During the 2018 SEMA Show’s Monday evening awards ceremony, Chevrolet Performance unveiled the eCOPO Camaro Concept, an electrified version of the purpose-built COPO Camaro drag racer. The eCOPO was developed in a partnership with Hancock and Lane Racing and Patrick McCue, who is involved with both an electric drag racing team in the Seattle area and the Bothell High School’s Automotive Technology program. Because of this affiliation, several high school students participated in the build.
“The eCOPO Concept is all about where we go in the future with electrification in the high performance space,” said Russ O’Blenes, director, Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports at General Motors. He continued, “This project exemplifies Chevrolet and General Motors’ commitment to engaging young minds in STEM education.”
The eCOPO is powered by a pair of Borg Warner HVH 250 – 150 electric motors, each of which generates 300 lb-ft of torque. The unit bolts in place of the COPO’s LS-based engine, sending power through the TH400 transmission and 9-inch rear axle. With 600 lb-ft of torque and 800 volts of battery power of power on tap, early testing of this prototype at Las Vegas Motor Speedway saw elapsed times solidly in the 9 – second range with trap speeds of more than 130 mph.
Battery power comes from four 200-volt modules that can be positioned around the car for optimal weight transfer on the starting line. Chevrolet officials state a 56-percent rear weight bias is possible, which helps launch the car more efficiently.
Because the electric motor module can bolt in place of the gasoline engine, Chevrolet officials state that future plans could include electric crate motors that could power a race car or street rod. “We’re not there yet, but it’s something we’re exploring,” says O’Blenes.
The eCOPO was preceded on stage by a 2019 COPO Camaro powered by a 427-inch LS engine. As it rolled off the stage, the Electric Blue eCOPO ascended behind it in an eerie silence. The eCOPO Camaro is one of more than a dozen concept and specialty vehicles that will be on display at the SEMA Show through November 2.
Other featured speakers at tonight’s ceremony, which was hosted by V8 Speed & Resto’s Kevin Oeste, included Dave Kindig, who presented his LT4-powered 1962 Corvette, and Leah Pritchett, who’s Top Fuel Dragster was present.