The reveal of not just a gorgeous, electric converted 1977 Chevy Blazer, but a glimpse at the production Connect and Cruise eCrate motor and battery package left us with multiple questions about each project. So we got in touch with GM, and we were able to talk with Jeff Trush, the program manager for the Specialty Show Vehicles division. He revealed some cool facts about the Blazer and gave us some more specifics about the conversion package.
One of our big questions was exactly what sort of transmission was used, in part to learn whether an array of transmissions will be available for hooking up. Trush told us that the Blazer uses a 4L75E four-speed automatic, which will be the transmission included with the kit. It’s a fairly common Chevy transmission, and the electric motor doesn’t require a large number of gear ratios. Interestingly, it’s a traditional torque converter automatic, with the torque converter still in place, and the motor is attached with an adapter for the transmission’s flex plate. Trush said there aren’t any plans for a manual transmission version right now. We suspect that creative builders could probably hook up a manual transmission, though.
It’s certainly possible that plans could change. Trush said that GM is still figuring out just how many accessory parts and what not will be included with the final kit. That includes whether a selection of motor mounts will be added, what kind of gauge set up, parts for power steering and brake boosters and other similar odds and ends. Regardless, the kit will give you everything that a Bolt EV gets from convenience to safety features. One of the surprising additions would be air conditioning, which is incorporated into the battery cooling system with the same compressor. All of the controllers for maintaining the battery, handling safe charging, and even impact protection are all included.
We were also curious about the final battery design, and Trush confirmed that the package uses the same size and shape battery pack that’s nestled in the base of the Chevy Bolt EV. He also said that this was one of the reasons that the two electric vehicles GM has converted, the K5 and last year’s E-10 pickup truck, were chosen — they had plenty of space for the battery pack as well as a suspension that could handle the extra weight. The battery pack weighs right around 1,000 pounds. And even in the K5, Trush’s team added helper springs. He did say that the truck wasn’t really squatting when they first put it in, but they still added the helpers just in case. He noted that properly anchoring the battery will be important, and in the Blazer, it’s bolted down at 10 different points through the body down to the frame.
As for the Blazer itself, Trush said the team managed to convert it in just 30 days. They used a Blazer GM already had in its fleet of old vehicles, but gave it a few finishing touches such as the highlighted “EV” in the middle of “Chevrolet” on the tailgate. The battery did require removing the rear seat, and it takes up a fair bit of the cargo area. But Trush said the team plans on building a shell over it and adding some cargo drawers to get back some utility. They’re also going to do other little upgrades to it such as a new rear axle ratio of 4.10:1 instead of the current 3.08:1. This should make it quicker off the line and give it an even better crawling ratio. Upgrades like this are also going to be fairly straight-forward since the axles and the transfer case are the same as any other old Blazer.
We also asked about the status of the high-power modular motors seen on last year’s E-10 as well as the potential pricing of this electric kit. Trush didn’t have any answers on those, unfortunately. He did say that GM is still doing some research and considering pricing for the kit. And in the press release for the Blazer, GM states that it’s looking at expanding its electric conversion offerings. All in all, the future of cool classic electric cars is looking exciting.