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$55,000 Kit To Build Electric Camaro Offered By GM

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Chevrolet Performance's rolling Camaro chassis - image: GM Corp

Chevrolet Performance's rolling Camaro chassis - image: GM Corp

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Home-converting a car to electric power would be so easy were it not for all those inconvenient drivetrain parts you have to remove.

It's like carmakers didn't think of what people might want to do with their cars--engine, gearbox, exhaust, filters, fuel tanks--they're all just lumps of metal getting in the way of a proper powertrain.

A new offering from GM could change that, however, as Chevrolet Performance starts to sell full Camaro rolling chassis for $55,000.

We promise this isn't an April Fool joke. Though we are being economical with the car's true purpose--the Camaro shells are actually aimed at drag racers, whose first job is often similar to that of the electric car home-builder--junking most of the standard drivetrain.

As such, reports Motor Authority, each white-painted car features an NHRA-approved roll cage and racing seats--but the rest of the car is remarkably intact, with standard production glass, headlamps, tail lights, door panels, carpeting and more.

Externally, the rolling chassis gets NHRA-approved suspension, Bogart racing wheels and Hoosier tires.

The rest is pretty much up to you. Most will fill it with a hundreds of horsepower V-8, drag racing transmissions and hit it with a funky paint scheme--but to our eyes, there's little stopping you filling all that empty space with a potent electric drivetrain.

$55,000 is quite a sum for a car with no motive power, but as Motor Authority suggests, it'd cost a lot more to buy a regular Camaro SS for $33,000 and prepare it to the same standard--not to mention the hours you'd spend stripping it down.

It also has us wishing that more companies offered rolling shells for such projects--a little cheaper hopefully, but similar in concept. Simply pick a rolling shell from your favorite carmaker, grab an off-the-shelf electric drivetrain, fix it all together and voila--your own brand-new electric anything.

What modern car would you like to convert? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Concept: Brian Henderson]

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Comments (13)
  1. Slow news day?
     
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  2. The car differs even more without sound deadening and many other details reducing weight, etc.

    It also has special racing suspension, etc parts so they can race with them and call it production since GM built 500 or more that way.

    For an EV far better is a 80's Corvette that can be found under $3k with a dead engine or transmission.

    Fact is it's a very lightweight and reasonably aero car. And once the 1,000lbs of engine, etc is removed it only weighs 2200lbs or so.

    If one uses Lithium batteries you could make a 150 mile range extremely fast EV for under $20k or a mello one for $10k using lead batteries, etc.

    It's the older 80's Camaro's that too are reasonably lightweight and easy to make great aero. Not the new one though.
     
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  3. Let me start by saying I like a good electric project like others that read this page. BUT.... mid to upper 80's corvettes are in the 3200lbs. + if you are talking early 80-81 pre body change add another 300lbs. with little room for batteries. Corvettes traditionally have a full box Steel frame. There are dozens of cars 1,000 lbs less that are better candidates. Stop chopping up good cars for electric projects use crap cars like 2300lbs honda tin cans that can be stripped down to 1900lbs. good research is to go to a racetrack stand at the scale and look at what a stripped car race weight is internet #s are always wrong.
     
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  4. You can get a Tesla for the price of ta rolling chassis...
     
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  5. Apparently, not anymore since Tesla got rid of the 40KWh version...
     
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  6. Demand a plain Jane car from manufactures as a group then. The stripped Camaro you are referring to is a terrible candidate for an electric car.Chrome molly NHRA certified cage and chassis are very costly and add significant weight to a car but it is all done for safety. This s obviously designed to be used as a NHRA Sportsman type car. Want to go Green then encourage manufacturers to stop producing new cars and encourage greener engines like GM's E rod engine line up. Double the fuel mileage of what they were replacing and up to 550 hp that passes 50 state emissions. I am all for being greener and love electric cars I encourage those who call themselves green to think before they speak because to a car guy you sound foolish.
     
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  7. well, given White zombie is getting a bit old, this kind of shell would be useful to start setting new records.
     
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  8. "What modern car would you like to convert?"

    Cadillac CTS-V sportwagon. The first thing I would do is ditch the gasoline V8 engine in it, and drop in a Duramax 6.0L V8 clean diesel, add the computer and the gauge cluster (one does not currently exist), and I would finish it all off with adding a diesel particulate filter.

    Oh what a beautiful, powerful ride that would be!
     
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  9. I would Not pick a cts-v sportwagon they are capable of mid 30mpg when driven correctly. All GM LS V8 motors are very fuel efficient when driven properly. The eurekasprings fuel economy run is a good example of that. Corvettes that achieve 35mpg with full trim.
    http://eurekaspringscorvette.org/fuel_economy_run
    Diesels are Heavy and the fuel is inconsistent from station to station unless you run Biodiesel and that is a totally different game.
    Why convert a new car? the manufacturing process is the most wasteful part of the cars existence not the fuel used. Someone should start setting up refurb. shops to remodel older cars with new efficient drivetrains and spruced up interiors can sell for half price of a new car and be warrantied.
     
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  10. "Diesels are Heavy and the fuel is inconsistent from station to station"

    Modern diesel engines often weigh the same or are even lighter than their gasoline counterparts. We are talking about 20+ years of heavy research and development that went into what is now understood as "clean diesel", while time stood still for gasoline engine technology.

    As for the fuel, since 2010 it is now a federal mandate that all diesel fuel must contain 15 PPM Sulfur maximum. That is federal law!

    "Why convert a new car?"

    Because a Duramax diesel Cadillac would be faster, more reliable, more economical, and have lower emissions than a gasoline version, that is why. Modern clean diesel engines are superior in every way to their gasoline counterparts.
     
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  11. @Annatar: While I (mostly) admire your unceasing + prolific advocacy for diesel engines, some of your statements are simply not supported by the facts.

    You say above that "time stood still for gasoline engine technology" over the last 20 years. In fact, that's rubbish.

    Gasoline direct injection, a bewildering variety of variable valve timing mechanisms, electrohydraulic valve gear, and the spread of turbocharging into low-priced volume cars are all advances in gasoline engines over the last 20 years. Some may have existed in expensive, low-volume engines before then, but none of them were built in the millions.

    One tip: Advocacy is most effective when it acknowledges verifiable facts.
     
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  12. @ William Manning - "the manufacturing process is the most wasteful part of the cars existence not the fuel used"

    That's not at all the case. The vast majority of a car's lifetime impact is in use, not manufacturing.

    That said, I'd generally agree with what you're saying anyway - better converting older, less efficient, more polluting cars to electric (or even to more modern ICE drivetrains) than it is taking something brand new and swapping engines out.
     
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  13. In fact, according to M.A. Weiss et al., in their 2000 report from the MIT Energy Laboratory, On the Road in 2020: A Lifecycle Analysis of New Automotive Technologies, 75% of a vehicle’s lifetime carbon emissions come from the fuel it burns over its lifetime, with another 19% from production of that fuel.

    Extraction of the raw materials that make up the vehicle adds another 4%, and only 2% of lifetime carbon is due to the manufacturing and assembly process. While electric cars may be slightly higher in raw materials and assembly, due to their battery pack and electric machinery, the difference in overall lifetime carbon in manufacturing electrics vs conventional cars is negligible.
     
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