If the Chevrolet Camaro’s lovely-sounding V8 motor doesn’t do it for you, and you’re the kind of person who really just wants ridiculous but silent acceleration, then behold the eCOPO Chevrolet Camaro. Shown off at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, it’s a 700 horsepower fully-electric powerhouse that can turn drag strips into pools of melted rubber.
That is, according to Chevrolet, who estimates that the thing will run the quarter mile in the “9-second range,” though testing is apparently ongoing. This is thanks to a 700 horsepower, 600 lb-ft unique electric motor that is “based on a pair of BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies,” which each make 300 lb-ft of torque. I couldn’t find the data sheet on that exact motor, but here’s a look at another 250-series BorgWarner motor:
That unique motor simply takes the place of the gas engine, and—thanks to a bell housing bolt pattern and shaft flange that’s the same as that of GM’s LS-family engines—it mates right up to what Chevy calls a “conventional racing-prepared ‘Turbo 400' automatic” and then to a solid rear axle.
Feeding that motor juice is an 800 volt battery pack made up of four 200-volt modules, each of which weighs in at 175 pounds. Two of those modules are in the rear seat area, while the others are in the trunk, with one of the latter in the spare tire well and the other just above the rear axle. This setup yields a 56 percent rear weight bias, which Chevy says helps the car launch.
The company also mentions safety in its press release, saying there’s a “full Battery Management System” keeping track of all the battery voltages and temperatures, and that the batteries in the back of the car are sealed from the interior and protected by a roll cage and an “integrated driveshaft tunnel.”
GM developed the eCOPO Camaro with the help of the electric drag racing team Hancock and Lane Racing, using the 2019 COPO Camaro—a purpose-built drag car that you can buy from Chevy—as the basis.
And in case you’re wondering what this “COPO” thing means, it stands for “Central Office Production Order,” and it all started in 1969 when a Chevy dealer from Illinois decided to use Chevy’s special order program to build a Camaro with specs that Chevy didn’t offer from the factory. This dealer’s name was Fred Gibb, and his aim was to make the ultimate drag car for NHRA’s Stock Eliminator class.
The eCOPO isn’t a production car, but there’s a chance that it may lead to crate electric motors from GM, with the company writing:
“...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.”
OEM engine-to-electric motor conversion kits? I’m intrigued.