You see that? That’s the electric future of drag racing. Chevrolet already has the Volt and the Bolt out in the consumer market and is now teasing a performance model promising a 9-second quarter mile – well within Dominic Torreto’s seminal specification. Sema 2018 was, as Semas before, dominated by all things loud (visual and aural) and powerful. And while Dodge is obsessed with improving the Challenger SRT Wildcat to the point where it can demolish a Tesla across 400m, GM is taking on the strip dominating e-cars at their own game.
Camaro eCOPO is a 522kW, 813N.m demon egged on by an 800V battery array that is geared towards getting kids interested in STEM education. Well, at least that’s what the press release says. I fully embrace this marketing approach. The only reason I found an interest in engineering was through automobiles and space rockets and I want my kids to experience the same excitement.
The unique electric motor is based on two BorgWarner HVH 250-150 – already a custom job – motors and the massive battery pack (equivalent to two Bolts) is split into four 200V units and strategically placed towards the rear of the car (under the rear seats, in the spare wheel well, and over the rear axle) for optimal drag weight distribution. Power is sent through a race-tuned Turbo 400 automatic transmission. It’s a standard transmission because Chevrolet adapted its signature “Crate Engine” design to an electric configuration. Crate motors can be dropped directly into almost any compatible powertrain, which is great if you blow your race car engine.
Using that motor design already cuts out a ton of drivetrain assembly R&D and brings the car one step closer to production viability. There’s a lot the European automotive giants can learn from this approach. Instead of bringing actual working models in the EQ range to South Africa, Mercedes-Benz held a swanky cocktail event with some flashing lights insight concept shells to launch the electric brand in the country. The Design Indaba-built art installation will be at the Silo District in Cape Town (Zeitz Mocca) until next year and you can see a visual representation of a distant future where electric mobility is the norm.
I just wish they’d drop a powerful electric motor inside a GT, do a few burnouts and call it a day until the production model comes out. Or imagine a fast electric Audi TT RS exhibition car? I only give Merc a hard time because I expect more from them, and the last time the company tried to sell me on the future of mobility (with an equally long-winded marketing campaign, mind you) it delivered a half-baked voice assistant. “Hey Mercedes, get your act together!”