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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/29/20 9:08 a.m.

GM has announced they're going to sell a Bolt crate motor setup. Not just a motor and controller, though - it'll come with a battery pack, the various controllers and inverters, water pumps for the battery pack and a wiring harness. Basically, it's their "connect and cruise" system with electronics. They're also working on a certification program for installers which I think is an excellent idea.

What appears to be missing is a transmission. I don't know if they'll include the transmission from the Bolt or if you're expected to bung the motor on the end of your existing transmission. I really hope it's the former, because the latter is the wrong choice. The SEMA showcase for this kit was going to be a K-5 Blazer using a four speed automatic and the stock 4WD system, which implies the latter. 200 hp and 266 torks.

Maybe I should sign up for this SEMA 360 thing.

The install of the battery back is a little, umm, minimalist.

https://media.chevrolet.com/media/us/en/chevrolet/home.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2020/oct/1029-sema360.html

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) Dork
10/29/20 9:28 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

 

What appears to be missing is a transmission. I don't know if they'll include the transmission from the Bolt or if you're expected to bung the motor on the end of your existing transmission. I really hope it's the former, because the latter is the wrong choice. The SEMA showcase for this kit was going to be a K-5 Blazer using a four speed automatic and the stock 4WD system, which implies the latter. 200 hp and 266 torks.

 

GM Press Release says:

Then, the team installed a Bolt EV electric motor, delivering 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, paired with a Chevrolet Performance electronically controlled four-speed automatic. The rest of the Blazer drivetrain remains untouched, including the transfer case, driveshaft and axles.

Sounds like it includes a GM 4-speed with it. I am really excited to see what the future holds for this concept. I'm also hoping the minimalist installation is more to showcase the system as a whole, rather than to hide it.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/29/20 9:38 a.m.

Oh dang. Do want!

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
10/29/20 9:38 a.m.

I will not start looking at isuzu amigos to swap, I will not start looking at isuzu amigos to swap. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
10/29/20 9:40 a.m.

To me that sounds like a 4L60E or similar from the parts counter.  The battery... deck?  installed in the back looks like a Bolt floorpan sitting in the back of the Blazer.  Something more modular and easy to package into an existing vehicle seems like it would be better.

This is cool though as it would be a lot of the thinking required to EV swap a Maserati BiTurbo without going even more insane.   The questions I would still have is what is the smart path forward with regards to the rest of the driveline, and how to get the batteries packaged better than this show Blazer.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/29/20 9:40 a.m.
classicJackets (FS) said:
Keith Tanner said:

 

What appears to be missing is a transmission. I don't know if they'll include the transmission from the Bolt or if you're expected to bung the motor on the end of your existing transmission. I really hope it's the former, because the latter is the wrong choice. The SEMA showcase for this kit was going to be a K-5 Blazer using a four speed automatic and the stock 4WD system, which implies the latter. 200 hp and 266 torks.

 

GM Press Release says:

Then, the team installed a Bolt EV electric motor, delivering 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, paired with a Chevrolet Performance electronically controlled four-speed automatic. The rest of the Blazer drivetrain remains untouched, including the transfer case, driveshaft and axles.

Sounds like it includes a GM 4-speed with it. I am really excited to see what the future holds for this concept. I'm also hoping the minimalist installation is more to showcase the system as a whole, rather than to hide it.

The four speed auto is how they mated the motor to the rest of the Blazer because it was the easy option. It's not included and it's the wrong way to do this kind of swap IMO. Although if you're dealing with a big 4x4 and you want to retain off-road capability with a motor of that size, you will need some sort of gear reduction.

Here's what's included in the kit.

The 60-kWh Electric Connect and Cruise package, expected to be available in the second half of 2021, includes:

  • 60-kWh battery pack
  • 200-horsepower electric motor
  • DC-to-AC power inverter to drive the electric motor
  • DC-to-DC power converter to power low-voltage systems
  • Wiring harnesses, controllers and water pumps for battery heating and cooling
tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/29/20 9:42 a.m.

That's very exciting.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
10/29/20 9:52 a.m.

Keith:  Take driveline challenges of a 4x4 out and just think RWD or some other vehicle that doesn't need to pretend to have crawling ability.  What are your thoughts on a trans to really "do this right"?  I've been doing a little poking around and it seems like having a multi-speed trans isn't uncommon on purpose-built EV's.  A four-speed auto with torque converter doesn't seem the most efficient, though.  Maybe a two-speed or three-speed manual?  No reverse gear needed.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/29/20 9:56 a.m.

This is the first time I've seen a complete battery option. The fact that it's a full, integrated solution does limit the flexibility somewhat - you can tell that battery pack was ripped right out of a different vehicle. But maybe it's a gateway to the more modular Ultimium (or whatever) setup. Still, anytime you have the cooling system designed and built by the GM engineers, you're going to lose some flexibility.

The fact that they're doing a certified installer program makes me think that this will not be available to just anyone, at least not at first.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/29/20 10:01 a.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

Keith:  Take driveline challenges of a 4x4 out and just think RWD or some other vehicle that doesn't need to pretend to have crawling ability.  What are your thoughts on a trans to really "do this right"?  I've been doing a little poking around and it seems like having a multi-speed trans isn't uncommon on purpose-built EV's.  A four-speed auto with torque converter doesn't seem the most efficient, though.  Maybe a two-speed or three-speed manual?  No reverse gear needed.

What purpose-built EVs have a multi-speed transmission? I think the Taycan does so it can go warp 9. The Teslas, the Lucid, the Leaf, the Bolt - all single-speed. Tesla planned on a two-speed for the original Roadster but abandoned it.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
10/29/20 10:04 a.m.

Any MSRP? Sadly, I expect that it will be a pretty penny. But it's great that Chevy's even thinking this way, and can only lead in a good direction. Various manufacturers have talked about "rollerskates" that the aftermarket can build bodys on, but  this is a good, and more flexible alternative.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/29/20 10:17 a.m.

No MSRP yet. Given that battery prices are constantly falling, they may be waiting until closer to the release date to set those. It will be more expensive than an LS3/T56 "Connect and cruise", I expect.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
10/29/20 10:20 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

Keith:  Take driveline challenges of a 4x4 out and just think RWD or some other vehicle that doesn't need to pretend to have crawling ability.  What are your thoughts on a trans to really "do this right"?  I've been doing a little poking around and it seems like having a multi-speed trans isn't uncommon on purpose-built EV's.  A four-speed auto with torque converter doesn't seem the most efficient, though.  Maybe a two-speed or three-speed manual?  No reverse gear needed.

What purpose-built EVs have a multi-speed transmission? I think the Taycan does so it can go warp 9. The Teslas, the Lucid, the Leaf, the Bolt - all single-speed. Tesla planned on a two-speed for the original Roadster but abandoned it.

Yeah, they kept blowing them up so they settled on a fixed speed reduction gear instead.

When are you putting one in a Miata?  This sounds like a new and exciting way to blow up Mazda transmissions. :)

 

akylekoz
akylekoz SuperDork
10/29/20 10:21 a.m.

There must be a carbon credit with each sale that will allow for an 800hp gas guzzling beast in the lineup.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
10/29/20 10:32 a.m.

I wonder what the whole deal weighs?  The power and torque numbers sound very, very fun in something nice and light assuming you can fit the battery pack under it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/29/20 10:32 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Keith Tanner said:
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

Keith:  Take driveline challenges of a 4x4 out and just think RWD or some other vehicle that doesn't need to pretend to have crawling ability.  What are your thoughts on a trans to really "do this right"?  I've been doing a little poking around and it seems like having a multi-speed trans isn't uncommon on purpose-built EV's.  A four-speed auto with torque converter doesn't seem the most efficient, though.  Maybe a two-speed or three-speed manual?  No reverse gear needed.

What purpose-built EVs have a multi-speed transmission? I think the Taycan does so it can go warp 9. The Teslas, the Lucid, the Leaf, the Bolt - all single-speed. Tesla planned on a two-speed for the original Roadster but abandoned it.

Yeah, they kept blowing them up so they settled on a fixed speed reduction gear instead.

When are you putting one in a Miata?  This sounds like a new and exciting way to blow up Mazda transmissions. :)

 

You'll never see me stick an electric motor on the front of a Miata trans. Now, putting a Model 3 drive unit in the rear subframe - THAT you might see. The Model S one won't quite fit without reworking suspension pickup points but the 3 is more compact. No controllers for them yet, though. That's what I'm hoping to see, something packaged like a complete FWD drivetrain where I just need to add halfshafts.

The EV West unit that was just announced (basically a Model S motor with a gear reduction transmission) works like this for a FR setup. You could drop that into an existing FM V8 car right now. You're still stuck with a vestigial 90* turn in the power flow and a bunch of extra crap in the transmission tunnel, though.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/29/20 10:35 a.m.

If you need a transmission, a manually shifted automatic with a spool replacing the torque converter would work nicely, and potentially give useful crawling ratios depending on the transmission used.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/29/20 10:54 a.m.

Just bolt the electric motor straight to the input of your diff. If the diff is for IRS then it shouldn't be moving around with the suspension. 

If you have a stick axle, mount the electric motor where the trans goes. Use a driveshaft. 

newrider3
newrider3 Reader
10/29/20 10:55 a.m.

I'll be following this with interest. I've been tossing around a myriad of drivetrain swap options for my F100, and electric popped into my head yesterday. The current state of aftermarket EV motors and controllers is still sad and expensive, aside from a couple companies salvaging Tesla drive units all the aftermarket conversion electric motors are technologically stuck in 1998 and excessively expensive for the low performance potential. 

I'm sure this won't be cheap, but at least it has OEM engineering and support behind it for that cost. 

APEowner
APEowner Dork
10/29/20 11:13 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

 

The fact that they're doing a certified installer program makes me think that this will not be available to just anyone, at least not at first.

Hmm.  I'm bored with my job and sort of looking for something else to do.  Perhaps a business installing these is it.

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) SuperDork
10/29/20 12:00 p.m.

If I blow up my 2JZ and/or W58 trans behind it, I would very seriously consider going electric with my hot rod project. Maybe this is the way.

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
10/29/20 12:16 p.m.

the EV west complete bolt in swaps for Beetles and Porsches are somewhere in the neighborhood of $16k.  So expect 10-12k+ for this.

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
10/29/20 12:28 p.m.

Sadly we're a few years away from seeing aftermarket Model 3 motor controllers- those motors are based on Switched-reluctance which requires plenty of electronics to properly control and I'm not sure yet if an off-shelf part is capable of detecting the rotor position.

GM is waiting for a short period, likely because they want to keep their cards close to their chest just in case some new advancement comes along for them that requires a mild rework. The "Certified Installer" bit is probably lawyer protection; DC fast charging requires kill you levels of power but for EV swaps to be popular it'll be necessary, but randos like myself are far more likely to screw up and cause some sweet lithium fires so they're playing it safe. I think it's kinda funny that pack is literally tossed into the back.

Using a transmission should never be disregarded for EV projects; just like gas engines, all motors have positives and negatives and torque multiplication via gearing will always need to be considered. Sandy Munroe did a teardown of the Leaf, Model 3, i3 and Bolt motors and found the Bolt motor was really an industrial AC plant "embiggened" into a perfectly workable car motor, so gearing is a perfect use for it here. It's likely something from the 4L60 family tree with upgrades to make it work with the sudden torque loads and lack of constantly running oil pumps.

newrider3 said:

I'll be following this with interest. I've been tossing around a myriad of drivetrain swap options for my F100, and electric popped into my head yesterday. The current state of aftermarket EV motors and controllers is still sad and expensive, aside from a couple companies salvaging Tesla drive units all the aftermarket conversion electric motors are technologically stuck in 1998 and excessively expensive for the low performance potential. 

I'm sure this won't be cheap, but at least it has OEM engineering and support behind it for that cost. 

Yeah, its pretty weird. Most aftermarket motors are really in the bicycle/motorcycle areas thanks to Asia, and while cheap methods CAN be found they require a lot of custom work and knowledge of engineering and physics to really attain them. Funny enough, yesterday I met a guy at a local scrapyard who built his own electric car from a subaru using the internal electric starter/generator for a jet turbine, and I recently found some guides that show some details on how brushed DC forklift motors can be made to produce 600+ HP for short periods. The knowledge and parts ARE There to build near-challenge cost EVs- the problem is, you're looking for specific parts in small specialized fields where a used piece is essentially worthless- like mining tools or aircraft parts, for instance. Add onto that cooling needs as power increases, and you're looking for needles in haystacks.

Controllers are interesting- hackaday.io has active projects to open and back-engineer the SMART EV Zytek controller (55kW) and you have custom options like the Lebowski board and whatever the heck is going on with Prius inverter skull dugggery. But if a little breakthrough is made (breaking Toyota/Nissan DRM, cheaper SiC parts, ect) it could really begin to tip things for EVs.

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
10/29/20 12:47 p.m.

Sorry, I see zero benefit to this conversion. The expense is massive and the power output too small. How is this better than what was in the truck to start with? If they had used a motor with 350hp it would have been a little better. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/29/20 12:52 p.m.

If they make the Bolt transaxle an option, I'm thinking RWD kit car with the chassis designed so you're sitting on top of the battery. 

Hopefully, FFR is looking at this. 

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