There are quite a few conversion companies out there these days that will take select classics, and turn them into electric vehicles. And while they’re all pretty tasteful, none of them are cheap. We’re talking well into six-figures not cheap. Seeing opportunity to bring costs down, OEMs are entering the fray with kits of their own, but they’re not exactly perfect either. For instance, Ford Performance will sell you an Eluminator electric crate motor, but no batteries. And Chevrolet Performance looks to sell you an eCrate system, but the battery pack is nearly impossible to package. But things continue to move forward, and we got a close-up look as to how that looks with this fully-electric 1972 Chevrolet El Camino from Lingenfelter Performance Engineering at the 2021 PRI Show that took place in Indianapolis last week. And they call it the “eLcamino.”
1972 Chevrolet “eLcamino” Concept: First Details
With the help of technical guidance from Chevrolet Performance engineers, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering is the first company to complete an independent installation of the Chevrolet Performance Connect and Cruise eCrate system into the eLcamino. This 1972 Chevrolet El Camino was used as part of a pilot program to validate the system for installations and establish a certification program for independent installers.
Underneath a soft tonneau cover, the truck bed of the “eLcamino” 1972 Chevrolet El Camino at the 2021 PRI Show housed a 66-kWh battery pack, with the drive motor supporting electronics and thermal management system components mounted under the hood. A four-speed automatic transmission connects with the motor to send power to the rear axle, allowing the vehicle to shift through the gears like any conventional ICE vehicle.
Chevrolet Performance Connect and Cruise eCrate Details
The Chevrolet Performance Electric Connect and Cruise eCrate systems will be sold through GM Dealers and installed by qualified Electric Specialty Vehicle Modifiers (ESVMs), with Lingenfelter Performance being the first. The program is expected to launch in the first half of 2022. The learnings from the team’s successful installation of the concept to the 1972 Chevrolet El Camino will help the future development of the program and the ESVM process.
But the question is, are there enough owners of classic vehicles to want to swap out the original engine and parts – decreasing the value of their asset – for an electric powertrain? Only time will tell.