Electric Vehicles And Motorsports: How Do They Fit In?


Technology is changing at an alarming rate. It’s evolving so fast that most things you buy today are outdated tomorrow. Cell phones, TV’s and other electronic devices are getting more advanced with every model that is released. It’s a whirlwind that is impossible to keep up with.

The eCOPO Camaro Concept offers an electrified vision of drag racing, with an electric motor and GM’s first 800-volt battery pack replacing the gas engine, enabling 9-second quarter-mile times.

When a company like Chevrolet pulls Al Oppenheiser their Chief Engineer off of the popular Camaro platform to head up the zero-emission-vehicle program, we need to pay attention. Considerable changes are coming to the automotive industry. This shift is already happening in the motorsports scene.

Just a few months ago GM released the eCOPO Camaro at the SEMA show. As you can imagine, it came with a mixed bag of reviews. The eCOPO was able to manage a 9.83 1/4-mile pass at an NHRA event at 134.07 miles per hour while yanking a nice wheel stand leaving the starting line. For us, the hardest part to deal with is the lack of noise. The absence of a choppy cam, exhaust tone, and the LS banging through the gears is completely anticlimactic and not something we are ready to get behind. It’s like watching fireworks without sound. It’s cool, but missing a vital element that completes the experience.

We now have another electric Camaro in the on the motorsports world, but this time, it’s a drift car. Donut Media gives us an exclusive first look at the Napoleon Motorsports’ electric-powered Chevy Camaro EL1 Formula Drift car. According to Donut, the vehicle was not able to compete recently at the first Round of Long Beach but will be competing in Atlanta for round 2.

Napoleon Motorsports’ electric-powered Chevy Camaro EL1 Formula Drift car makes 500 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque.

At first glance, the Camaro looks like your standard drift car. Everything on the body is made of carbon fiber except for the roof. It produces an underwhelming 515 horsepower. While this number is low for most drift cars, it makes up for this deficit in the way of torque. The Camaro produces 800-plus ft-lbs of torque which is on par with the Formula Drift field. The difference is, the EL1 is capable of generating 800 lb-ft all of the time. This means that when Travis Reeder, driver of the Camaro hits the accelerator pedal, he no longer has a torque curve. Unlike the gasoline-powered competition, the torque curve is a straight line, and all of that tire shredding power is available on tap.

There’s no LS or LT engine under this hood, just some batteries encased in a metal box.

It will be interesting to see if Travis Reeder and the Napoleon Motorsports electric-powered Chevy Camaro EL1 can be competitive in Formula Drift this year. It will be even more fascinating to see what the fans think of the electrically powered machine. We are not even close to jumping on the electric vehicle bandwagon after watching these electric powered vehicles perform. We still prefer the beautiful sound of fender exit exhaust, mountainous camshafts, and all of the noises associated with boosted cars.

There is no doubt that the automotive industry is making a move toward electric vehicles. As technology becomes available, these cars will be more of a threat to the competition and gasoline-powered racecars. The big question is, how do they fit in? Is this the beginning of the end for gas cars or just another outlet for the speed-hungry? What are your thoughts? Let us know below in the comments section.


About the author

Brian Havins

A gearhead for life, Brian is obsessed with all things fast. Banging gears, turning wrenches, and praying while spraying are just a few of his favorite things.

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