Chevrolet Unveils Electric-Powered eCOPO Camaro Race Car Concept | Performance Racing Industry
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Chevrolet Unveils Electric-Powered eCOPO Camaro Race Car Concept
October 30, 2018
The concept race car—based on the 2019 COPO Camaro—is entirely electric powered, driven by an electric motor providing the equivalent of more than 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque.
Chevrolet Unveils Electric-Powered eCOPO Camaro Race Car Concept

Fifty years after the original COPO Camaro special order performance models were introduced, Chevrolet’s eCOPO Camaro Concept demonstrates an electrified vision for drag racing. The concept race car was unveiled during the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas on Monday, October 29.

Developed by General Motors (GM) and built in partnership with the pioneering electric drag racing team Hancock and Lane Racing, the concept race car—based on the 2019 COPO Camaro—is entirely electric powered, driven by an electric motor providing the equivalent of more than 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque.

Chevrolet estimates quarter-mile times in the 9-second range. Testing is ongoing.

“The eCOPO Concept is all about where we go in the future with electrification in the high-performance space,” GM Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports Director Russ O’Blenes said. “The original COPO Camaro program was all about pushing the envelope, and this concept is an exploration with the very same spirit.”

800 Volts
Just as the original 1969 COPO Camaro models relied on creative engineering to make them successful in Stock Eliminator drag racing, the eCOPO breaks new ground with its unique motor and GM’s first 800-volt battery back.

The electric motor is based on a pair of BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies, each generating 300 lb-ft of torque, and replaces the gas engine. It is connected to a conventional racing-prepared “Turbo 400” automatic transmission that channels the motor’s torque to the same solid rear axle used in the production COPO Camaro race cars.

The all-new 800-volt battery pack enables a more efficient power transfer to the electric motor and supports faster recharging, which is important for the limited time between elimination rounds in drag racing.

“Eight hundred volts is more than twice the voltage of the battery packs in the production Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV, so the eCOPO pushes into new technological territory,” O’Blenes said.

Electric Crate Motors
The eCOPO Camaro’s electric motor has the same bell house mounting pattern and crankshaft flange as the popular LS-family engines in Chevrolet’s crate engine portfolio. That allows it to bolt up to just about any General Motors transmission. The transmission, driveshaft and other drivetrain components remain in the same locations as in a gasoline-powered COPO Camaro race car, meaning the electric motor simply bolts into the engine compartment in place of the gas engine.
 
“The possibilities are intriguing and suggest a whole new world for racers,” O’Blenes said. “Chevrolet pioneered the concept of the high-performance crate engine right around the time the original COPO Camaro models were created, and 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.”

For more information, including specifications and photos, visit the GM website here.