The eCOPO Camaro was Chevy’s factory-converted electric drag experiment, but obviously the bowtie brand isn’t done with creative EV builds. At SEMA this year, Chevy is showing its new E-10 concept, announcing its first modern foray into the electric restomod trend. This burnt-orange, zero-emission truck is the 450-horsepower result of Chevy digging around in its chest of batteries and motors and outfitting a C-10 pickup with a new pacemaker.
The E-10 started life as—you guessed it—a C-10, before Chevy transplanted a “double stack” of electric motors and two 400-volt batteries from the Bolt EV into the truck. The concept’s debut at SEMA is no accident; by using production-spec motors and batteries, Chevrolet wants the conversion to appeal to hot rodders who could, quite feasibly, do a similar project on their own.
“...[T]his project went from concept to running vehicle in 18 weeks to demonstrate what the future of an eCrate propulsion system and hot rodding could look like,” says Jim Campbell, Chevy’s vice president of performance and motorsports, in a statement.
What is an eCrate propulsion system? It’s Chevy-branded lingo for a swappable stack of motors—and, like this “crate” motor, is arranged in the E-10 to look like a V-8. The motors, together with the batteries and automatic transmission, compose a “Connect & Cruise concept system.” Translation: this is Chevy’s plug-and-play electric performance package, which Chevrolet “will continue to refine and improve,” says Russ O’Blenes, Chevy’s director of performance variants, parts and motorsports, “just as we have done over the years with our performance crate engines.”
Chevy inserted the Bolt EV motors under the hood, with both the 947-pound battery packs going under a side-opening clamshell in the truck’s bed. With all that weight back there, let’s just say rear axle traction won’t be a problem. Chevrolet claims the E-10 will run 0–60 mph in roughly 5 seconds and the quarter-mile somewhere in the high-13s. The motor stack’s assembly allows for a third motor, and thus for greater potential power; Chevy says the independently-chargeable battery packs allow for “long-distance” driving, too. The Bolt gets an EPA-rated 238 miles of range, but it’s not clear how far the E-10 can go before needing a recharge.
Is this vintage truck concept the best of old and new? That’s the question, depending on your preference. Get comfortable with juxtaposition, we say. Even if an electric-converted Camaro, Mustang, or E-Type grinds your… direct-drive transmission’s gears, it’s fair to say that electric conversions keep cars on the road that might not otherwise be there. The best conversions are the ones that are reversible, so the vehicle has the chance to return to stock at some point in the future. Whether you prefer electric or internal-combustion, battery-stuffed classics clearly aren’t going away.