Al Oppenheiser helped make the modern Camaro so great. Now, let's see what he can do for GM's EVs.
General Motors' next generation of electric vehicles might be a little more exciting to drive because Chevrolet Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser is moving away from the muscle car to join the automaker's team focusing on future autonomous tech and EVs. Oppenheiser's new role will be as a chief engineer concentrating on zero-emissions vehicles, and he'll start the job in January.
GM wants "some of our best talent" on this future technology team, a GM spokesperson told Car and Driver. The company was clear that Oppenheiser's wouldn't be working on an electric version of the Camaro, and his new work would have applications for multiple future vehicles.
"I thought I'd die in this role, but I'm happy to be part of the future," Oppenheiser said about leaving the Camaro team and joining the EV development crew, according to Car and Driver.
Oppenheiser became Camaro chief engineer in 2007 and led the development of the performance car's last two generations.
Mark Dickens will take over Oppenheiser's role leading the Camaro's engineering development. He's currently GM's executive director of Performance Variants, Parts, Accessories, and Motorsports Engineering.
A few details are already leaking out about GM's next generation of EVs. Two models are reportedly on the way using technology from the current Bolt. One of them is allegedly a performance vehicle that might be a crossover. We'll allegedly have to wait until 2025 for the next-gen Bolt to debut, but its underpinnings will allegedly also be for 11 other EVs from the company.
While it's not part of Oppenheiser's new duties, Chevy seems to be toying with the idea of an electric Camaro. At the 2018 SEMA Show, the Bowtie unveiled the eCOPO Camaro drag racing concept that uses a pair of BorgWarner electric motors producing a total of 738 horsepower (550 kilowatts) and 600 pound-feet (813 Newton-meters of torque), and it was allegedly able to cover the quarter mile in around nine seconds.
Source: Car and Driver