The WarpFactor II Camaro. Image: Lithiumaniacs

The WarpFactor II Camaro. Image: Lithiumaniacs

Electric cars are often seen by the general public as slow and unsuitable for motorsport events like drag racing.

Ron Adamowicz is out to change that perception, and his electric-powered 1981 Chevrolet Camaro serves as a prime example of what’s possible with some ingenuity, a few electric motors and a very large battery pack.

Adamowicz, who’s president of the East Coast Electric Drag Racing Association, built the car as a way to bring electric car drag racing to the world. His WarpFactor II Camaro is already fast, as evidenced by the run in the video below--but not fast enough for Adamowicz.

His 10.08 quarter-mile time may be faster than a Bugatti Veyron, but it isn’t faster than the quickest electric drag car competing today.

That honor goes to an electric Volkswagen Beetle, known as the Black Current III, which has run the quarter mile in 9.51 seconds. It’s 1,000 pounds lighter than the WarpFactor II Camaro, but that hasn’t stopped Adamowicz from planning upgrades to his car.

New motors are being developed by supplier NetGain Motors, and they’ll produce 1,000 ft.-lb. of torque from 1 rpm to a higher top speed than their current model. The WarpFactor II Camaro runs a pair of motors, so it’s putting out an impressive 2,000 ft.-lb. of torque when Adamowicz nails the accelerator.

Feeding the motors today is a lithium polymer battery pack, made by Haiyin Technologies, that supplies a continuous 3,150 amps, with bursts up to 6,300 amps. That’s impressive, but it will soon be replaced by a battery pack that weighs 300 pounds less and offers less resistance.

By spring of 2012, Adamowicz expects to be running 7-second quarter miles in the WarpFactor II, which is evidence of how quickly battery and motor technology is advancing.

That will have a trickle-down effect on production electric cars as well, as racing always does. In many ways, Adamowicz is doing the same thing that hot-rodders have always done, embracing new technology in pursuit of higher speed and lower elapsed times.

If electric drag racing helps to promote awareness of the potential held by electric cars, we’re all for it.

[The New York Times and YouTube]


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