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.
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.
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.