One of the biggest hurdles to EV swaps has been for builders to construct a driveline that can withstand the capable torque of an electric motor, along with the big question of how to mount it in between the frame rails. The solution for a while has been to make custom motor plates under the hood from which that the motor can hang. Then, building a drive adapter to match a motor’s output shaft with a driveshaft yoke usually involves spinning off custom-machined parts, which is both expensive and raises the barrier of entry.
Revolt Systems and EV West are changing that with their crate motor, which repackages the motor and inverter from a Tesla Drive Unit into a longitudinal format. The setup also uses standard Chevrolet small-block motor mounts, meaning that it will be a breeze to fit into practically any project. This design reduces the barrier to entry significantly because the most difficult engineering and fabrication has been taken care of, leaving the matter of building three mounts, two for the motor and one for the tail shaft, to you.
Why small-block Chevy? Other than the fact that GM vehicles are widespread and readily available in the classic car world, the iconic mouse motor was one of the highest-production engines ever built, selling across multiple brands for decades. The sheer number of swap kits for other makes and models which throw out their factory boat anchor’s for the bowtie’s pride and joy is evidence of this. The new electric crate motor arrives compatible with a wealth of ready-to-use swap kits for the trusty old gas-burner that will work in a huge variety of makes and models.
Even though this plug-and-play powerplant will bolt up with a stock driveshaft and utilize your existing rear differential, those parts had best better be ready for violence. The motor’s 533 hp and more than 800 lb-ft of torque will absolutely annihilate everything fragile between the motor and pavement. However, with torque management software, that twist could be tamed to roll out in a fashion more like that of a lightly-modded stocker. But why would you sandbag that much?
EV West has told The Drive that estimated pricing is in the $25,000–$35,000 range for the crate motor package itself, meaning that your budget will have to stretch to include the associated motor controllers, batteries, and hardware.
That price is still a major hurdle for many folks, but “crate engines” like this go a long way toward introducing zero-emission solutions that will present minimal installation hurdles and in due time feel as natural as cross-pollinating gas engines.