Even a year ago, when Chevrolet announced its eCrate motor via an electrified Blazer, we noted that the move was inevitable. More than at any other period in history, classic car owners have been electrifying their vehicles using whatever modern EV powertrains end up in junkyards and for cheap on the secondary market. Dozens of shops have popped up offering classic car electrification services. Now’s the time to make crate electric motors available, and as we saw in a tweet from Ford recently, the Blue Oval is soon going to announce its own crate electric motor – the Eluminator – at this year’s SEMA show.
Awesome, really, but this all makes zero sense if Ford and GM can’t also offer crate battery packages to go with those crate electric motors.
Yes, I know, batteries are not sexy. They don’t even having any moving parts, ferpetesake – they just lay there, all shocks and zaps if you touch ’em wrong. Automakers tend not to introduce new battery systems at SEMA – heck, sometimes automakers barely release any information about the batteries in their electric vehicles. Take, for instance, the electric Mustang Cobra Jet that’s up at the top of this article. When Ford announced it last year, the company boasted all sorts of stats on its performance (1,502 peak wheel horsepower, quarter-miles in 8.27 seconds at 168 mph), but nowhere in its press releases did the company mention the battery supplying all that power. (All we’ve been able to find with some quick googling from other sources is that it has three 60kWh battery packs of some sort.)
Motors, on the other hand, they at least spin. They’ve got some torque. Ford absolutely gushed about the electric Cobra Jet’s “four PN-250-DZR inverters coupled to a pair of DS-250-115s, giving four motors total and spinning at up to 10,000 revolutions per minute (and running) at 800 volts and up to 700 amps, with maximum output of 350kW per motor.” According to Carscoops, which spoke with Ford’s Hau Thai-Tang, the Eluminator should put out 210 kW. Roughly, in terms of SAT question format, the electric motor is to the internal-combustion engine as the battery pack is to the gas tank. Motors are relatively easy to bolt up top existing transmissions and to fit in places where internal combustion engines once went. Far, far more articles have been written about building and modifying engines than gas tanks.
On the other hand, that’s not a fair comparison. Batteries have far more to do with the performance of an electric vehicle than a gas tank has with the performance of an internal combustion vehicle. The major reason electric vehicles have even become a hot topic of conversation over the last decade or so is because advances in battery technology have made them feasible alternatives to internal-combustion vehicles for a wider variety of use cases. Without a good battery, that spinny spinny motor’s not good for much beyond windshield wiper duty.