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

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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Custom SUVs

Ford Bronco to rule SEMA this year

The Bronco RTR features a fun livery and several off-road upgrades.

Ford

The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show is an opportunity for the aftermarket and manufacturers to come together on wildly customized vehicles and to show off the latest parts and tech in the space. Now that the Ford Bronco has finally made its way to the public, it's not surprising to see several wild SEMA takes on the hottest SUV to hit the market in some time.

2021 Bronco by Tucci Hot Rods The tracks are said to improve the Bronco's abilities in deep snow and ice.Ford

2021 Bronco by Tucci Hot Rods

The new Bronco is capable and rugged on its own, but Tucci Hot Rods felt it needed more. The shop gave it that boost with a set of tracks in place of wheels, which are said to be great for deep snow and ice. This Bronco features a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed manual transmission to go with its Mattracks 88-Series quad tracks.

2021 Bronco RTR Fun-Runner by RTR Vehicles

Vaghn Gittin Jr's RTR Vehicles imagined a Bronco package that could be installed at the dealer. The result is the Fun-Runner, which features several Ford Performance and Ford Licensed Accessories parts. It's based on a 2021 two-door Bronco Badlands, and comes with an eye-catching wrap, an Ultimate Dana 44 front axle, Ultimate Dana 60 semi-float rear axle, RCV Performance CV axles, and a performance intake for its four-cylinder engine.

2021 Bronco by BDS Supensions SEMA presents an excellent opportunity for shops to show off their skill and imagination.Ford

2021 Bronco by BDS Supensions

BDS is a subsidiary of Fox Shocks and has worked with Ford for quite some time. The results of that long-running relationship are on display with the BDS Bronco, which features Fox 2.5 PES coilovers, BDS rear adjustable control arms and track bar, swaybar disconnect, and 37-inch BFGoodrich KM3 tires. The Bronco's bumpers have been replaced with CrawlTek Revolution units that feature a recessed winch mount, recovery hooks and more.

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Electric sports car

Porsche Taycan has outsold the 911 in 2021

The Taycan has outsold a few Porsche models so far this year.

Porsche

The Porsche Taycan is an impressive EV with speed and build quality to shame almost anything else on the road. As we learned from Porsche today, those attributes resonated with buyers, as the Taycan outsold the Porsche 911 during the first nine months of 2021.

Porsche Taycan The Taycan's steep starting price doesn't seem like much of a sticking point for buyers.Porsche

Yes, the electric car that starts at almost $83,000 outsold the most iconic sports car of all time. However, Porsche's had a good year, and it's not all thanks to the Taycan. In today's SUV-crazed world, it's not surprising to see that the Cayenne is still Porsche's most popular model. The automaker sold 62,451 of its flagship SUV in the first nine months of the year. The Macan sold a respectable 61,944.

Now, consider that the Taycan – a brand new, expensive, all-electric car – sold almost half as many units as those two iconic SUVs. Further cementing its place in the Porsche lineup, the car outsold the 911 by almost 700 units and decimated sales of the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, which combined sold 15,916 units. The Panamera, which offers a similar body style to the Taycan, sold 20,275.

Porsche SUVs The Cayenne and Macan both sold very well.Porsche

Porsche has had a good year in all markets it serves, but the U.S. market showed the strongest sales growth, climbing to 51,615 vehicles sold in the first nine months of the year. That's a 30 percent jump from 2020, and the rest of North America was just as strong with a combined 29 percent increase in growth. China did the most to propel Porsche's sales skyward, with almost 70,000 cars sold there.

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