All-electric Chevy Camaro previews the future of the electric crate motor
Nodding at the past while looking into the future, Chevrolet is presenting the all-new eCOPO Camaro at the 2018 SEMA Show. Fifty years after the introduction of the original COPO (Central Office Production Order) Camaro, it takes the high-performance Camaro electric, dropping in a plug-and-play motor for more than 700 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. Destined for more than just the bright lights of Vegas, this Camaro is designed to push the envelope on the drag strip and beyond.
After partnering up with electric drag racing team Hancock and Lane Racing, Chevy began its work with the standard 2019 COPO Camaro drag car. From there, it ripped out the V8 engine and dropped in a specially prepared electric motor built from a pair of BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies. That powerful motor channels power to the standard COPO rear axle through a race-prepped "Turbo 400" transmission.
Chevy gives the motor the power and operating longevity it needs with a fast-charging 800-volt battery pack strategically split into four 175-lb (79-kg) 200-volt modules. It's carefully arranged the individual modules for optimal weight distribution, placing two in the rear seat area and two in the trunk. The resulting 56-percent rear weight bias helps the car launch more efficiently.
Chevy believes the eCOPO capable of quarter-mile times around 9 seconds, though it admits that actual performance testing is ongoing.
"The eCOPO Concept is all about where we go in the future with electrification in the high-performance space," explains Russ O'Blenes, GM director of performance variants, parts and motorsports. "The original COPO Camaro program was all about pushing the envelope, and this concept is an exploration with the very same spirit."
And that exploration isn't limited to playing around with an all-electric concept drag car. Chevy explains that the electric motor drops right into the gas COPO Camaro's engine compartment, working with the existing transmission and driveline layout. It has the same bell house mounting pattern and crankshaft flange as the popular LS-family engines, allowing it to work with virtually any GM transmission.
In other words, the 700-hp motor might just be a first look at the electric Chevy crate motor of the future.
"Chevrolet pioneered the concept of the high-performance crate engine right around the time the original COPO Camaro models were created," says O'Blenes. "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."
Chevy will continue developing and testing the eCOPO Camaro with Hancock and Lane, after showing the electric drag car alongside the 50th anniversary COPO Camaro at the 2018 SEMA Show this week.