Must watch interview for those interested in the electric Chevy Camaro eCOPO concept
1320 Video recently caught up with Russ O’Blenes, director of performance parts and motorsports at General Motors. Russ headed up the development of the all electric Chevy Camaro eCOPO concept for GM. So he is able to give an excellent overview of not only the Camaro, but the future of electric performance vehicles at GM.
Like Chevy's crate engines, the electric crate motor utilized in the Chevy Camaro eCOPO concept will be versatile. "General Motors' Crate engines have been the core of our performance line. So we wanted to say, what could we do for the next generation of crate motors? So we developed a package that is a direct replacement for a small block Chevy. (...) The flex plate bolts right on, bolts right up to a Turbo 400. Any GM transmission this bolts right up, torque converter pulls up to it."
The interviewer asks Russ about why the torque is lower on the eCOPO than might be expected. "Well it is, and part of that is the 800 volts. Because what the voltage does is it actually extends the power range. So this makes peak power at over 9,000. It makes peak torque at 1 RPM."
So is the electric crate motor going to be available to hot rodders in the near future? While Russ wouldn't commit to any time frame, it sounds like an inevitability. "I kinda think it's more of a when than an if. I think for sure this is where we're heading with electrification. This is just our (GM Performance) first foray into it. And I'll tell you, the response has just been incredible."
Russ says that the project will be moving forward after a strong reception at SEMA. But because this is an aftermarket product for modifying existing GM vehicles, there is one factor to consider that is not a concern for a purpose built EV like the Chevy Bolt EV. Things can go very wrong for an EV hobbyist or hot rodder if safety is not taken seriously.
"First off, with the response I think there will be a lot more people back home wanting to talk about it. So now it's like: okay let's get serious. How do you make something that is a really safe package that the customer can take. One of the struggles is, gasoline is dangerous but everybody has become comfortable and understood it. So really with electrification, people are just in the learning stage. So how do we manage the safety part."
This is just a small fraction of the 8 minute interview. Many additional technical details are divulged so be sure to check out the video above!
Video Description From 1320 Video
Is this GM’s response to the overwhelming EV movement that TESLA has adapted to the performance market? We knew that this was a highly intriguing development, but we weren’t expecting GM to come out plans to embrace the EV market so aggressively! Offering Electric options to their crate engine catalog is a bold move and we could not be more excited to hear that this plan appears to be gaining momentum. We can only imagine what crazy setups people would start showing up with if GM pulls through and finds a safe way to adapt electric crate engines safely into a consumer market. SEMA 2018 had lots to offer, but this was one of the most exciting developments we saw because of the huge potential it has in the future!