Readers of Hot Rod Magazine will undoubtedly be familiar with Project X. For decades, this classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air has been a rolling test mule for a near-endless parade of aftermarket performance parts and drivetrain configurations.
Yet this incarnation may be Project X’s most extreme (to date).
MotorTrend and Chevrolet Performance worked together to replace the supercharged LSX V8 that was sitting between the Bel Air’s frame rails with an electric motor. And the EV powerplant is bringing the goods too, with an estimated 340 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque on tap.
But the biggest news behind Project X may be its battery setup.
The Bel Air now uses a modular battery design that could potentially mean that, in the future, electric vehicle retrofitters could add as many battery modules as they want, to meet their specific EV’s range and performance goals. For Project X, builders opted for a 400 volt configuration that’s good for 30 kW hours—which Chevy says delivers a perfect amount of range for weekend cruising.
Along with dropping in the battery setup and electric motor, the Project X team switched to an electric brake booster and electrohydraulic power steering pump.
Removing the exhaust system also allowed Project X to ride about two inches lower than before, and its previous suspension setup (poached from a Corvette C6) got revised spring rates to account for less weight in front and more in the back. Corvette fans will also notice the pushbutton shifter controls inside, courtesy of a 2021 ‘Vette.
While a lot of this EV tech is still in development, it’s no doubt giving Chevy’s eCrate Program a ton of research data. That means we may be one step closer to a complete drop-in electric driveline conversion kit. We’re anxiously waiting to see if EV conversions fuel (pun not intended) the next generation of hot rodding.