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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

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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New electric luxury vehicles

Three new Mercedes-Benz EVs we can't wait to see

Mercedes showed off its electric future at the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is going electric, and though it only recently announced its firm plans to do so, it already seems that the German automaker is moving quickly toward that goal. At the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich, Mercedes showed off some of its upcoming electrified products. We've seen the EQS, a flagship electric sedan, but three newcomers made an appearance at the show.


Mercedes-Benz EQB EQB will be Mercedes' electric family SUV.Mercedes-Benz


EQB

EQB is the brand's family-sized SUV, offering seating for up to seven people. A long wheelbase of 111.3 inches and adjustable second-row seating allows more interior space for people and gear. Mercedes says the EQB will offer two powertrain configurations: The EQB 300 4MATIC will get 225 horsepower and the EQB 350 4MATIC will sport 288 horsepower. A front-wheel drive configuration will go on sale later and a long-range model will follow.


Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG The EQG will eventually become the brand's electric off-roader.Mercedes-Benz


EQG

Concept EQG is a preview of the eventual electrification of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, its boxy, upper-crust off-roader. This concept is far closer to a design exercise than something we'll actually see in production, but it's an interesting demonstration, nonetheless. With 22-inch wheels, wild exterior lighting touches, and what the automaker says will be legendary off-road abilities, the EQG will be an exciting vehicle when it does make an appearance.


Mercedes-Benz EQE EQE will follow the EQS as a smaller, sportier electric sedan in 2022.Mercedes-Benz


EQE

EQE is the second car to use Mercedes' EVA2 electric architecture, following the EQS sedan. The car is currently scheduled for a staggered release in mid-2022 and will feature a more compact and sportier design than its predecessor. Mercedes says that the car will be available with either 19- or 21-inch wheels, and notes that its size is comparable to the current CLS coupe-sedan. The car offers an impressive range of up to 410 miles on a single charge from its 90kWh battery and special charging capabilities through the Mercedes me Charge network.

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The Roadster's specs are impressive, to say the least.

Tesla

Elon Musk took to a stage in late 2017 to announce a new product, the second-generation Tesla Roadster, and the numbers were impressive, even for a guy known to casually drop massive bombshells in 160 characters or less on Twitter. He pledged a 620-mile range and a 0-60 mph time in 1.9 seconds for the car – impressive specs, to be sure. When Musk unveiled the car, production was scheduled to commence some time in 2020, but as we all now know, last year wasn't a banner year for car manufacturing. In January, he pushed that date back to 2022, but the timeline has slipped again - into 2023 at this point - and that's only if everything goes smoothly between now and then.


Tesla Roadster Supply chain issues have caused delays in the Roadster's release.Tesla


Responding to a tweet on Wednesday, Musk stated that "assuming 2022 is not mega drama, new Roadster should ship in 2023." That's a pretty big asterisk, given how things have been going over the last 18 months. It's not surprising, though, and Musk acknowledges what we've known for some time now: The global supply chain is a mess, thanks to microchip shortages and pandemic-related closures and delays. "2021 has been the year of super crazy supply chain shortages," he said, admitting that "it wouldn't matter if we had 17 new products, as none would ship." Again, it's not surprising, but it is most likely frustrating for reservation holders, who've plopped down anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 to hold an order for the Roadster.




Tesla is far from being the only automaker to experience delays, but even if we assume that the rest of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 go smoothly, there's still a lot that can happen. All of Tesla's suppliers would have to get their ducks in a row and there can be no COVID-related production delays. That would also peg 2022 as one of the automaker's flagship years for product releases, with both the Semi and Cybertruck on the schedule. It's possible, but far from guaranteed, that all of those pieces fall into place, making Tesla's 2022 a banner year. As for the Roadster, 2023 could be the year that we're all blown away by its range and acceleration, but recent history suggests that anything can happen at any time, so we won't be holding our breath.

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