Which of these 3 SEMA powerplants promises the brightest automotive future?

Matthew Fink

SEMA 2021 was packed with the typical crazy car builds, including a considerable contingent of overlanding trucks on display. Among all the excitement, however, there were three significant significant powerplants revealed, each occupying a different technological niche. Looking ahead, which one do you think will have the greatest impact on the automotive world in the years to come?

Ford Eluminator electric crate motor

Matthew Fink

Ford used a F100 to showcase its 281-hp electric crate motor, priced at $3900. The first e-crate motor from Ford Performance Parts, the Eluminator is basically the front motor from the Mach-E drivetrain. If you are already wondering if you can link two of these together to create a 480-hp and 634-lb-ft electric beast, the answer is yes, and that’s exactly what Ford stuffed into the vintage F100 it showcased on stage.

Part No. M-9000-MACH-E, the e-crate motor is already sold out at authorized Ford parts warehouse dealers or online at Ford Performance Parts, but inventory will be replenished. It is targeted at builders looking for a street-legal transverse-oriented powertrain to electrify their ride. You may not even need an engine hoist for this project, as it tips the scales at a mere 205 pounds.

Just to be clear, this is not plug-and-play ready. The Eluminator crate engine package includes a high-voltage motor-to-traction inverter harness, low-voltage harness connector, and vent tube assembly. That means it does not include all the bits and pieces you will need (like the battery that you’ll have to source yourself). Still very cool, but maybe not quite ready for a driveway engine swap.

Over time, Ford Performance plans to develop a wider list of components for the Eluminator powertrain, including battery systems, controllers, and traction inverters to someday make this more DIY-friendly. During the reveal, Ford shared that it will invest $30 billion into electric vehicle research and development through 2025.

Chevy’s biggest-ever big-block

Matthew Fink
Matthew Fink

For the internal combustion engine lovers, fear not. Chevy did not want to be outdone and unveiled a 10.4-liter NATURALLY ASPIRATED V-8 crate motor with 1004-hp and 876 lb-ft of torque (on 93 octane). The 632, as it’s called, is the most powerful big-block Chevy has ever sold. Take that, Hellcat crate motor and your measly 1000 horses! To give you an idea of the size, each cylinder is as large as the entire engine in the current Chevy Trailblazer. Seriously. The crate motor won SEMA’s “Best New Performance Street Product” award at the show. After reaching out to Pace Performace in Youngstown, Ohio, we found the engine listed at $29,499, absent of any official price as of yet from Chevy.

Although Ford and Dodge also have huge high-horsepower crate motors, the Chevy is the only naturally aspirated one. Chevy says the engine should go on sale in early 2022. The good news is that when you are just going to get groceries and don’t need to get on the throttle for the full 1004 horses, the motor still produces 600 hp at only 3000 rpm. Seems like enough, right?

Arrington Performance and Diversified Creations Zero Emissions Hydrogen LS Motor

Matthew Fink

As I was taking a picture of the Chevy big-block, I could practically hear the folks in the Red Line Oil booth yelling, “Hold my beer!” Together with Diversified, Bosch, and Arrington, Red Line Oil took the cover off a 1948 Chevy 3100 truck it’s calling “Zero.” The truck is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Chevrolet Performance LS engine … that makes zero emissions. Zero.

How, you ask? Bosch converted this motor to run on hydrogen. Clean-burning hydrogen is injected into the port that goes directly into the cylinder, so this is still technically an internal combustion car and not a fuel cell. Not electric, but still zero emissions. The ostensible goal here is for this technology to eventually be retrofitted to any motor on earth. No price yet, because we’re not yet in the future and this is the only one that exists. Either way, Red Line Oil made an LS run with zero emissions that it claims costs the same to fuel up as regular unleaded. Pretty rad.

You decide!

Are we ready for electric crate motors, or should we leave electric to the professional engineers for now? What about 1000+ horsepower naturally aspirated crate motors? I guess hydrogen doesn’t have to mean boring, so how do you feel about that? Which technology do you think we will be seeing more of and which one would you like in your driveway? Let us know in the comments.

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