Why Ford’s Electric Crate Motor Is a Big Deal


What makes the “Eluminator” electric crate motor so cool? Why should you care? The answers go beyond the fact that it’s a cool toy, or that you could seriously upgrade your lawnmower. Electric crate motors have potential that extends into several parts of the automotive world, so let’s take a look at why.

Specs and Value

The 205-pound motor produces 281 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. It doesn’t come with batteries or a transmission of any sort, but the possibilities are incredible. When it launched the crate motor in 2021 Ford showed off the Luminator concept, which used a classic F-100 pickup body with the crate motor and twin electric motors. When combined, the Luminator concept offered 480 horsepower and 634 pound-feet of torque, making it one of the quickest trucks around.

Ford’s crate motor is cheap, too. At just $4,340, the price makes it more likely that buyers can combine more than one unit for massive potential. As with the Luminator concept and the Mach-E GT, combining motors gives more power and the opportunity for all-wheel drive. It’s true that Ford doesn’t currently sell all the gear needed to build such a system, and it’s also true that there aren’t necessarily instruction manuals to assemble the hardware. However, people are clever, and the potential is tempting enough for many to try.

The electric motor could also present a major value win for people wanting to build a performance project car. Ford’s other crate engines cost way more, such as the $7,420 5.0-liter Coyote engine from the 2018-2021 Mustang. Others, like the 760-horsepower V8 from the Mustang Shelby GT500, cost way more – $28,935, in this case. Batteries are expensive and building a project to accommodate the electric setup won’t be simple, but the price of entry is much cheaper with the electric crate motor.

Public Relations and Education

People continue to be skeptical of electric vehicles, despite growing evidence that they are better than gas-powered vehicles in many situations. Range anxiety and concerns over charging, combined with the increased cost to buy an EV, mean that there are some major hurdles before EVs truly become a replacement for traditional vehicles.

Making powerful electric motors available and relatively affordable is an important tool to help educate buyers and increase awareness. It’s also a good way to show that electric motors can produce legitimate performance, and demonstrate their ability to deliver a meaningful and thrilling driving experience.

Performance and Motorsport Potential

The crate motor also gives enthusiasts and builders a new platform to work with, which improves knowledge and awareness of electric powertrains across the automotive community. Seeing the possibilities and the work it takes to achieve them is a great way to generate enthusiasm and interest in electric motors. Taking on a project with a completely new component seems daunting and difficult, but seeing a familiar personality or builder creating with an electric motor could be the push many need to get started.

It’s also fun to think about motor swaps. Depending on the vehicle and the setup, a crate motor like the Eluminator could be swapped into an EV that has a less powerful motor. People have been engine swap-crazy for years. Chevrolet’s LS engine, which is one of the most popular engines someone can swap, and now the Hellcat engine that’s found in Dodge Challengers and Chargers, are popular replacements for worn out powerplants. Imagine a small electric hatchback with the power from a Mustang Mach-E GT and you can start to see how crazy things can get.

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