Chevrolet’s groundbreaking and oft-maligned eCOPO Camaro, a fully electric-powered racing machine which was revealed to the world at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas last November, was showcased for the first time in front of thousands of drag racing fans at the NHRA’s Lucas Oil Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, this weekend with a series of exhibition run that, at least for the moment, seemed to sway its mixed reviews in a positive favor.
Purely a concept vehicle upon its unveiling, the eCOPO Camaro is the result of a partnership between Chevrolet Performance and pioneering electric drag racing team Hancock & Lane. Based on the 2019 COPO Camaro, it is entirely electric-powered, motivated by a pair of BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies, each generating 300 lb-ft of torque, replacing the gas engine. The motors are powered by GM’s first 800-volt battery pack. All told, the motors deliver the equivalent of more than 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque.
Chevrolet estimated 1/4-mile performance potential in the 9-second range, and they were proven correct at Pomona.
With Patrick McCue — who was behind the record-holding “Shock and Awe” electric drag racing car, and his Seattle-area Bothell High School automotive technology program — at the controls, the eCOPO, posted a 10.02-second, 133.39 mph effort on Friday, setting the stage for a trip into the nines. On Saturday afternoon, with the front wheels in the air and the crowd audibly willing the quietest racing machine in the property along, the eCOPO dropped an impressive 9.837 at 134.07 mph.
The four battery packs, weighing 175 pounds apiece, are mounted near the back of the car for traction, giving it a very Stock Eliminator-like attitude from the very released of the transbrake.
“The eCOPO Concept is all about where we go in the future with electrification in the high performance space,” noted Russ O’Blenes, director, Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports at General Motors during its SEMA unveileing. “The original COPO Camaro program was all about pushing the envelope, and this concept is an exploration with the very same spirit.
“Eight hundred volts is more than twice the voltage of the battery packs in the production Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV, so the eCOPO pushes into new technological territory,” adds O’Blenes. “As GM advances its electrification leadership, a big step might just come from the drag strip.”