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Detroit Auto Show Reveal: 2015 Buick Avenir Concept: Comments

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At the North American International Auto Show, Buick surprised us all with this stunning concept vehicle, the Buick Avenir. Avenir in French means "Coming Soon" or "In the near future", and we certainly hope so.

The Avenir is a large sedan that visually can stand with the likes of the Bentley Mulsanne or the Mercedes Benz S-class, yet it does so with entirely Buick looks. Classic visual cues like the boat-tail trunk, the sweep spear, the large waterfall grille, and the 3-port fender vents merge with more modern cues like the check mark light pipes in the front and rear light clusters, and the hockey stick design element in the front doors to bring together old and new without looking over-wrought.

2015 Buick Avenir Concept 006

Power for the Avenir comes from a next-generation 3.6 liter V6 that features cylinder deactivation mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission which sends power to all 4 wheels through a twin-clutch AWD system. The new 3.6 also features start-stop technology to power down the engine when at red lights. The driver can select multiple suspension dampening modes to his or her taste.

One element that stood out to us was the return of colors to the Buick tri-shield emblem. I asked a Buick spokesperson if this means we might see a return of the tri-color tri-shield and they were noncommittal, saying only "There are many style and design features on this car that will be seen in future Buicks."... One can hope...

Press Release on Page 2

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Buick Explores Future with Avenir Concept

New design proportion, device integration, rejuvenating interior push brand forward

DETROIT – Buick introduced the Avenir concept today in advance of the North American International Auto Show – a flagship sedan exploring progressive design with new levels of passenger well-being and technology integration.

The Avenir – French for future – is distinguished by its premium sports proportions and all-new interpretations of traditional Buick cues. It is the creation of a global team of Buick designers and sculptors who were inspired by historic Buick concepts, which pushed traditional boundaries, shaped future Buick models and influenced the entire auto industry.

“Avenir embodies Buick design, which centers on effortless beauty and presence without pretense,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design. “It demonstrates the growing international reach of Buick and offers an exciting vision of where it can go.”

The Avenir’s sculptural surfacing, expressive proportion and Buick’s signature sweep-spear bodyside visually cue an exceptional driving experience that awaits inside.

“The interior is designed with the driver and passengers’ comfort and well-being in mind,” said Welburn. “Technology is seamlessly integrated and builds on the features that have become hallmarks for today’s production models – helping drive a new generation of customers to Buick.”

Additional vehicle highlights:

  • Personal seating for four
  • Full light-emitting diode (LED) exterior lighting
  • Twenty-one-inch wheels
  • Next-generation direct-injected V-6 engine with fuel-saving Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and stop/start technology
  • Nine-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission
  • Driver-selectable suspension damping
  • Twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system
  • Next-generation Buick IntelliLink infotainment with large, 12-inch-diagonal color touch screen
  • Driver-recognition features that automatically sync infotainment preferences
  • Ionic cabin air filtration
  • Mobile device wireless charging
  • OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

A new design direction with a nod to the past

A long hood, wheels-at-the-corners stance and a sloping, rear deck that pays homage to historical models, such as the Riviera, distinguish the Avenir’s proportion.

“Simply put, Avenir is a beautiful piece of sculpture, delivered on a premium proportion that acknowledges the Buick design heritage in a very progressive way,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of design, GM International Operations. “The vehicle remains unmistakably Buick with a modern take on the traditional Buick cues such as the sweep spear and boattail. The result is a piece of artistry that is precise in its character, beautifully proportioned. It really takes your breath away.”

The most striking departure from contemporary Buick models is a new grille design that puts a new face on the brand. It features a large opening accented by a return to the three-color – red, silver and blue – Buick tri-shield insignia, accented by wing-shaped elements. The grille is flanked by bold headlamps featuring full LED lighting.

“The new grille is a modern interpretation of a design introduced on the landmark 1954 Wildcat II concept, which shattered expectations of what a Buick was supposed to be,” said Simcoe. “On the Avenir, it represents a break from convention and progressiveness in technology.”

Sculptural surfaces, taught lines, short overhangs and a broad-shouldered stance stretches 204.5 inches (5,195 mm) in length and 76 inches (1,931 mm) in width. Its reimagined sweep-spear element complements the long body lines and conveys a sense of motion, as does tapered rear-end styling.

Avenir’s sophisticated color palette, including a Crystalline exterior color and strained use of bright work accent the Avenir’s body lines and sets up the interior for a combination that takes Buick’s contemporary style to a higher level.

“It’s a sculpted design with a lot of snap in the character lines – with a classic long, low proportion,” said Simcoe. “Its length enables exceptional spaciousness inside, but just as importantly, a presence that speaks to luxury and the importance of style. In short, it’s the befitting proportion for a Buick flagship.”

A soothing environment with unprecedented integration

The Avenir’s four-place interior rewards the senses, makes managing technologies easier and enhances the feelings of personal space and well-being.

“A flowing, sculptural quality in the interior forms, deco trim, premium leather and ambient lighting, create an environment that is inviting and comfortable,” said Liz Wetzel, Buick interior design director.

Interior surfaces - inspired by nature and sea waves receding on a beach - flow seamlessly through the cabin. It is a motif featured on the seats and carried through in other trim components – even the carpet. In fact, a patterned insert for the carpet carries the motif in silk and bamboo.

“There’s an almost-three-dimensional or bas-relief effect to the design motif that adds depth and heightens the sense of place,” said Wetzel. “Layered and floating elements such as the center console enhance the perception of lightness, efficiency and dynamism.”

A color palette of light and natural tones blended with oiled and buffed wood trim, and Galvano satin-chrome accents, enhance the Avenir’s ambience.

“They’re rich, premium materials and warm colors innovatively executed to enhance the soothing effect of the interior environment,” said Wetzel.

Functionality is manifested in the Avenir’s device-integration technologies, which are designed to lift the user’s mood and make the details associated with daily life a little easier. It starts the moment the vehicle is started, synchronizing information and devices within seconds. The Avenir instantly configures gauge cluster and infotainment screen displays based on prior customization while also recognizing the user’s music preferences, calendar schedule and recently visited locations from a cellphone’s GPS. It can even pick up a podcast the user was listening to at the moment it was interrupted.

Buick’s user experience designers are also pushing the Avenir’s technologies for home integration, which would allow accessing home security cameras or the capability of turning on outside lights and closing a garage door that was inadvertently left open.

“The Avenir’s integration features build on the technologies already available or coming soon in smartphones and streamline them in a system that makes accessing and interacting with them easier,” said Wetzel.

Personal connectivity extends to rear-seat passengers, where USB ports and video screens allow occupants to plug in to their favorite media and slip into complete relaxation, arriving at their destination refreshed and rejuvenated.

“The use of color, material, form and amenities can affect a person’s mood and feeling,” said Wetzel. “The Avenir is a showcase of thoughtful and modern design with the capacity to anticipate and facilitate the personal needs of its occupants. It’s absolutely its own getaway destination.”


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Now that is a Buick.

 

This car is headed for production and what you see is about 90% from what I can see. Note it has the crush space with the high nose for over the engine and other little details not normally put into a show car.

This is also the car Mark Reuss spoke of about being a more dramatic Panamera. Also if you look back at the Holden ad that spoke of Holdens future they had a Holden version of this on the screen on the designers desk.

I see this car as a Buick, Opel and Holden it will replace the Zeta so this may be a 2018 or mid year 2017.

What I see here is a Bentley and Panamera.  I have asked for an automaker to take on the Bentley scalped styling and it looks like Buick has stepped up. Whole the A & S Cadillac is not bad this styling could age it fast.

 

I expect the greatest changes to take place to the interior as it is the most show car like as there are things that will need to be added but other than that. Wow!

Hell I was never a big fan of the big Waterfall but they have made me love this one with the Opel V in it.

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Based on the name of the concept I would be unsurprised to see a potential production model called the "Park Avenue"

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I like everything back to the C-pillar. The front fascia & lighting details are VERY nice, but a shorter rear overhang than the front is not something I would gravitate toward. I see a number of other details I would have refined differently, tho overall on the exterior I'd give it a 8.5/10.

Hope to hell Buick slots something in this tier for production.

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Stunned and happy to see what GM is still capable of with regard to the bedrock brand of the company.  This is what Buick deserves to be.

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Buick was kind of the doctor's car when GM owned 50% of the US market: elegant non-flashy luxury compared with the more excessive Cadillac... Can the two coexist, or does this show that GM really doesn't need Cadillac if they can build up the Buick brand to its former glory?

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As for the name this car deserves better than an old name. Also if you want people to know you have changed you better not rehash the past.

 

Do not count Cadillac out as they are not to where they are going. The Buick will fill the gap left by Cadillac. You need to let GM finish the whole picture before you get too judgmental.

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As for the name this car deserves better than an old name. Also if you want people to know you have changed you better not rehash the past.

 

Do not count Cadillac out as they are not to where they are going. The Buick will fill the gap left by Cadillac. You need to let GM finish the whole picture before you get too judgmental.

If this picks up the current 'value-oriented' Cadillac buyers, fine. If Cadillac fails to move upmarket enough, I see trouble ahead. No strategy is without risks, of course; just trying to point the risks out.

Edited by ZL-1

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I agree with Balthazar about the short rear end, other than that this is quite impressive.  I'd love to see this turned into a Riviera especially if the rear is allowed to grow and flow better. 

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Very impressive Buick. Love it all except for the coupe look. I like the more traditional sedan look.

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This is Lovely in so many ways! Buick needs this car STAT!! Position it above the LaCrosse on a proper RWD/AWD Platform with no less then 400HP!!

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I actually quite like it, although from the side it looks a bit like a Tesla Model S with a longer hood.  I don't like short rear decklids or a Panamera style rear end, this isn't too bad, but from behind the C-pillar I think it could be better.  They did well in front of the C-pillar, I question if there is a market for it, I think sales numbers would be like Kia K900 or Hyundai Equus.

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@ZL-1

 

That is just it Cadillac is on a mission that it can no be let to fail. Hence the investment and complete buy in by GM to give them what ever it takes to build the cars and engines of their own  they need to make it.

 

Buick will do fine in its segment and fill in very nice for where Cadillac has been. But they will not get their own engines and options as Cadillac will get. The full buy in by GM will bring things we could not imagine a year ago. Hell did you ever think they would get their own powertrains again? That is only a hint at what is coming.  

Hell few people saw this coming to Buick and wondered whey they were saved in the first place. Yet GM hid this car in plain site in the Holden add last year and Mark spoke openly about it.

The bottom line is this is not the old GM and for once the people who are not the problem within are winning control.

Edited by hyperv6

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The concept is on an amalgamation of older platforms. This exact car is a styling exercise, but one that could be built on coming platforms. Dont be surprised if certain elements of the next Lacrosse remind you of this car.

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@ZL-1

 

That is just it Cadillac is on a mission that it can no be let to fail. Hence the investment and complete buy in by GM to give them what ever it takes to build the cars and engines of their own  they need to make it.

 

Buick will do fine in its segment and fill in very nice for where Cadillac has been. But they will not get their own engines and options as Cadillac will get. The full buy in by GM will bring things we could not imagine a year ago. Hell did you ever think they would get their own powertrains again? That is only a hint at what is coming.  

Hell few people saw this coming to Buick and wondered whey they were saved in the first place. Yet GM hid this car in plain site in the Holden add last year and Mark spoke openly about it.

The bottom line is this is not the old GM and for once the people who are not the problem within are winning control.

Hope GM delivers on those promises. The talent is surely there t just needs proper Management.

 

I think this Buick car can (maybe together with a NG FWD LaCrosse) effectively replace the XTS in terms of target demographics and independenttly of the wheels driven being front or rear. Maybe even go a little beyond what the XTS offers to 'soft' luxury buyers today.

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I actually quite like it, although from the side it looks a bit like a Tesla Model S with a longer hood.  I don't like short rear decklids or a Panamera style rear end, this isn't too bad, but from behind the C-pillar I think it could be better.  They did well in front of the C-pillar, I question if there is a market for it, I think sales numbers would be like Kia K900 or Hyundai Equus.

This is just like all the coupe style MB auto's with short deck lids. You should love it no matter what since they praise MB by building a coupe short deck auto.

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This car is intended for the Omega and on one web site they posted GM info on the use of Aluminum in the construction and that is would share its construction with the CT6. The only unanswered questions was would it also carry the aluminum exterior panels as the CT6.

 

If you note the body on this car is very producible and even the nose incorporates the needed height to meet the engine to hood crush space. If this were only as show car that would have never been put in.

 

I expect this car with in two years with only the major changes coming to the interior . No 12" Video screens in the seats etc.

 

Z GM has always had the talent just not the system that enabled them. Lutz opened that door when he was her and today Mark and Mary both are continuing to keep those doors open and opening more.

Now if they can just finish off the infighting of those who remain that want to return to the old ways. That faction is getting smaller and weaker as GM has been succeeding with new product. The fight over Cadillac's path has been the most difficult but with their move to set them apart this will remove the fight in the other side. This is what NYC is all about for Cadillac. It keeps the enemies from within farther away.

The Buick here and new Lacrosse will not replace the XTS. These cars will suppress anything the XTS would have ever accomplished.

 

The real need right now is a good solid Marketing Plan for all the division. They have some great product out there and coming that people need to know about. Right now Cadillac Marketing is piss poor and Buick is only a little better but needs to be built on to move them forward.

 

Also I had an Aussie say they are getting word of an Holden RWD V8 coupe any one have news on this. I am not surprise to hear this but would like detail.

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The Avenir looks more like the Model S or almost Panamera shape at the back. I like the car overall but would prefer more trunk. The CLS I think looks good, but my favorite Mercedes designs have always been E and S class which are more 3 box design.

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Panamera is distinctly dowdy in appearance, it cannot get past the 'limo builder' look of an obviously stretched 911. In other words; it's a terrible adaptation- the tiny front & rear clips of a sports car tacked onto a fat sedan body. It has no fluidity. A LaCrosse looks more cohesive and frankly, more upscale. Panamera is not remotely a stylistic comparison. Avenir is galaxies above the Panamera.

 

CLS is a very sleek design- that should have been the s-class all along but the roofline gives 3" less headroom front & rear than the S, and that's crucial for livery service.

 

I'm reading comments attributed to GM folk that the Avenir is NOT intended for production, which is borderline criminal, of course. We'll see.
But the production changes are of some concern. Avenir is wearing 21" rims - that's not going to happen. The concept LaCrosse GL wore 20s but largest you can get on the current car are 18s. The way the Avenir sits is a huge piece of it's visual impact- if a production car only gets 18s, a lot of wind is going to slip out of its sails. I'm not expecting to see this built at 85% of the concept.

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The car is stunning.  I drove it in my dreams and it rides beautifully.  I have shown it to a few people and "wow that is simply beautiful" was the common reaction.

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      Such a vehicle has the potential to revolutionize parcel delivery. Between 2005 and 2015, the global number of parcels delivered grew by 128 percent, due in large part to the revolution in e-commerce and home delivery. In the U.S., delivery trucks account for 7 percent of urban traffic and 17 percent of congestion costs due to wasted hours and fuel. The use of autonomous electric delivery vans has the potential to lower the CO2 footprint of these vehicles, lower operating costs to delivery services (and thus, potentially, to customers), and make the whole process more efficient.
      As the newest member of the I.D. Family—a new generation of fully-connected electric vehicles—CARGO features long range driving capability. Depending on the size of the battery pack, CARGO can achieve ranges between about 200 and 340 miles on the WLTP cycle. If the vehicle covers fairly normal distances in the city on a daily and weekly basis, a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 48 kWh is recommended. If greater range is needed, the energy capacity can be increased up to 111 kWh.
      Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has combined the battery in the I.D. BUZZ CARGO with a 201-horsepower (150 kW) electric motor, a single-speed transmission, and rear-wheel drive. However, an all-wheel drive system, like the one implemented in the I.D. BUZZ, is possible in the future simply by adding a motor at the front of the vehicle. The flow of high-voltage energy between the motor and the battery is controlled by the power electronics. Direct current (DC) stored in the battery is converted into alternating current (AC). A DC/DC converter supplies the on-board electronics with 12 volts. The vehicle’s top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph.
      The 111kWh battery in the CARGO can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes with a 150 kW DC fastcharger. The battery system has also been prepared for inductive charging. To charge, the van is positioned over a charging platewhile parking. As soon as the control unit of the charging plate in the pavement has set up a communications channel with the vehicle, contactless energy can be transferred through an electromagnetic field generated between two coils (one in the floor of the parking space and one in the vehicle).
      Exterior 
      The design of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is defined by the interplay of familiar elements of the original Transporter’s DNAwith futuristic elements. The front end, in particular, with a characteristic "V" and a typically friendly "face" clearly reflects the old car, yetis a completely new interpretation. Instead of the round headlights of the original model, the CARGO has interactive LED systems which not only illuminate the road, but also communicate interactively with pedestrians. Another defining feature of the design is the short front overhang. The transporter is 198.7 in long, 77.8 in wide and 77.3 in tall, with a wheelbase of 129.9 inches. Since the rear overhang was extended by about 4 inches, the cargo version of the I.D. BUZZ is significantly longer than the vehicle shown in Detroit. The CARGO concept has a payload (maximum load) of 1,760 pounds.
      Outside, the CARGO concept is differentiated from the I.D. BUZZ by a new solar roof, wide-opening rear doors and a new rear bumper. The solar roof features a photovoltaic system that generates so much energy that it is able to extend the range of the vehicle by up to 9.3 miles a day. With a view towards optimizing cargo space via a shelving system, there is no sliding door on the driver’s side, typical of LCVs. The front doors and sliding door open electrically. Unlocking the vehicle from the outside is activated via a sensor. The CARGO recognizes authorized persons via a digital key which is sent to the van from a smartphone. Instead of the 22-inch wheels of the Detroit concept vehicle, new 20-inch wheels are used with 235/55 tires.
      The I.D. BUZZ CARGO shown in Los Angeles has been reimagined from the version first shown in Hannover earlier this year. As a support vehicle for the I.D. R Pikes Peak record holder, its livery mimics the R’s colors and the design includes the course map for the prestigious race.
      Interior 
      Like all members of the I.D. Family, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is characterized by an exceptionally large interior, thanks to the packaging advantages brought by the MEB architecture. The battery is integrated into the vehicle floor, lowering the vehicle's center of gravity and improving handling significantly. The transporter's axles have been shifted outwards, because no space is required for a combustion engine at the front, and the compact electric motor is mounted on the rear axle, creating up to 7 cubic feet of extra space in the front of the vehicle.
      The interior has been tailored for commercial use, down to the smallest detail. Instead of two single seats in the front, the concept vehicle is equipped with a driver's seat and a double bench-seat on the front passenger side. The middle seat can be folded down to open up a workspacewhere the driver can use an integrated laptop. In the automated "I.D. Pilot" mode,this can even be done on the move. The driver activates the autonomous mode by simply pushing on the steering wheel for a few seconds, which then retracts into the instrument panel. Then the driver's seat can be turned 15 degrees to the right, enabling the on-board computer to be operated from the ideal ergonomic position.
      In driving mode, the main controls are located on the steering wheel and key information is projected in 3D via an Augmented Reality (AR) head-up display. Rear view mirrors become a thing of the past, with cameras projecting images onto small screens in the cab, and other information such as infotainment and climate control functions is displayed on a tablet.
      The cargo compartment begins behind the first seat row and a bulkhead. In cooperation with the German equipment specialist Sortimo, a shelving system with sensors has been developed for the cargo area. This shelving system is connected to the vehicle via a customer-specific function control unit and a CAN interface. The data is transferred by WLAN to tablets in the cargo space and cockpit. By means of a mobile radio network, the functional control unit might communicate with a company’s job or order-management system, theoretically making it possible to track all articles on the shelves. This enables precise online management of the type and quantity of freight and equipment in this futuristic Transporter. Further data is provided by the ConnectedVan fleet management system. In its LA role as a support vehicle for the I.D. R Pikes Peak, the vehicle is outfitted with a workbench and parts for the I.D. R.
      During autonomous driving it is possible to accept, schedule, and process orders from the driver's workplace. Thanks to the connected shelving system's data it is also possible to perform order-related stock checks while on the move. It is also possible to perform optimum, flexible route planning,taking customer appointments into account. Thanks to the Safety Check function, any unsecured tools or missing parts are indicated before the start of the journey. Any components taken out get automatically registered, working times recorded and invoices issued. An 8.6-square-footlight integrated in the roof makes access to the items even easier and quicker.
      Driving up to loading ramps is made easier by the wide-opening, symmetrical rear doors. When they are opened, a workbench can be folded out. Even high-performance work tools can be supplied with power there from 230V electrical sockets (16A) via the battery. This has been implemented to ensure that the I.D.BUZZ CARGO is not just a means of transportation, but also a standalone mobile workshop.
    • By William Maley
      It would be safe to assume that not many people thought the Jaguar F-Type could make for a rally car. But the British automaker decided to give a shot.
      Jaguar built two F-Type rally car prototypes to honor the 70th anniversary of the Jaguar XK 120, a sports car that won a number of rallies in its time. They are much more than a convertible with extra lights and off-road tires. Jaguar installed a set of hand-built competition suspension components that can take the abuse of a rally stage; limited-slip differential, hydraulic handbrake, larger brakes, and an FIA-certified roll cage. One area Jaguar hasn't messed with is the engine. Both vehicles use the base turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 296 horsepower.
      Jaguar is planning to bring both of the models out to various events in the coming months. 
      Gallery: Jaguar F-Type Rally Car
       

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    • By William Maley
      It would be safe to assume that not many people thought the Jaguar F-Type could make for a rally car. But the British automaker decided to give a shot.
      Jaguar built two F-Type rally car prototypes to honor the 70th anniversary of the Jaguar XK 120, a sports car that won a number of rallies in its time. They are much more than a convertible with extra lights and off-road tires. Jaguar installed a set of hand-built competition suspension components that can take the abuse of a rally stage; limited-slip differential, hydraulic handbrake, larger brakes, and an FIA-certified roll cage. One area Jaguar hasn't messed with is the engine. Both vehicles use the base turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 296 horsepower.
      Jaguar is planning to bring both of the models out to various events in the coming months. 
      Gallery: Jaguar F-Type Rally Car
       
    • By William Maley
      How do you celebrate 50 years since the introduction of the original COPO Chevrolet Camaro drag car? If you're Chevrolet, you unveil a concept COPO Camaro with an electric powertrain.
      Today at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Chevrolet introduced the eCOPO Camaro Concept. Developed with pioneering electric drag racing team Hancock and Lane Racing, the eCOPO uses an electric motor providing 700 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. Chevrolet estimates that the eCOPO can do the quarter-mile in nine seconds.
      Beginning with a standard COPO Camaro, the V8 engine is swapped for an electric motor assembly comprised of two BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motors. This teamed with a Turbo 400 automatic transmission. In the trunk resides an all-new 800-volt battery pack that allows for "a more efficient power transfer to the electric motor and supports faster recharging." The battery pack is arranged in such a way to allow for a 44/56 front-to-rear weight ratio.
      What makes the eCOPO concept unique is the electric motor "has the same bell house mounting pattern and crankshaft flange" as Chevrolet's LS family of engines. This means you could swap the standard V8 engine for an electric powertrain without having to change other driveshaft components. 
      “The possibilities are intriguing and suggest a whole new world for racers. Chevrolet pioneered the concept of the high-performance crate engine right around the time the original COPO Camaro models were created, and the eCOPO project points to a future that could include electric crate motors for racing, or even your street rod. We’re not there yet, but it’s something we’re exploring,” said Russ O’Blenes, director, Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports at General Motors.
      H/T to @67impss for letting us know about the eCOPO
      Gallery: Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro Concept
      Source: Chevrolet
      eCOPO Camaro Race Car Concept Electrifies Drag Racing
      LAS VEGAS — Fifty years after the original COPO Camaro special order performance models were introduced, Chevrolet’s eCOPO Camaro Concept demonstrates an electrified vision for drag racing.
      Developed by General Motors and built in partnership with the pioneering electric drag racing team Hancock and Lane Racing, the concept race car — based on the 2019 COPO Camaro — is entirely electric powered, driven by an electric motor providing the equivalent of more than 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque.
      Chevrolet estimates quarter-mile times in the 9-second range. Testing is ongoing.
      “The eCOPO Concept is all about where we go in the future with electrification in the high performance space,” said Russ O’Blenes, director, Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports at General Motors. “The original COPO Camaro program was all about pushing the envelope, and this concept is an exploration with the very same spirit.”
      Chevrolet partnered with Hancock and Lane Racing not only because of the team’s success in NHRA drag racing, but also its involvement with Patrick McCue, the driving force behind the record-holding “Shock and Awe” electric drag racing car, and his Seattle-area Bothell High School automotive technology program. With the racing team’s assistance, more than a dozen students participated in the development and assembly of the electrified drag car.
      “This project exemplifies Chevrolet and General Motors’ commitment to engaging young minds in STEM education,” said O’Blenes. “It also represents our goal of a world with zero emissions, with the next generation of engineers and scientists who will help us get there.”   
      800 volts
      Just as the original 1969 COPO Camaro models relied on creative engineering to make them successful in Stock Eliminator drag racing, the eCOPO breaks new ground with its unique motor and GM’s first 800-volt battery back.
      The electric motor is based on a pair of BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies, each generating 300 lb-ft of torque, and replaces the gas engine. It is connected to a conventional  racing-prepared “Turbo 400” automatic transmission that channels the motor’s torque to the same solid rear axle used in the production COPO Camaro race cars.
      The all-new 800-volt battery pack enables a more efficient power transfer to the electric motor and supports faster recharging, which is important for the limited time between elimination rounds in drag racing.
      “Eight hundred volts is more than twice the voltage of the battery packs in the production Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV, so the eCOPO pushes into new technological territory,” says O’Blenes. “As GM advances its electrification leadership, a big step might just come from the drag strip.”
      The battery pack is composed of four 200-volt modules, each weighing approximately 175 pounds, mounted strategically in the car for optimal weight distribution. Two are located in the rear seat area and the other two are in the trunk: one in the spare tire well and the other in the area over the rear axle.
      A full Battery Management System monitors all critical voltages and temperatures within the pack. It ties into a comprehensive safety system that continuously evaluates all vehicle electrical components for proper function and safe operation. The batteries in the rear compartment are sealed off from the interior and an integrated driveshaft tunnel has been added between the modules for increased protection. Additionally, the roll cage in the trunk area has been expanded to provide additional protection for the rear-mounted modules.
      With the modules’ strategic positions, the eCOPO Camaro has greater than a 56 percent rear-weight bias, which helps launch the car more efficiently.
      Electric crate motors
      The eCOPO Camaro Concept expands Chevrolet and General Motors’ electrification development and supports future product development. It also suggests a potential new avenue for Chevrolet’s crate engine and performance parts portfolio.
      The eCOPO Camaro’s electric motor has the same bell house mounting pattern and crankshaft flange as the popular LS-family engines in Chevrolet’s crate engine portfolio. That allows it to bolt up to just about any General Motors transmission. In fact, the transmission, driveshaft and other drivetrain components remain in the same locations as in a gasoline-powered COPO Camaro race car, meaning the electric motor simply bolts into the engine compartment in place of the gas engine.  
      “The possibilities are intriguing and suggest a whole new world for racers,” said O’Blenes. “Chevrolet pioneered the concept of the high-performance crate engine right around the time the original COPO Camaro models were created, and the eCOPO project points to a future that could include electric crate motors for racing, or even your street rod. We’re not there yet, but it’s something we’re exploring.”
      In the meantime, Chevrolet and Hancock and Lane Racing will continue to develop the eCOPO Camaro and test it on the drag strip, seeking quicker elapsed times with all-new technology.
      The eCOPO Concept, shown in Electric Blue, joins the 50th anniversary 2019 COPO Camaro production race car and approximately two dozen additional Chevrolet concepts and show vehicles at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas through Nov. 2.

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