A Closer Look at Chevrolet’s Electric Connect and Cruise Crate Powertrain

For this year’s SEMA360, Chevrolet Performance showcased a 1977 K5 Blazer that had its huge combustion engine and automatic transmission replaced with an electric powertrain. The plan is to mass-produce and market an electric crate system (called Connect and Cruise Package) that would allow any car that can fit it to run on all-electric propulsion.
A Closer Look at Chevrolet’s Electric Connect and Cruise Crate Powertrain 8 photos
Photo: Chevrolet
Chevrolet Electric MotorChevrolet Battery PackElectric-powered 1977 K5 BlazerElectric-powered 1977 K5 BlazerElectric-powered 1977 K5 BlazerChevrolet Electric MotorChevrolet Battery Pack
Chevrolet Performance started in the late 1960s as a GM company that provided factory support for Trans Am racing teams, but Chevrolet quickly saw an opportunity and made the parts available to the general public, a move that had huge success from the start, and brought some of the first crate engines.

Today, Chevrolet Performance offers a wide range of high-quality parts including engines, transmissions, and the Connect and Cruise packages that include an engine, a transmission, a control module for both units, and an installation kit.

The future is electric, it is obvious by now for everyone, and Chevrolet Performance became a part of that by announcing recently that they plan to sell an Electric Connect and Cruise Package, which will include an electric drive unit and battery combo.

Chevrolet Electric Motor
Photo: Chevrolet
The drive unit includes a high-capacity permanent magnet motor/generator able to produce 200 hp (149 kW). Also included is Chevrolet’s innovative Electronic Precision Shift system that sends electronic impulses to the motor and manages power and torque based on the selected driving mode.

The unit will be powered by a 60-kWh LG-Chem manufactured nickel-rich lithium-ion battery pack. It includes 288 flat cells bundled into groups of three connected in parallel and 96 groups connected in series. Wiring harnesses, controllers, and water pumps for battery heating and cooling are included in the package.

Considering it’s the same battery pack that was used on the Bolt before the 2020 upgrade, it should have a range of around 200 miles (322 km). Since the small EV weighs 3,563 lbs. (1,616 kg) with the 960 lbs. (440 kg) battery included, the range is likely to decrease when the package is used on heavier vehicles.

Chevrolet Battery Pack
Photo: Chevrolet
Also included in the Electric Connect and Cruise Package are the DC-to-AC power inverter used to drive the electric motor, and the DC-to-DC power converter for all the vehicle’s low-voltage systems.

Chevrolet Performance could also offer additional packages in the future that will feature higher-performing motors and better batteries in order to fit a wide range of vehicles. Their goal is to eventually integrate GM’s new modular Ultium technologies into the Electric Connect and Cruise range.

In the immediate future, Chevrolet will be training and certifying professionals to install this package for customers who do not have the expertise to work with a high-voltage electric powertrain. Participating Chevrolet dealers and GM tuners will also receive all the required tools and equipment.

Lingenfelter Performance Engineering will be the first to take part in the training and certification program. The Brighton, Michigan based company will ‘pilot’ GM’s program and provide valuable feedback for other companies and professionals interested in participating.

The package showcased on the 1977 K5 Blazer will be available in the second half of 2021 with pricing yet to be revealed by GM.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Vlad Radu
Vlad Radu profile photo

Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories