The K5 Blazer-E showcases how Chevy plans to revolutionize and electrify its Crate engine system

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After unveiling the E-10 electric concept last year, Chevy has now unveiled a 1977 Blazer K5 electric concept for the SEMA show that previews the company’s crate powertrain future. For a company that didn’t seem to be as vested in electrification as other automakers until recently, this is a very big step. This concept also gives us a peek at the upcoming Electric Connect and Cruise package that’s expected to come sometime next year.

A Modern-Day K5 Blazer

2020 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric Connect And Cruise Exterior
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After showcasing the eCrate conversion concept twice before – first in the Chevy eCOPO Camaro in 2018 and then in the E-10 Concept in 2019 – the company has given us the third reveal. This time, the automaker has used the 1977 Chevy K5 Blazer as the base vehicle, thus showing the concept of a muscle car, a pickup truck, and an SUV now. It goes on to show the versatility of the eCrate system.

2020 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric Connect And Cruise Drivetrain
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The company ripped out the 6.6-liter, V-8 engine, the three-speed automatic, the fuel system, and the exhaust from the SUV and plonked in the Bolt’s EV motor here with Chevrolet Performance electronically controlled four-speed automatic. It makes 200 ponies and 266 pound-feet of torque. Surprisingly, everything else is retained, including the transfer case, driveshaft, and axles. A 400-volt Bolt EV battery pack with 60 kW of usable energy was installed in the cargo area. No other details were given about this electrified K5 Blazer, but we did get to know some other information about the eCrate system.

Glimpse Of The Future

2020 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric Connect And Cruise Exterior
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Chevrolet is certifying dealers and aftermarket companies in preparation for the eCrate launch.

Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in Michigan will be the first company to pilot the training and certification program that’ll further help the future installers.

The automaker has noted that the 60-kWh Electric Connect and Cruise package will arrive sometime in the second half of 2021. It will include:

  • 60-kWh battery pack
  • 200-horsepower electric motor
  • DC-to-AC power inverter to drive the electric motor
  • DC-to-DC power converter to power low-voltage systems
  • Wiring harnesses, controllers, and water pumps for battery heating and cooling
2020 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric Connect And Cruise Interior
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This is the only one that will be launched initially, but the company is evaluating high-performance and new battery configuration options as well. Chevy’s director of engineering for Performance and Racing, Russ O’Blenes, said, “Minutes after Chevrolet showed the E-10 concept, customers started calling to ask how soon they could build their EV project,”. “The K5 Blazer-E demonstrates what is possible for customers who want to convert their vintage truck to a daily driver with the instant torque and unique driving experience of an EV. For customers who want more extreme performance, the modular eCrate system will have virtually limitless applications.”

We’ve Seen This eCrate Setup Beforel

2019 Chevrolet E-10 Concept
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At last year’s SEMA, Chevrolet introduced the Chevy E-10 Concept based on the 1962 C-10 pickup truck. It came with some very whacky looks and two big batteries packed in the truck bed protected by a Tonneau cover. The pickup truck was powered by an electric Connect & Cruise concept package that gave us a glimpse of the future of crate propulsion systems. It comprised of double-stack electric crate motors, which the company calls “eCrate”. The company says that the motor stack is a unique assembly that is built into a modular housing and can stack up to three motor assemblies at a time.

In the case of the E-10, Chevy equipped it with two eCrate motors that churned out approximately 450 horses. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a conventional SuperMatic 4L75-E four-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain came mated with a pair of 60 kWh battery packs borrowed from the Bolt EV. The 0-60 mph time was estimated to be around five seconds, whereas the quarter-mile run was somewhere in the “high 13-second range”.

Final Thoughts

2020 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Electric Connect And Cruise Exterior
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Chevy has upped the ante with these three concepts it has introduced in the last two years. The eCrate system could make electric vehicles open to customizations and modifications in a big way, since there aren’t many aftermarket players doing it currently. The company has announced a 2021 launch for the first Connect and Cruise system, so we can expect more news to pour in soon.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read full bio
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