If this ’62 Chevy truck doesn’t prove that Chevrolet feels trucks are the hot rods of the future, nothing will. Chevrolet built what it is calling the E-10 Concept to imagine the future of hot rodding and brought it to the SEMA Show. The C10 hauler is powered by something we’re sure you have never seen before in a hot rod — an electric Connect & Cruise concept crate package. That’s right, this is an electric pickup. But don’t fear, it has plenty of oomph to haul the mail. We’re told the concept delivers roughly 450 horsepower to the rear wheels using components from the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Now, we don’t know of many hot rodders that would enjoy the quiet cruising capabilities of an electric hot rod over the brash and in-your-face thump of a big block with a throaty exhaust, but still, this is kind of cool. The E-10 demonstrates the viability of electric conversions for classic vehicles. Does this prove the future holds the blending of vintage style and high-performance with zero-emissions driving?
“The Chevrolet E-10 electrified Connect & Cruise concept system reimagines the performance crate engine for hot rodders,” said Jim Campbell, vice president of Performance and Motorsports. “As General Motors continues to work toward our vision of a zero-emissions world, concepts such as this help us get there, while still supporting the enthusiasts who love to drive vintage vehicles.”
The E-10’s Connect & Cruise concept propulsion system is centered around a double stack of Chevrolet Performance concept electric crate motors (eCrate) under the hood. Supplying the voltage for this electric pickup are two 400-volt batteries. The Chevrolet Bolt EV power electronics and two production Bolt EV battery packs are mounted in the truck’s bed, and each offers 60 kWh of usable energy under a hard tonneau cover. Behind the eCrate “mill” under the hood is a conventional SuperMatic 4L75-E automatic transmission.
“General Motors has the in-house talent required to create a concept like the E-10,” said Campbell. “With the innovative thinking and expertise our performance team, electrification team, and many others at GM bring, this project went from a concept to a running vehicle in 18 weeks to demonstrate what the future of an eCrate propulsion system and hot rodding could look like.”
The 450-estimated horsepower to the rear wheels helps the E-10 deliver 0-60 mph times of around 5 seconds and quarter-mile times in the high 13-second range.
If you are concerned about the absence of any throaty exhaust, the designers added a little surprise to fulfill that need. The E-10 is fitted with a “sound emulator,” complete with three speakers to simulate an induction sound in the front and two banks of a V8 engine in the back of the vehicle. It might not have a big clock under the hood, but Chevrolet wants to help it sound like it does. However, it’s not a simple flick-a-switch-and-listen concept.
The driver can actually select one of five modes on the emulator, to deliver the sounds of various engines, including an LS7 Z28 with track tuning, an LS7 Z28 touring turning, a classic V8 engine, a futuristic sound, or no sound at all. The sounds will not be those of an idling engine or even one that is simply at full song. The emulator will automatically adjust to the changing of the gears, mimicking an internal combustion engine.
“The E-10 Concept builds on the experience and momentum generated by last year’s eCOPO Concept, taking the idea of a “crate” electric propulsion system further by leveraging actual production components,” said Russ O’Blenes, director of Performance Variants, Parts & Motorsports. “It’s all still in the testing stage, but this concept brings the electric option for hot rodders much closer to reality.”
In classic hot-rodding fashion, Chevrolet designers and engineers leveraged production components from other vehicles — mainly, the Bolt EV battery packs — and fabricated custom solutions to bring the idea to life.
The motor stack is a unique assembly that houses a pair of high-efficiency motors built into a modular housing that enables up to three motor assemblies to be stacked and linked together for greater power delivery, while the Bolt EV’s modular battery packs enable range for long-distance driving.
Additionally, the independent setup of the two battery packs allows for simultaneous charging, more range, and in true hot rod fashion, more power. In fact, the system more than doubles the available power in a production Bolt EV.
“We designed this system to deliver both power and range,” said O’Blenes. “The exciting part is, we’re just getting started. Just as we have done over the years with our performance crate engines, we will continue to refine and improve electric propulsion Connect & Cruise concept systems. Our goal is to provide greater power with greater range, suiting the different needs and priorities of all types of enthusiasts. In this case, we will use higher current and voltage-capable inverters, batteries and related components rather than carburetors and cylinder heads.”
Chevrolet feels that along with its zero-emissions performance, the E-10 Concept makes a design statement by blending vintage style with modern technologies. The truck’s classic profile remains instantly recognizable, while contemporary enhancements include an illuminated Bow Tie emblem in the grille, LED headlamps and taillamps, and a lowered stance accented with 20 x 9-inch front and 22 x 10-inch rear wheels.
Inside, the original instrument panel is updated with digital displays for the electric propulsion system, and the rest of the cabin is restored and features leather-trimmed seats.