Two years ago, Chevrolet used SEMA to reveal the latest COPO Camaro, a factory-built drag racer packing a supercharged LSX-based 350 engine good for 580 hp. Chevrolet also offered its drag-racing Camaro with your choice of two other naturally aspirated options—a 410-hp 6.2-liter V-8 and a 470-hp 427-cubic-inch V-8. But this year, for the COPO Camaro’s 50th anniversary, Chevrolet took a different approach. This year’s concept car doesn’t have an engine at all.
That’s right. The eCOPO Camaro is still built for the drag strip, but as the name suggests, it’s fully electric. It also makes more than 700 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, and Chevrolet says it can run the quarter mile in about 9 seconds. It’s still being tested, though, so there’s no official quarter mile time for now.
In place of the conventional engine, the eCOPO Camaro uses two electric motors. Those motors send power to the car’s rear live axle through a race-prepped automatic transmission. The 32-kWh battery pack is divided into four 175-pound modules. Two are where the rear seat would be, while the second pair sits in the trunk. As a result, Chevy claims the eCOPO Camaro has a 44-56 weight bias that helps it get off the line faster.
And since it’s an 800-volt system, quick charging should offset the eCOPO’s limited range. As a Chevrolet spokesperson put it, you “don’t need a lot of energy for long-range driving when you live life a quarter mile at a time.”
And while the car is still officially a concept, Chevrolet makes it clear that there’s at least some production potential. Perhaps even in selling “crate” electric motor conversions for its cars.
“The possibilities are intriguing and suggest a whole new world for racers,” said Russ O’Blenes, GM’s head of performance variants, parts, and motorsports, in a statement. “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.”