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Chevrolet turns K5 Blazer into EV for SEMA360

Using parts derived from the popular Bolt electric hatchback

We wish the new Chevrolet Blazer looked something like this. PHOTO FROM CHEVROLET

Nothing screams Uncle Sam quite like an old Blazer truck. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Chevrolet decided to feature a 1977 K5 Blazer with a fully electric powertrain for the ongoing SEMA360 virtual show.

Dubbed as the K5 Blazer-E, this past-meets-future build showcases the upcoming Electric Connect and Cruise tech that Chevrolet will start selling in the second half of 2021. This falls under the Chevrolet Performance eCrate package as the brand goes into high gear for its next-generation products and aftermarket applications.

The K5 Blazer joins the ranks of classic cars retrofitted with eco-friendly hearts. PHOTOS FROM CHEVROLET

Chevrolet’s Electric Connect and Cruise concept has evolved since the introduction of the eCOPO Camaro in 2018 and E-10 concept last year. What makes the K5 Blazer-E interesting is the retention of the vehicle’s vintage stock components married to its electric propulsion system — about 90% of which were pulled out from the Bolt EV’s factory parts.

The K5 Blazer’s 400-cubic-inch, 175hp V8, alongside its three-speed automatic transmission, exhaust, and fuel system were yanked out to make way for the zero-emissions propulsion unit. The resulting power output gives the Blazer-E a commendable 200 horses and 361Nm of torque. All that plasma power is mated to a Chevrolet Performance electrically controlled four-speed automatic. Juice is served up by the Bolt EV’s 400V battery nestled in the vehicle’s cargo space, providing 60kWh of energy.

Supplanting the gas-guzzling small-block V8 is a 200hp electric powertrain derived from the Bolt EV. PHOTOS FROM CHEVROLET

The rest of the Blazer’s drivetrain remains original such as the propeller shaft, transfer case, and axles. Even the stock gauges are kept, with the original fuel gauge acting as the battery’s power/charge indicator. Bolt EV features like battery heating/cooling, shock resistance, overcharge protection, and regenerative braking are retained through the use of wiring harnesses and production controllers. Aftermarket parts included for this package are an electric power steering kit, an electric pump that acts as a vacuum for the stock braking system, and an electronic controller that feeds input into the Blazer-E’s stock gauges.

Chevrolet Performance is currently certifying Electric Connect and Cruise installers for the eCrate launch. Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in Brighton, Michigan will be the first company to initiate the training and certification for the said project. Participating Chevrolet dealers and aftermarket companies will be receiving tools and equipment required for their high-voltage systems and charging station services. The training experience will eventually serve as a certification guide for future installers.

Some old-school tech remains like the solid axles and column shifter. PHOTO FROM CHEVROLET

For added specifics, the upcoming Connect and Cruise package includes a 60kWh battery pack, a 200hp electric motor, a DC-to-AC inverter to propel the e-motor, a DC-to-DC converter to power low-voltage systems, as well as wiring harnesses, controllers, and water pumps for battery heating/cooling. For those seeking more electrified thrills, Chevrolet is also evaluating higher performance eCrate options with new battery configurations applicable to a wider range of aftermarket uses. Furthermore, work on integrating General Motor’s Ultium battery system tech into their electrified package is in the pipeline.

It sure is an exciting time for the American automaker as demand for EVs continue to grow. Chevrolet aims to deliver modular eCrate technology with limitless applications, from practical daily mobility to mind-blowing performance. Taking all these updates into account makes me wish we kept our 1976 Malibu sedan.

Manskee Nascimento

Manskee is a music-loving petrolhead who specializes in car care. He finds peace in long drives to and from his home in La Union.