Growing pains for an old dog trying to learn new tricks.
This electric “crate” motor puts electric tech in your garage project
Electric power swaps are becoming more and more popular, but that doesn’t mean the technology is at all approachable for DIY garage tinkerers. A company called Electric GT has taken a step in the right direction with a crate-style electric motor setup.
Tesla has proved that electric power can form the basis for exciting and desirable cars, but not everyone wants to spend the roughly $40,000 for a Model 3. Meanwhile, the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and Hyundai Ioniq electric aren’t exactly thrilling to drive. An electric conversion for a car that originally used internal combustion is an option, but how to make that happen is at this point not widely understood nor straightforward as an LS-swap in the eyes of many enthusiasts.
In that spirit, Electric GT made sure to lend a “big-block-V-8” style to its nifty electric crate motor, which is only five inches longer than a Chevy small-block, water pump included. (That being said, a Chevy big-block is three inches shorter. Do what you will with that info.) Despite the V-8-derived nomenclature, Electric GT’s “crate” motor is a plug-and-play avenue to becoming an EV enthusiast, inspired by the highly-swappable, approachable reputation of LS V-8s.
Depending how many motors you opt for in this “block,” Electric GT estimates the setup will make between 140–240 horsepower and between 240–340 lb-ft of torque. Your options are single or double motors, base A50 spec or upgrades to AC51 or HyPer 9 motors—though you’ll need to hook up your own battery pack. The coolest part? The “block” mates to your existing transmission via a Lovejoy coupling, eliminating the need for cost-prohibitive direct-drive transmission and drivetrain swaps.
Coolant lines and a pump are included, and the would-be valve covers house a 6.6-kW charger and a DC-DC converter. Rig yourself a wiring harness, arrange the coolant system, grab a battery pack, and look for mounting points. As a proof of concept, Electric GT is currently stuffing the thing into a 1970 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40.
If the motor’s power and torque numbers don’t blow your socks off, we understand. In a pure numbers fight, Electric GT’s setup would strain itself against an ’80s Chevy 305, and, as our resident LS-swap-expert attests, “People will pay you to take those.” We doubt Electric GT’s customer base will overlap with the small-block crowd, but we nevertheless contend that there’s room for each in an enthusiast’s garage.
Electric GT isn’t alone in seeing the market potential for compact, swappable units, since Swindon Powertrain cooked up a 70-kg, 80-kW system that fits, so they say, under the bonnet of a classic Mini or in a quad bike.
Electric GT’s win here is in putting electric tech on your doorstep and striving to make it approachable. We dig it.