50th anniversary drag cars honor the past, preview the future.

Electric Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro only burns rubber

Chevrolet is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its legendary COPO Camaro special with an electric drag car that points the way toward a battery-powered future.

The eCOPO Camaro concept has had its V8 engine traded for a twin electric motor pack that generates 700 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.

Chevy says the eCOPO can do the quarter-mile in under 10 seconds, which is lightning quick. Unlike many electric cars that use direct drive, this one is a true swap with the motors installed under the hood and connected to the COPO’s three-speed automatic transmission.

Four battery packs weighing 175 pounds each are mounted near the back of the rear-wheel-drive car to give it better traction off the line and use next-gen 800-volt technology, twice what today’s electric cars use, for quicker charging and discharging.

Although GM is planning to offer 20 electric cars by 2023, it isn't putting the eCOPO on sale, but hints that a crate electric motor kit like it has could be offered in the coming years.

The NHRA praised the project, saying it “has been discussing and exploring how electric cars are evolving to determine how they will shape the future of drag racing. The new COPO Camaro is an exciting development in that process.”

The 2019 COPO Camaro’s available 50th Anniversary Special Edition package marks a half-century of special-order high-performance from Chevrolet.

The 2019 COPO Camaro’s available 50th Anniversary Special Edition package marks a half-century of special-order high-performance from Chevrolet.

In the meantime, Chevy is offering a new conventional COPO Camaro for 2019. It’ll build 69 of them, just like it did in 1969, and is offering the street-illegal racers with a choice of three V8s that include a naturally-aspirated 302 small block, a 350 with a Magnuson supercharger and a 427 dressed in a vintage appearance package with orange engine block, chrome valve covers and a black intake manifold.

The 1969 COPO Camaro was a special-order performer. Only 69 were built with the all-aluminum ZL1 427 Big Block engine.

The 1969 COPO Camaro was a special-order performer. Only 69 were built with the all-aluminum ZL1 427 Big Block engine.

Exact pricing hasn’t been announced, but COPOs typically run in the $90-$100,000 range and all of the 2019 cars will be painted Anniversary Blue Metallic, which pays homage to the Laguna Blue originals.

This story has been updated to clarify the battery pack rating.