Ford broaches the e-crate fray with F-100 Eluminator concept
Ford is charging headlong into the silent, torque-rich arena of electric crate motors. Meet the F-100 Eluminator concept, an electrified take on a classic 1978 F-100 pickup with Mustang Mach-E GT Performance running gear stuffed under its workmanlike body and frame. The concept signals a new era for Ford, namely one powered by the Blue Oval’s new Eluminator e-crate motor which is plucked from the high-output electric crossover.
The F-100 Eluminator contains the same drivetrain from the Mach-E GT Performance within its custom chassis, which is essentially an Eluminator electric motor on each axle with an 88-kWh battery pack. The setup is good for the same 480 hp and 634 lb-ft of torque, although purchased a la carte the Eluminator crate motor will make 281 hp and 317 lb-ft.
The concept is a result of collaboration with MLe Racecars, the same outfit responsible for the all-electric Cobra Jet 1400 drag car. It sits on a custom frame from Roaster Shop, and wears an Avalanche Gray paint job with Cerakote copper accents done up by Brand X Customs. The interior features a sexy billet aluminum dash from JJR Fabrication and avocado-tanned leather upholstery from MDM Upholstery. The shoes of choice are 19-inch billet aluminum three-piece wheels from Forgeline wrapped in Michelin Latitude Sport high-performance tires measuring 275/45 at all four corners.
You can have your very own Eluminator for the not-outrageous sum of $3900—just call an authorized Ford parts dealer, or head online to Ford’s Performance Parts website to place an order. Ford proudly touts that the motor is legal in all 50 states, and the compact motor mounts transversely to propel the wheels on either side of it, so rear-drive projects can stuff this twister in back of the car.
Ford says it plans to widen the envelope of electrified crate offerings in years to come—expect battery systems, controllers, and traction inverters to come about, at which point you’ll be able to snag a full turn-key solution direction from Ford’s aftermarket entity.
The Eluminator is one of a host of new electrified offerings on display at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas. Chevy first revealed an e-crate motor last year with its Blazer-E concept, which would have been on display at SEMA 2020 had the show not been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A 200-hp electric motor from the Bolt EV replaced the ’77 Blazer’s traditional 400-cubic-inch small-block, and a four-speed automatic replaced the three-speed originally found bolted to said gas-burner. That e-crate offering has experienced a host of delays, however, due to the fire risks and subsequent massive battery recall of the Bolt’s LG-sourced batteries. Things are back up and running with the Bolt batteries, however, so expect that electrified plug-and-play solution to be back on the table soon.
Chevy Performance is also debuting an Ultium-based e-crate offering on Project X, a famous 1957 Chevy 210 that was for years a testbed/project car for Popular Hot Rodding and then Hot Rod magazine. With the help of the team at Cagnazzi Racing, the supercharged internal combustion exits stage left, and Chevy’s new e-crate motor and a 30-kWh battery pack take over. This electric motor is like the one you’d find in the Cadillac Lyriq, and will no doubt star in many other upcoming GM Ultium-powered offerings—perhaps the performance EV sedan that’s rumored to take over at the end of the Camaro’s tenure sometime in the middle of this decade.
As automakers rush to fill the rapidly-expanding world of electric crate motors, we’re torn between mourning the riotous theater of screaming small-blocks and high-po Hemis and embracing the silent wave of instant thrust from electric drivetrains. Take solace, at the very least, in the fact that these new offerings will present some rides a chance at new lease on life. The times they are a-changin’.