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Chevy E-10 showcases an electric hot rod future with Bolt EV tech

Looks like a hot rod, sounds like a hot rod -- but the E-10 is a zero-emissions pickup.

Chevy E-10 concept
A normal hot rod pickup this is not.

Chevrolet is not the first to toy with the idea of swapping a zero-emissions powertrain into something that typically drinks gasoline, but the Chevy E-10 pickup concept is one of the bolder ideas we've seen. This is a pickup truck that looks like it should house a thumping, rowdy V8-powered machine, but that's a mirage.

This is the kind of thing that will either draw new fans, or make loyal hot rodders feel a smidge uneasy. Regardless, this is a wild thing. Chevy showed the E-10 on Monday ahead of its in-person debut at the 2019 SEMA show, and if you haven't gathered yet, there's a totally electric powertrain onboard.

Taking a name from the colloquial "crate engine" world, this Chevy truck packs an eCrate powertrain made of two concept electric crate motors, two 400-volt batteries and a traditional automatic transmission. Sending juice to this conceptual crate motor package is technology available today: Two Chevy Bolt EV battery packs offer a total of 120 kWh and sit in the E-10's bed under the tonneau cover.

The package is further proof that electric cars needn't be boring. Chevy said the electric hot rod makes a total of 450 horsepower and will light up the rear wheels with ease as it scoots to 60 mph in around 5 seconds. Launching it for a quarter-mile time should reveal a figure somewhere around 13 seconds.

The focus on performance required some different thinking, however. Since Bolt EV tech powers this machine, engineers needed to rethink how the electric motors operate. The stacked powertrain makes room for up to three motors linked together that focus on power, rather than efficiency. The two battery packs also gave way to a system for simultaneous charging and more available driving range.

Perhaps the coolest part about this build is a sound emulator system that mimics the noise we'd typically hear from a pickup build like this. Three speakers create an induction sound in the front and V8 snarl at the rear. Five modes give drivers the opportunity to blast the burble of a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 in track and touring tuning, a separate V8 engine sound, a futuristic note or drive in complete silence. While romping around, the system also works with the automatic transmission to provide gear change noises, too.

While there's no word on if the eCrate will one day be a reality, Chevy clearly has electrification on the mind. The E-10 follows last year's eCOPO Camaro -- an electric Camaro for the drag strip. While there certainly isn't a replacement for the sound and feel of an engine, the E-10 provides a compelling twist on a fairly standard hot rodding procedure.

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