Hybrids & Electrics

Chevrolet Actually Sold Its 700-hp Electric Camaro

The one-of-a-kind (so far) Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro went to the auction block. 

General Motors, in a partnership with electric drag racing team Hancock and Lane Racing, developed the eCOPO Camaro for the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The annual trade-only event is all about the hottest cars and last year they unveiled eCOPO Camaro to gauge the interest of electric drag racers. Those interested had a chance to own it at the Russo and Steele Auction held August 16th in Monterey, California. The consignor was General Motors.

The performance

The eCOPO Camaro has an 800-volt electric motor under its hood putting out over 700 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. The 800-volt battery back is GM’s first. It’s composed of four 200-volt modules, two battery packs in the trunk and the other two placed where the rear seats once were. The total weight of the battery modules is around 700 lbs. The weight distribution makes the rear tires of the eCOPO Camaro more effective at the drag strip.

The electricity generated courses to a two BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies and each of those produces 300 lb-ft of torque. A traditional race-ready automatic transmission manages the engine’s torque and sends it to the massive slicks through a solid rear axle. It uses the same rear axle used by COPO Camaro race cars, eCOPO’s gas-powered siblings.

When it comes to performance, the eCOPO Camaro performs impressively. Its fastest quarter-mile was 9.51 seconds at a speed of 140 mph. It’s not as fast as the COPO Camaros which aren’t street legal and sold in limited numbers by Chevrolet each year. But it does beat the Dodge Demon within the same parameters and is street legal.

The battery pack offered a preview of next-generation power transfer to an electric motor. It also charges very quickly which might be something GM plans to bring over to its future EVs.

The safety

To ensure safety, there’s a Battery Management System that oversees critical temperatures and voltages in the pack. It’s connected to a larger system that examines all on-board electrical components to make sure everything is working as it should and that there are no red flags.

The rear batteries are closed off from the interior of the car. The roll cage has expands in the trunk space to better protect the modules in the rear. There’s also an integrated driveshaft tunnel that’s placed between the modules as another safety measure.

The auction 

The car auctioned on Friday, August 16th and the initial estimate on the eCOPO Camaro placed by Russo and Steele put it between $425,000 to $525,000. If GM donates the money raised to charity, the price may have gone higher. GM will offer support and training to the winner to help them keep the eCOPO Camaro stay in optimal running condition. 

The future?

GM has announced that it will discontinue the Chevrolet Camaro in 2023. Yet with rumors of the eCOPO Camaro possibly heading for production, is there a chance the Camaro will live on as an EV?

In the muscle car segment, the Camaro is third behind the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang so the announcement wasn’t a big surprise. Diminishing sales and the failure of the 2019 models to capture new interest got the best of it. Instead of transitioning Camaro to the Alpha 2 platform, GM decided to cut it altogether.

Or did it?

The folks over at GM Authority have heard things to suggest otherwise.  Anonymous sources within GM told GM Authority that the Camaro’s 6th generation will end in 2023. With company executives pushing hard for a lineup with four versatile chassis by 2025, the problem is the Alpha platform. It’s considered a “legacy” platform and GM will no longer be building vehicles on it.

Out of the four platforms GM wants, the platform that could host a new Camaro is the Vehicle Strategy Set – Rear Drive. But that won’t arrive until 2025. If Camaro was heading in that direction, there would be a two-year wait.

If GM doesn’t wait for 2025, they could take the Camaro in another direction entirely. Some say they might turn the Camaro into an EV and develop it on the BEV3 platform. BEV3 is allegedly GM’s new all-electric platform that’s so versatile any vehicle could develop on it. Since it shares certain characteristics with the VSS-R platform, it’s likely that it can support sports cars.

While GM Authority heard there will be a new electric sports car, there’s no word yet on whether it will be a Camaro or a different moniker. The idea of an EV Mustang didn’t go over well with Ford fans. Similar concerns may make GM rethinking converting the Camaro into an EV for its possible 7th generation.

The reaction to the eCOPO Camaro as an EV drag racer was favorable at the 2018 SEMA Show. Maybe Chevy fans are ready for an electric sports car and would be receptive to a new EV Camaro.