Chevrolet has unveiled the eCOPO Camaro Concept, Chevy’s first electric drag racer.
Even though we’re all aware of the awesome power that an electric drivetrain provides, most people are still reluctant to switch away from traditional engines in their drag race endeavors. Part of the mystique of drag racing is the horrendous noise that such car’s produce as they rocket down a quarter-mile of rubber-coated asphalt. The eerie silence and high-pitched whirr of electric cars just ain’t the same.
But the times, they are a changin'. Chevrolet has finally nodded to the advancing tide of electrification with their very first electric drag racer, the eCOPO Camaro Concept.
Based on the 2019 COPO Camaro and built in collaboration with electric drag race team Hancock and Lane Racing, the eCOPO Camaro Concept has an all-electric powertrain with over 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. Although testing is still ongoing with GM, they’re expecting to get the eCOPO Camaro down to a 9-second quarter-mile time.
The first electric Camaro is also built with the help of high school students. In their press release, GM made special mention of Patrick McCue, who works with Hancock and Lane Racing as the “driving force behind the record-holding ‘Shock and Awe’ electric drag racing car.” He also teaches at the Seattle-area Bothell High School automotive technology program, with a dozen of his students helping out with the assembly of the eCOPO Camaro.
On most electric vehicles, there is no transmission--the electric motors are simply hooked up to the wheels directly and either spin faster or slower depending on how much current is pushed through them. Not so with the eCOPO. In an effort to make the car’s components as compatible with existing technology as possible, the electric motor is placed where the old internal combustion engine went and shunts power through a “Turbo 400” automatic transmission.
The electric motor itself is based on a pair of BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies which each produce 350 hp and has been constructed in such a way that it mounts in the exact same way as Chevy’s line of LS crate engines. In the future, Chevy hopes to sell this electric engine as part of their crate engine portfolio so that other aspiring electric race-car makers can slot the same engine into their own projects.
No word on when that will be available, but you can see the eCOPO yourself at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas until November 2nd.