Crate motors have been a staple of the build and DIY community for a long, long time. For as long as there have been vehicles to strip down and transfer motors between, there has been a market for the customisation of existing vehicle bodies with the guts of something bigger and better.
For those out there not already familiar with the concept of a crate motor, it’s more or less what the name suggests: you put in an order for a new motor (typically an LS or Chevy), it turns up in a crate, and you (or a talented mechanic) install it over the course of a few days or weeks—depending on the time you put towards it—with the idea being that at the end of the process you’ve got a brand new motor that delivers more power in the car that you already know and love.
One company based in the United States has taken this concept and futurised it. Electric GT, a boundary-pushing tech company based in Chatsworth, California have developed a world-first: a plug-and-play V8-configured electric crate motor that you can drop into pretty much any bucket of bolts you’ve got lying around.
Working out of an unassuming building about 20 minutes north of LA, Electric GT has vastly simplified the conversion process not only for changing over to electric, but even just in installing a crate motor in the first place. Where the process would normally take days or weeks, installing the e-Crate Motor can be done in as short as a few hours.
And as far as the electric conversion process goes, the improvement has to be measured in light-years. Coming fully equipped with all of the components you need—the motor, control module, relays, computer systems, sensors (built into one compact unit), and a vehicle-appropriate number of lithium-ion battery cells—you won’t be needing to undergo the difficult and extremely time-consuming process of sourcing, modifying, and installing each of those individual components.
Designed to fit easily into manual transmission setups, the e-Crate Motor measures 34 inches long, a little longer than a standard small-block V8. It’s currently available in only one configuration, the GTE-240, delivering 240hp. There is, however, another setup capable of delivering 255hp on the way that goes by the name GTE-350.
Currently, Electric GT is taking orders and shipping out GTE-240 crates with a lead time of about 2 months in the continental USA, and considerably more for overseas customers. They’re also taking deposits on the GTE-350, with no clear date on when they’ll be ready.
Though these crate motors are a few years away from widespread distribution, and this is the first generation of the technology so there will naturally be some kinks to work out, but there's real potential for converting cars of all shapes and sizes to a new, clean system of propulsion. With the work we’ve done lately to the FJ, maybe we ought to have put in a GTE-240 instead of an LS. What do you think?