Chevrolet Camaro eCOPO electric drag racer unveiled

Race car concept hints at future electric crate motors

Developed in conjunction with Hancock and Lane Racing, a team specialising electric drag racing, the Chevrolet Camaro eCOPO concept has an electric motor making over 522kW (700hp) of power, and 813Nm of torque.

Chevrolet estimates the eCOPO can blast through the quarter mile (400m) in around nine seconds, although the company admits testing is still on-going.

The specially-developed electric motor is said to be based on two BorgWarner HVH 250-150 units. The new motor is hooked up to the rear wheels via a race-ready Turbo 400 automatic transmission, and the same solid rear axle as V8-powered Camaro COPO drag racers.

GM says the electric motor has the same bell house mounting pattern and crankshaft flange as its V8 crate engines, allowing it to be fitted to any of the company’s transmission. Indeed, the company hints the electric motor, or a subsequent development of it, may be offered as a crate engine in the future.

“The eCOPO project points to a future that could include electric crate motors for racing, or even your street rod. We’re not there yet, but it’s something we’re exploring,” Russ O’Blenes, director of performance variants and motorsports at GM, said in a prepared statement.

A set of four 200V battery packs, weighing around 320kg in total, are located throughout the car: two where the rear seats normally reside, one over the rear axle, and one in spare wheel well.

They deliver a total of 800V, or double the voltage available in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Bolt electric hatch. With all of its batteries behind the driver’s seat, the eCOPO has a 56 per cent rear-weight bias.