Detroit auto stalwart Chevrolet has offered up its vision of the “future of hot rodding” with an all-electric E-10 pick-up concept unveiled at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in Las Vegas this week.
The General Motors-owned Chevrolet says the re-imagined 1962 C-10 pickup truck is powered by an electric Connect & Cruise concept crate propulsion package offering around 450 horsepower, using proven components from the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
The car maker said in a statement that part of the purpose of the attention-grabbing concept was to demonstrate the electric conversion possibilities for classic vehicles, “blending vintage styling and high performance with zero-emissions driving.”
Jim Campbell, GM’s vice president of performance and motorsports, said that the E-10 project went from concept to running vehicle in just 18 weeks, “to demonstrate what the future of an eCrate propulsion system and hot rodding could look like.”
“General Motors has the in-house talent required to create a concept like the E-10,” he said.
The vintage styling of the 1960s-era pick-up is certain to trigger nostalgia across the ages – there’s hints of Mater from the Pixar hit movie series Cars, through to the lead roll-playing cars from Grease and other US movie classics based in the 50s and 60s.
But under the hood it’s a different story. The truck’s original gas engine is replaced by propulsion system made up of a double stack of Chevrolet Performance concept electric crate motors (eCrate), two 400-volt batteries and a conventional “SuperMatic” 4L75-E automatic transmission.
Power to the drive stack comes from a pair of independent Chevrolet Bolt EV power electronics and two production Bolt EV battery packs of 60 kWh each. GM says it can go from 0-100km/h in around 5 seconds.
Additionally, the car maker notes that the independent setup of the two battery packs allows for simultaneous charging, to offer more range and more power – double that of the current production Bolt EV, in fact.
Finally, for those hot rodders who can’t part with the rumble and roar of a V8 petrol engine, the Chevrolet E-10 Concept is also kitted out with a soundtrack and speakers to “simulate an induction sound in the front and two banks of a V8 engine.”
GM says the drive soundtracks – there are a number to choose from, including LS7 Z28 track tuning, LS7 Z28 touring turning, a futuristic sound or silent – automatically adjust to the changing of the gears, to truly mimick an internal combustion engine.
“The Chevrolet E-10 electrified Connect & Cruise concept system reimagines the performance crate engine for hot rodders,” said Campbell.
“As General Motors continues to work toward our vision of a zero-emissions world, concepts such as this help us get there, while still supporting the enthusiasts who love to drive vintage vehicles.”
All of that said, GM’s director of performance variants, parts and motorsports, Russ O’Blenes, stressed in the company’s statement on Monday that the E-10 is still firmly in the concept phase, and not something GM is about to mass produce.
“The E-10 Concept builds on the experience and momentum generated by last year’s eCOPO Concept, taking the idea of a ‘crate’ electric propulsion system further by leveraging actual production components,” O’Blenes said.
“It’s all still in the testing stage, but this concept brings the electric option for hot rodders much closer to reality.
“We designed this system to deliver both power and range,” O’Blenes added.
“The exciting part is that we’re just getting started. Just as we have done over the years with our performance crate engines, we will continue to refine and improve electric propulsion Connect & Cruise concept systems.
“Our goal is to provide greater power with greater range, suiting the different needs and priorities of all types of enthusiasts. In this case, we will use higher current and voltage-capable inverters, batteries and related components rather than carburetors and cylinder heads,” he said.
Chevy is considering, however, offering the eCrate to car builders in the coming years and is using the E-10 to gauge interest. Meanwhile, GM is working on an a production all-electric pickup that could hit the market as soon as 2021, as Bridie Schmidt reports here.