It was almost four years ago that the electric car scene took notice of the company Electric GT for the first time. At that time, in summer 2016, the Californians presented a Ferrari 308 converted to an electric vehicle. The previously half-burned-out “Magnum-Ferrari” received a 246 kW / 335 hp and a maximum 475 Newton meter drive train from Electric GT with three electric machines and a 46 kilowatt-hour battery. And on top of that a sporty suspension, modern brakes, a five-speed transmission from Porsche and a redesigned interior. The electric Italo sports car accelerates from zero to 60 mph (96.6 km / h) in five seconds, the top speed is above the 290 km / h mark and the range indicates Electric GT with a good 209 kilometers.
Electric crate engine in V8 form
Since then, the Californians have built an electrically driven Fiat 124 Spider and started work on Toyota Land Cruiser examples of the FJ40 and FJ60 series. And in the course of this came up with an idea: How about taking up the crate engine concept of the major US manufacturers and adapting it to electric drives? Crate engines are engines that car manufacturers send individually – packed in boxes – to customers, who then install them in their actually less powerful cars. This principle is particularly common among quarter-mile racers – and could also be interesting for people who want to convert their combustion engines to electric drives, right?
But the creativity of the group around Eric Hutchison was not yet exhausted. Because at Electric GT they had the idea of making the electric motor and its periphery look like an internal combustion engine. And like a full-blown V-engine with eight or more cylinders. In addition, regardless of whether one or two e-machines are used. The Americans promise a “plug-and-play solution with high performance that is almost maintenance-free”, can be easily installed by an “average mechanic” and should fit for many different car models. An old VW bus will soon be powered by the electric crate engine as well as the Ford classics Mustang and Bronco.
Up to 243 HP and a maximum of 461 Nm
The approximately 86 centimeter long package (a small block V8 measures approximately 74 centimeters) uses AC-50 electric motors as standard – and therefore parts that are relatively common in vehicles that have been converted to e-cars. AC-51 or HyPer9 counterparts are available on request. The single-engine variant delivers 114 kW / 155 hp and delivers a maximum of 331 Newton meters. The data sheet for the twin-engine version contains 179 kW / 243 hp and a maximum of 461 Newton meters.
The electric V-motor, whose housing comes from the 3D printer, already contains almost all technical requirements: motor (s), control (s), charger (s), sensors, relays and computer systems. The mounting brackets that are suitable for the different models are still missing, but Electric GT has already developed some of them and can manufacture others according to customer specifications. The engine is “pre-designed, prefabricated and pre-tested,” says the manufacturer.
Installation in five steps
However, customers have to install the electric motor themselves; responsibility for the battery also rests with the buyer. After all, Electric GT provides installation instructions. The process is to follow the following scheme: First the engine block is hung in the chassis and coupled to the gearbox before the cooling system and the wiring harness are added to the interior. The power lines to the battery pack and the charging connection, the cooling pump and the heat exchanger follow, then the thing should work. Electric air conditioning compressors and heaters are available as accessories.
Incidentally, Electric GT recommends coupling the engine to a manual transmission and already offers clutches, flywheels and adapter plates. When choosing the gearbox, you should make sure that it is basically designed for the high torque of the electric drive unit. Such adapter systems are available for air-cooled VW and Porsche models as well as for circuits from the Ford and GM group, the Toyota Land Cruiser, various Volvo models and the T56 transmission from Borg-Warner and cost around 1,000 Dollar. More applications will follow soon. Electric GT advises against automatic transmissions. Because they require an additional hydraulic pump and “because of the inefficiency of torque converters”.
The 155 HP and maximum 331 Nm strong GTe-253 Crate engine is available for $ 33,949 (the equivalent of a good 30,000 euros). That sounds like a lot, especially since you still have to install the thing yourself. But for a complete vehicle from Electric GT you pay about twice.