Fans of wildmodified vehicles everywhere were pretty upset that the 2020 SEMA show was canceled due to COVID-19, which is understandable. Still, just because the doesn’t mean that there aren’t some epic vehicles coming out over the next week or two.
A perfect example of this is the Chevrolet K5 Blazer-E that GM announced on Thursday. What is a K5 Blazer-E, you might ask? Well, it’s a K5 Blazer that’s had the greasy old guts ripped out of it and seen them replaced with the clean, silent electric heart of a .
Yeah, you read that correctly — a Chevrolet Bolt. Interestingly, the electric powertrain from the Bolt is more powerful than the 400 cubic-inch V8 that it’s replacing. Chevy claims the old gas motor was good for around 175 horsepower (thanks ’80s smog regulations) while the Bolt motor makes 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.
What makes this particular EV swap interesting — beyond the fact that it’s being done by a manufacturer, of course — is that it’s still using both an automatic transmission and a transfer case. The Bolt drivetrain is paired with an electronically controlled four-speed auto and the Blazer’s original two-speed transfer case and solid rear axle.
Chevy says that 90% of the parts used in the conversion are stock Bolt parts. That means that all the EV bits should play together nicely and offer up the same features you’d expect from a production EV — advanced battery charge and thermal management, and even regenerative braking.
Really, the only major sacrifice you’re making here is the fact that the Bolt’s battery pack is just bolted into the cargo area of the Blazer, which feels both impractical and a bit ugly. Still, this is a concept and it was built for SEMA, so whatever works.
GM is working with Lingenfelter Performance Engineering to develop an installer program that should help make future EV conversions using GM’s parts a whole lot simpler for shops to do.
This is pretty cool, and I’m very excited to see where this goes once the General starts working itsinto the program.