The so-called crate engine has been a boon to car hobbyists, providing streamlined option for replacing the engine of a project vehicle. While crate engines are typically V-8s, United Kingdom-based Swindon Powertrain now offers an electric equivalent.
The company's HPD (short for "High Power Density") electric powertrain consists of a pre-packaged 80-kilowatt (107-horsepower) permanent-magnet motor, transmission, and differential.
The setup is available to order for 6,400 British pounds (about $7,800 at current exchange rates)—although batteries are not included—and it's okay to ship to the United States, as it's not intended for new vehicles or projects made in volume. First deliveries are scheduled for August.
Swindon, which has already built a handful of electric Mini conversions for UK customers, wanted to facilitate similar EV projects. The company expects its crate motor to be used in everything from classic car conversions to light commercial vehicles and ATVs.
To that end, the powertrain is compactly packaged (the entire assembly weighs just 110 pounds, with lubricants) and flexible. The assembly features multiple installation points for inverters and cooling apparatus, the company noted. It comes with an open differential, but a limited-slip differential can be added, according to the company.
Swindon HPD electric crate motor
This isn't the only electric crate motor; they suddenly seem to be a trend. Electric GT even disguised its electric powertrain as a V-8.
Electric conversions are nothing new, either. Chevrolet's E-10 hot-rod electric truck was built last year around such a concept—but borrowing components from the Bolt EV. Prior to that, Chevy built the eCOPO, an electric Camaro drag racer that featured 800-volt charging.
The idea behind the current wave of electric crate motors is to cut costs by providing a harmonized component set that reduces the amount of trial and error for each build/conversion.
There have been a number of on-a-budget kits designed for conversions, but one of our favorites goes back many years. It was an electric Mazda MX-5 Miata conversion kit that (in 2011) cost $2,500.
So, armed with an electric conversion kit, what would you build?