GM Gauging Aftermarket Interest in EV Conversions with Electric Blazer

As EVs become ever more popular, their practicality and ease of use grow, too. Meaning that conversions and crate motors will become increasingly popular, or so GM is betting. And to figure out if they’re right, they’ve built the K5 Blazer-E.

Complete with a 60 kWh battery pack and a 200 hp electric motor, it comes with everything you would need to do this yourself. That includes a DC-to-AC power inverter to drive the electric motor, a DC-to-DC power converter to power low-voltage systems Wiring harnesses, controllers, and water pumps for battery heating and cooling.

GM is calling it the Connect and Cruise package and wants to see if the people who attend SEMA are interested in such a package. This is still a prototype, though, so its creation involved GM engineers tearing the driveline out of a 77 Blazer and effectively swapping in a Bolt’s driveline instead. 

“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.”

If 200 hp doesn’t exactly sound like a lot, remember that this Blazer came with an engine from the ‘70s, which therefore made 160 hp from the factory assuming it was a 350 or 175 hp if it had a 400. So it likely won’t feel slower.

The question of which cars should or shouldn’t get an electric swap is an interesting one. I’ve always felt that it makes a lot of sense for vehicles whose engines aren’t the main attraction. A K5 Blazer, therefore, presents an interesting question. Chances are anyone picking one up was going to mess around with the engine because malaise-era V8s aren’t particularly good.

That doesn’t make them uninteresting, though. The market for speed parts is deep and a lot of people buy malaise-era cars precisely because they’re cheap and have the potential for power. So, the engine in a K5 both is and isn’t the main attraction. Personally, I think something a little more land-yachty would be a better fit for electrification. Indeed, GM says that there are more concepts like this one on the way.

The question of whether the aftermarket will pick this up will likely be impacted by the price, though. Unfortunately, it’s too early to tell, says GM.

“It’s too soon to discuss pricing as we have not finalized the components included in the eCrate system,” said a Chevy spokesman. “This is a key reason we are surveying SEMA members. Understanding what components they would need for their EV builds will help as we finalize the parts lists for our initial eCrate packages.”

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