The sprawling SEMA show in Las Vegas this week is a candy shop for automotive enthusiasts who love to rebuild carburetors and drive manual transmissions. So what does Chevrolet bring to the party? It’s a 1962 C-10 pickup truck converted to an electric vehicle.
The Specialty Market Equipment Association show is almost entirely oriented to internal combustion vehicles. There are 2,400 exhibitors representing the $44.6 billion automotive aftermarket. And for now, we are talking gasoline and diesel vehicles.
But Chevrolet-owner General Motors believes the industry is in the beginning stages of a transition to electric vehicles. It plans to launch an electric pickup truck, among other electrified models. By showing a concept truck that melds vintage and electric drive Tuesday, GM is saying green mobility includes a place for automotive enthusiasts.
“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,” said Jim Campbell, the automaker’s vice president of performance and motorsports.
Called the Chevrolet E-10 Concept, the truck reimagines how hot rodding specialty vehicles might work. The propulsion package offers approximately 450 horsepower by repurposing components from the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The idea is to create an electric version of a crate-style internal combustion engine.
It also demonstrates how enthusiasts like those who attend SEMA can convert classic vehicles to blend vintage styling and high performance with zero-emissions driving, Campbell said.
The E-10’s so-called Connect & Cruise concept propulsion system uses a double stack of Chevrolet Performance concept electric crate motors, two 400-volt batteries and a conventional SuperMatic 4L75-E automatic transmission. The entire truck bed is devoted to batteries and other electrical equipment.
Chevy replaced the truck’s original gas engine with the eCrate motor. It is connected to the automatic transmission, which transfers torque to the rear axle. Power to the drive stack comes from the pair of independent Chevrolet Bolt EV power electronics and two production Bolt EV battery packs. They take up the entire truck bed. Each provides 60 kWh of usable energy under a hard tonneau cover.
Chevrolet said the system gives the truck a 0-60 mph time of around 5 seconds. It will have quarter-mile times in the high 13-second range.
Without some fakery, the truck lacks the roar of a dragster. Chevrolet plugs that gap by adding a sound emulator with three speakers. It simulates the sound of a V8 gasoline engine. It will even fake the sound of gear shifts. But the driver can switch into quitter modes and also run silently with only tire and wind noise.
“It’s all still in the testing stage, but this concept brings the electric option for hot rodders much closer to reality,” said Russ O’Blenes, GM’s of performance variants, parts and motorsports.