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Chevy K5 Blazer-E Shows off Electric Crate Motor Swap for SEMA

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/29/2020 Greg Fink,Manufacturer
a truck is parked in front of a car: 1977 Chevrolet Blazer K5 EV SEMA 3 © Manufacturer 1977 Chevrolet Blazer K5 EV SEMA 3

Like most events in 2020, this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show abandons the physical space for a virtual one. Yet, SEMA's decision to pull the plug on its in-person gathering is not stopping automakers from debuting new products and show vehicles at the digital event. This includes the Chevrolet K5 Blazer-E, which Chevrolet Performance built to demonstrate its 60-kWh Electric Connect and Cruise package (essentially a Bolt EV's powertrain sold as a crate kit).

Yes, the K5 Blazer-E may look like any old 1977 Blazer on the outside, but underhood it's an entirely different machine that trades its original 175-hp 6.6-liter V-8 engine and three-speed automatic transmission for the 200-hp electric motor of Chevy's EV hatch. A four-speed automatic gearbox works with the four-wheel-drive SUV's original driveshafts, axles, and transfer case to drive those horses to the Blazer-E's wheels.

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Whereas the Blazer-E's exterior gives little away to note its more modern powertrain (the lack of an exhaust pipe and subtly altered badging are the most notable differences), its interior is a little less subtle. Particularly, the area aft of the driver and front-passenger seats, which trades the original rear seats for the SUV's 60-kWh battery pack. Chevy's mum on what sort of range the pack affords the boxy SUV, but it's safe to assume the Blazer-E fails to match the Bolt's 259-mile rating by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Other alterations to the Blazer-E include the adoption of an electric power steering system, an electric vacuum pump for the power brakes, and an electronic controller that allows the old Chevy's gauges to play with the new powertrain (Chevy even went so far as to replace the fuel gauge with one that displays the battery pack's current charge). 

Look for the Blazer-E's 60-kWh Electric Connect and Cruise eCrate package to arrive in the latter half of 2021. Pricing remains under wraps, but we imagine the kit will cost a good deal less than that of the $37,495 Bolt from which it stems.

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