Burn rubber, not gasoline with Chevy’s electric eCOPO Camaro concept

A quick perusal of YouTube will show you that electric cars can be pretty quick in a straight line. So Chevrolet decided to harness that potential to build its own electric drag racer. Debuting at SEMA 2018, the Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro concept shows what drag racing could be like in a zero-emission future.

COPO stands for “Central Office Production Order.” It was a special-order process used during the golden age of American muscle cars in the 1960s to create some of the fastest and most rare Camaros ever. More recently, Chevy revived the name for the COPO Camaro factory drag racer. The eCOPO is based on that car, but instead of the regular V8, it features a greener powertrain.

That powertrain actually consists of two BorgWarner HVH 250-150 electric-motor assemblies connected together, sending 700 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels through a conventional automatic transmission. A Chevy press release said that while “testing is ongoing,” the automaker expects the eCOPO Camaro to run the quarter mile in the “9.0-second range.” For reference, an 840-hp gasoline Dodge Challenger SRT Demon will run the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds.

The eCOPO Camaro concept also features an 800-volt battery pack, with about twice the voltage of the pack in a Chevrolet Bolt EV or Volt plug-in hybrid. That allows the pack to discharge power to the motors more quickly, as well as charge faster, according to Chevy. The pack consists of four modules distributed throughout the car. Two are located in the rear-seat area, with two more in the trunk. This gives the Camaro a 56-percent rear weight bias, which helps create more traction off the line.

While the eCOPO Camaro is just a concept car, Chevy said it could point toward a future of electric performance cars. The Camaro’s electric motor assembly can bolt directly to almost any General Motors transmission, Chevy noted, and other drivetrain parts like the rear axle carry over from the gasoline COPO Camaro. A final decision hasn’t been made, but Chevy said it is considering selling electric motors for owners to swap into their own cars.

The Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro concept debuts at SEMA 2018 alongside the gasoline 2019 COPO Camaro and about two dozen other Chevy concept vehicles. They’ll join scores of customized show cars from both automakers and aftermarket tuners.

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