US car giant Chevrolet has taken the covers off a cool 1960s pick-up powered by future electric-car technology – but it roars like a V8 due to an artificial sound enhancer. In fact, it has a choice of five fake engine sounds in total.
While many may dismiss it as a flight of fancy, this show car built for the 2019 SEMA auto show in fact has production potential.
The Chevrolet E-10 Concept (a play on words based on the 1962 model’s C-10 name) has the equivalent of about 450 horsepower (335kW) and is made up of parts borrowed from the company’s pure electric hatchback, the Chevrolet Bolt.
The company estimates it can do the 0 to 100km/h dash in about 5.0 seconds – about the same performance as a Holden Commodore V8 – and a drag-racing 400-metre time in the “high 13 second range” from a standing start.
But the coolest part is the way it sounds. “To fit in with other hot rods on the road, the E-10 has a sound emulator complete with three speakers to simulate (an engine) sound in the front and two banks of a V8 engine in the back of the vehicle,” says Chevrolet.
The driver can select one of five modes including two types of high performance Chevrolet V8 (LS7 Z28 track mode or LS7 Z28 touring mode), a regular V8 engine, a futuristic electric-car sound, or silent.
The sounds will “automatically adjust to the changing of the gears, truly mimicking an internal combustion engine”, says Chevrolet.
The Chevrolet ute concept comes as electric-car specialists Tesla and Rivian say they are planning to introduce battery-powered pick-ups, although no manufacturer has explained how much these vehicles will be able to tow or carry given the limited range of battery technology and the impact their extra weight has on payload.
Officially, Chevrolet says the E-10 electric pick-up demonstrates conversion possibilities for classic vehicles, blending vintage styling and high performance with zero-emissions driving.
“The Chevrolet E-10 … reimagines the performance crate engine for hot rodders,” said Jim Campbell, vice president of performance and motorsports.
“As General Motors continues to work toward our vision of a zero-emissions world, concepts such as this help us get there, while still supporting the enthusiasts who love to drive vintage vehicles.”
However, the technology underneath shows that General Motors is not simply toying with the technology.
The Chevrolet E-10 has two 400-volt batteries and a conventional high performance four-speed automatic favoured by drag racers (SuperMatic 4L75-E for the rev heads), sending power to the rear wheels.
Power to the drive stack comes from two production Bolt EV battery packs. Mounted in the pick-up’s tray, each offers 60kWh of usable energy under a hard tonneau cover, for a combined total of 120kWh of range.
“General Motors has the in-house talent required to create a concept like the E-10,” said Campbell. “With the innovative thinking and expertise our performance team, electrification team and many others at GM bring, this project went from concept to running vehicle in 18 weeks to demonstrate what the future of an eCrate propulsion system and hot rodding could look like.”
The classic Chevrolet “bowtie” emblem in the grille is illuminated, the headlights and tail-lights are LED and the wheels are 20 x 9-inch front and 22 x 10-inch at the rear. The original instrument panels been replaced with digital displays for the electric propulsion system.