SEMA360

1977 Chevrolet K5 Blazer gets remade with all-electric guts

This 1977 Chevrolet K5 Blazer has been given an all-electric powertrain.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

SEMA isn't happening in its traditional form this year, but that's not stopping Chevrolet from making a statement. The company has revised a 1977 Chevrolet K5 Blazer making it an electric vehicle. This revision is meant to promote the upcoming Electric Connect and Cruise package Chevrolet Performance plans to sell in the second half of 2021.

This also isn't the first time that Chevrolet has shown off a modified all-electric truck at SEMA. Last year the E-10 Concept showcased the possibility of electrified hot rodding.

"As GM introduces a new fleet of electric vehicles, it creates an exciting opportunity to bring EV technology to the aftermarket," said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports. "Our vision is to offer a comprehensive line of Connect and Cruise systems from Chevrolet Performance – delivering a solution for every customer ranging from LSX V-8s to eCrate conversions."

1977 Chevrolet K5 Blazer-E

1977 Chevrolet K5 Blazer-E

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

With the build, the K5 Blazer-E retains as much of the stock Blazer as possible. Approximately 90 percent of the new parts installed for the eCrate package are factory components from the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

To convert the 1977 K5 Blazer, the team first removed from the Blazer the original 175-horsepower 400 cubic-inch V8, three-speed automatic transmission, fuel system and exhaust. The team replaced them with a Bolt EV electric motor that delivers 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. That power plant is paired with four-speed automatic transmission. The rest of the Blazer drivetrain remains untouched.

The electric motor is attached to a 400-volt battery pack that has 60 kilowatt-hours of usable energy and is stored in the cargo area. Using production controllers and wiring harnesses, Chevrolet was able to preserve many Bolt EV features, including shock protection, battery heating and cooling, battery-overcharge protection and even regenerative braking.

Chevy added aftermarket components including an electric power steering kit, an electric pump providing vacuum to the stock brake system, and an electronic controller to drive inputs to the vintage Blazer gauges – such as displaying the battery's state of charge on the original fuel gauge.

Ahead of the eCrate launch, Chevrolet Performance is certifying Electric Connect and Cruise installers. Participating Chevrolet dealers and aftermarket companies will receive the training, tools and equipment needed to work with high-voltage systems and charging stations to service customers' vehicles. Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in Brighton, Michigan will be the first company to pilot the training and certification program.

The 60-kWh Electric Connect and Cruise package, expected to be available in the second half of 2021, includes:

  • 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack
  • 200-horsepower electric motor
  • DC-to-AC power inverter to drive the electric motor
  • DC-to-DC power converter to power low-voltage systems
  • Wiring harnesses, controllers and water pumps for battery heating and cooling

Chevrolet Performance is also evaluating additional eCrate packages with higher-performance options and new battery configurations to fit a wider range of aftermarket applications.

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Updated EV

2023 Nissan Leaf pricing announced

The Leaf got a mild facelift for 2023.

Nissan

Nissan is nearing the release of the Ariya, its first new EV in several years. Even so, the brand hasn't forgotten about its first mass-market EV, the Leaf. It was an early entrant in the space, and has been an efficient, affordable, commuter car for over a decade. The car got a mild facelift for 2023, with updated wheels and exterior styling accents. Today, Nissan announced pricing for the Leaf, which starts at just under $29,000.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf feels lively, despite middling power numbers.Nissan

The base Leaf comes with a 40-kWh battery capable of delivering a 149-mile range. Its 110-kW electric motor produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf SV Plus features a 60-kWh battery for a range of 212 miles. It comes with a 160-kW motor that makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Nissan backs all Leaf models with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

ProPilot Assist comes standard for the Leaf SV Plus, and brings a full suite of advanced driver aids that include adaptive cruise control, driver alertness features, and a surround-view monitor. All Leaf models get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf SV Plus offers up to 212 miles of range.Nissan

The new Leaf starts at $28,895, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. The Leaf SV Plus starts at $36,895. The 2023 Nissan Leaf is on sale now, and may be eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to receive a state tax credit or other incentives.

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The EQB lands this summer with a not-so-bad starting price.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is pressing ahead with its electrification goals. Following the release of the EQS flagship electric sedan last year, the automaker is readying the EQB, an electric SUV with up to seven seats. Today, Mercedes announced pricing for the vehicle, and it's surprisingly reasonable. Two trim levels will be offered for the EQB in the United States: Exclusive and Pinnacle, and wecould see an AMG variant at some point down the road.

The EQB comes in two variants, including the EQB 300 and EQB 350, both of which come with all-wheel drive. The EQB 300 offers 225 horsepower and the 350 delivers 288 ponies. Those aren't super-serious numbers and they don't have to be. The EQB competes with vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4, so mind-blowing performance isn't exactly the goal. Mercedes hasn't given range estimates yet, but they should fall in line with the competition.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQBThe EQB will come in two powertrain variants, each with two trims.Mercedes-Benz

The SUV comes standard with a 10.25-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Mercedes includes a good list of standard safety features, including lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and active brake assist. Additionally, the EQB's navigation system routes the vehicle for the best efficiency and can help locate charging stations.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 starts at $56,800, including a $1,050 destination charge. A range-topping Pinnacle trim is available for $59,350. The EQB 350 starts at $60,350. Mercedes says the SUV will go on sale in summer 2022.

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