate package before with its eCOPO electric Camaro drag car concept. Much like the eCOPO, the electric motors in the E-10 are designed to bolt up the conventional LS drivetrains, using LS and small-block Chevy bellhousing and bolt patterns.

Don’t get us wrong, the powertrain in the E-10 is still very much a concept for now, but O’Blenes said GM is committed to eventually offering it for sale. “For sure it’s a concept [right now], but once we work through the technical and commercial hurdles, it will be coming, maybe in a year or two. We’re fully committed to making this a reality,” he said.

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The E-10 won’t be a one-and-done show car either, with Chevy having plans to take the electric pick-up on the road. “We specifically designed it around Hot Rod Power Tour to have a 250-mile range, so our plan is to hopefully take it on the tour,” said O’Blenes.

GM really does seem keen on Dyson-powered street machines. Could we be buying electric crate motors to throw in our hot rods in the near future? Only time will tell.