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The Drivetrain Swap Compromises The Rear Seats And Storage Area

Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric SEMA 2020 SEMA360
Image via Chevrolet.

Chevrolet is continuing to test the waters of electrification in the hot rodding space with some outside-the-box projects. The latest of which is a 1977 K5 Blazer that sees its malaise-era 175 hp, 400 cubic-inch V8 engine and three-speed auto ripped out, and is converted to run on electricity from the battery pack and motor out of a Bolt EV. The new “K5 Blazer-E” demonstrates what’s possible with the upcoming Electric Connect and Cruise package Chevrolet Performance plans to sell in the second half of 2021.

Chevy did a similar setup last year with a C10 conversion, dubbed the E-10. This K5 Blazer-E retains maintains the classic looks of the sought-after body-on-frame SUV, but 90 percent of the new parts installed for the eCrate package are factory components from the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric SEMA 2020 SEMA360
Image via Chevrolet.

That’s not to say that it’s perfect, based on the photos. With nowhere for the battery pack to go, this electric K5 Blazer loses its rear seats and functional storage area to the 400-volt, 60 kilowatt-hour Bolt EV power unit. The return on this tradeoff is 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, paired with a Chevrolet Performance electronically controlled four-speed automatic. Chevrolet says that the rest of the Blazer drivetrain remains untouched, including the transfer case, driveshaft and axles. The conversion also includes shock protection, battery heating and cooling, battery-overcharge protection and even regenerative braking. Other upfitting touches include an electric power steering kit, an electric pump providing vacuum to the stock brake system, and an electronic controller to drive inputs to the vintage Blazer gauges, including displaying the battery’s state of charge on the original fuel gauge.

Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric SEMA 2020 SEMA360
Image via Chevrolet.

Last year’s concept saw the battery pack placed in the truck bed of the electric C10. Again, losing its functionality.

During SEMA360, Chevrolet Performance will survey SEMA members interested in building their own electric projects to help finalize Chevrolet’s initial eCrate offering. But with the unwieldily packaging of the battery pack, it’s tough to say how attractive this Electric Connect and Cruise package will be.

Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric SEMA 2020 SEMA360
Image via Chevrolet.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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