Electric Crate Motor: is this the LS alternative?

Electric GT is back. We were first introduced to them when they debuted their converted 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS to an all-electric setup. Now they are back with what is being described as an Electric Crate Motor.

The LS swap has been the standard of engine swaps for decades, now there is a new trend on the rise and it’s shocking. Sorry, I couldn’t stop writing the predictable dad joke.

Electric GT Dual Electric Motor

I’ve been on the Toyota Land Cruiser forum since before owning my FZJ80 and engine swaps are the currency of iH8MUD. If members are not posting about what size tires will fit that doesn’t rub without a lift, then they are talking about engine swaps. I am fully guilty of this as well. An 80-Series with an LS3 is my dream.

Electric GT is working on another solution to this. They have put together an electric crate motor that is sized and shaped like a modern V8 crate engine. The packaging is a familiar shape and Electric GT is creating a package that would be similar to when whole engines are sold as assembled and ready to be installed. The engine-shaped module has either one or two electric motors, motor controllers, a charger, a DC-to-DC converter, coolant lines, and pumps. The only thing that isn’t included in their package currently is the battery pack. You will have to source those on your own.

The company is claiming that the setup will make 140 hp and 240 lb-feet with a single motor and 240 hp and 340 bl-ft with a dual motor setup. These numbers don’t really make sense if you’re comparing to big power classic muscle cars, but it’s more than enough for those classics that were underpowered (by modern standards) when new.

Build Thread

Electric GT wants to sell its package to shops as opposed to individual customers. There isn’t any pricing information yet. They are currently building a 1970 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 with this new system. Here is the build thread on MUD. It’s quite eyeopening. They’re installing 12 Tesla Gen One Smart modules for power ($799/ module). The FJ40 isn’t the only Land Cruiser around their shop. Here’s a shot of they getting ready to test fit the crate motor in an FJ62.

fj62 Electric Motor Test Fit

Electric GT is now located in Chatsworth. Let’s hope their talking to Chatsworth’s automotive wizard, Jonathan Ward.

8 Comments

  1. I’m intrigued. This is a novel idea, packaging it in such a way. The dual-motor setup looks really long, though I suppose with no need for a fan and radiator, you can just push things further forward.

    I like that this build will keep the three-speed manual, but I’m not sure I could train my brain to shift appropriately without the characteristic sounds and power delivery that an ICE provides. Seems the easy thing to do would be put it in third and go. I can lazily start out in third in my three-on-the-tree 390 Mercury, but obviously don’t because it’s not as fun. But when you have adequate torque at zero rpm (as with an electric motor), the manual transmission starts to lose its relevance, if not its enjoyment.

    1. There’s probably little to no point in changing gears in the traditional sense when it would likely be able to pull away cleanly in 3rd, and a clutch would be unnecessary for pulling away from standstill. It’s probably more appropriate to think of it as more of a power-normal-economy mode.

      I would have thought that the transmission would only be taking up valuable space that could be given over to more batteries. I don’t see any reason to retain it TBH.

  2. Looks really space hogging, considering finding room for enough batteries without filling the cargo space or hanging too low will be a challenge.

    I like the arrangement used by Jaguar: electric motor in place of gearbox and batteries in engine bay. For a 4wd perhaps changing the ratio in the transfer case could compensate for the loss of reduction via the gearbox.

        1. True, that. This is the problem with retrofitting an electric powertrain– the battery location really has to be built into the design, not an afterthought.

          1. Haven’t looked into conversions enough, but generally agree. I think the Jaguar or Aston Martin conversion had reasonable range with batteries in the engine bay and fuel tank location.

            With a Land Cruiser part-filling the cargo bay probably isn’t too much of a problem – after adding batteries, a driver and passenger you are probably not far off hitting GVM…

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