“Crate V8” Could Soon Allow Electric Conversion of Any Car

When hot rodders look to install a high-performance V8 into their antiquated chassis, they in many cases install a “crate motor.” That’s a new engine delivered in a wooden crate, ready for installation. So, a crate motor is synonymous with installing a hopped-up V8 into your old car. But can an electric conversion also involve a crate motor?

One company says yes, and it’s currently developing an electric “crate V8” engine for EV conversions into older cars. Well, they’re not exactly a V8 so much as they’re disguised as a V8 engine. Electric GT in Chatsworth, California, is developing a “modular crate motor” according to Green Car Reports.

Eric Hutchinson and Brock Winberg own Electric GT and have been doing electric crate motor conversions for years according to Green Car Reports. They are known for converting a Ferrari 308GTB to all-electric power. Their “crate motor” is an assemblage of components for a builder to convert his or her car. It will include everything except the batteries.

If you like the Volkswagen Type 20 Microbus EV retro-concept, you’ll be happy to know that Electric GT did that conversion for VW. While they take on build conversions, their aim is to make affordable conversions for home-builders and make them as easy as possible to perform. They envision an electric crate motor the builder installs, then wires up to the main wiring harness and adds his or her own battery packs.

Different Electric Crate V8 Conversions

There can be different versions based on what the customer wants, but the basic motor produces 140 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. An optional setup would up the performance to 240 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque combining two electric motors.

For the electric conversion they are doing now with an old Toyota FJ, their goal is to have the electric crate motor fit in the stock FJ engine location, and bolt up to the existing transmission and drivetrain. This way the kit would allow a builder to use the existing stock transmission and four-wheel-drive system.

For comparison, a stock Chevy V8 is 29.4 inches, while the Electric GT crate engine is a bit longer at 34 inches. But don’t forget, you don’t need a radiator or water pump, which need the additional length for packaging under a Camaro hood. 

So what’s inside of the crate? It uses two AC50 motors with a Lovejoy coupling. It can be upgraded to AC51 or HyPer 9. All of the controllers are mounted on top with contactor boxes. An accessory unit is housed in the front. 

Does The Electric Crate Motor Have Valve Covers?

Housed under what looks to be valve covers are the DC-DC converter, 6.6-kW onboard charger, and all of the coolant lines and a coolant pump. Electric GT provides all of the battery and startup specs, and it hopes to have adapters for the more common transmission bellhousings to make this truly a bolt-in proposition.

Electric GT’s ambitions are to expand to the larger Toyota FJ60 Land Cruiser from the 1980s and also to do an early-Bronco conversion. 

“Crate V8” Electric Conversions

Getting their feet wet with these limited-production Toyota FJ’s makes sense to prove the concept. But it will be interesting to see what an electric conversion for more common Chevy, Ford, and Chrysler products might be since those manufacturers built a lot more cars and trucks.