The future of drag racing might be a lot quieter than it is now, if this new Chevy concept is of any indication. It's called the eCOPO Camaro and as that lowercase "e" suggests, it's all-electric. But don't worry, it still makes over 700 hp and it should run nine-second quater-miles.
Chevy brought out this concept for the SEMA show, and it has to be one of the coolest cars there. It was developed in partnership with Washington drag-racing team , and Patrick McCue, a Seattle high school teacher with his shop class. The eCOPO based on the otherwise-V8-powered COPO Camaro you can buy from Chevrolet Performance, and features lots of neat engineering.
Power comes from two BorgWarner electric motors joined together, which send a combined 700- horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a Turbo 400 automatic. This might be an old-school gearbox, but it's proven for drag racing. The solid rear axle comes directly off the standard COPO Camaro, too.
Driving the electric motor is an 800-volt battery system, which consists of four 200-volt packs weighing 175 lbs each. Two are mounted where the rear seats in a standard Camaro would be, while one sits right over the rear axle, and one is in the spare tire compartment. Chevy says these battery packs give the eCOPO a 56-percent rear weight bias, which helps with off-the-line traction.
This is just a concept, but Chevy hints that it might start offering electric crate motors. The motor in the eCOPO uses the same bellhouse mounting pattern and crankshaft flange as an LS V8, which means it can be paired with any transmission Chevrolet Performance offers.
"The possibilities are intriguing and suggest a whole new world for racers," said Russ O’Blenes, head of performance parts at GM. “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."
The eCOPO represents an interesting approach to straight-line speed, and something we'd like to see explored more. It shows that an electric-car future can still offer up old-school fun.