Newly built Chevy 'E-10' pick-up drops jaws with 'secret weapon'
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Chevrolet has unveiled a retro concept pick-up truck with an electric twist at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.
Known for its radical concept cars and outrageous aftermarket components – many produced by tiny workshops and suppliers – the SEMA show attracts the attention of manufacturers trying to appeal to those wanting to modify their cars.
For General Motors that means teaming the future with the past.
The Chevrolet E-10 Concept is based on a 1962 C-10 pick-up but ditches the original V8 engine and replaces it with two electric motors and a bank of batteries.
The exterior of the E-10 is virtually unchanged from the original, except for larger wheels and the piercing orange paint that looks similar to Tiger Mica that was an option on late 1990s VT Commodores.
But beneath the skin it is radically different, relying solely on electricity and electric motors for propulsion.
The motors produce about 335kW of power – more than the last V8-powered Commodore built in 2017 – and are arranged in a V under the bonnet as a reminder of the original truck’s V8 heritage.
For those who want more V8 cues there’s a choice of synthetic engine sounds, including three that replicate some of GM’s brawniest V8s.
Clearly General Motors sees the electric conversion as a popular choice for future performance enthusiasts, even referring to the electric system as eCrate. GM sells many brand new V8 “crate” motors for aftermarket applications.
“The Chevrolet E-10 electrified Connect & Cruise concept system reimagines the performance crate engine for hot rodders,” said Jim Campbell, GM 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.”
GM says it is not ready to begin selling the electric system as a crate package yet, “but this concept brings the electric option for hot rodders much closer to reality”.
However, there are compromises: The E-10 is useless as a pick-up truck because its tray has been filled with batteries. The batteries are the same as those used in the Chevrolet Bolt electric hatchback sold in the US.
The E-10 is not the first time Chevrolet has toyed with an electric pick-up.
In 1997 it began selling the S-10 EV, an electric version of the brand’s mid-sized truck.
They were powered by the electric components used in the EV1 electric car that was the focus of the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?.
Like the EV1, most were leased to business or government customers then taken back by GM and crushed.