The World's First Electric Muscle Cars Are Epic

Car Culture / 19 Comments

If the future is electric, at least it will feature insane amounts of power.

Depending on who you ask, the first muscle car was either the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, the Pontiac GTO, or the Chrysler C-300. If you believe it was the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, then that makes the muscle car just over 70 years old. That's 70 years of gas gulping V8 power, but it can't last forever. Initially, it looked like smaller capacity forced induction engines, and legislation, was going to pummel the V8 out of existence, but now electric power is threatening to make the V8 redundant. Muscle cars are about torque, and electric motors don't just provide a tremendous amount of twisting power, they also produce it instantly and in a linear fashion rather than the engine having to get moving before it produces peak torque.

Amongst the reasons the V8 has become the muscle car engine of choice is it sits in the sweet spot of size and affordability. Electric power is still expensive, and it's going to be a while before an electric drivetrain and an internal combustion drivetrain are comparable in price. We've seen glimpses into the possible future of electric muscle cars, but those who are dreading it will be pleased to find this isn't a long list.


eCOPO Camaro Concept

When Chevrolet showed off its electric drag racer in partnership with Hancock and Lane Racing in 2018, there were two kinds of shivers going down racing enthusiasts' spines. Some were disgusted at the idea of an electric Chevrolet Camaro, let alone a drag racing model. Some found their spines tingling at the thought of a pair of BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies each generating 300 lb-ft of glorious and instant torque. The motors are supplied their power by an 800-volt battery pack made up of four 200-volt modules weighing about 175 pounds each. The system has even been designed to bolt to almost any General Motors transmission with the possibility of being sold separately.

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1969 Chevy Camaro EV

To show off its new way of cooling batteries, Taiwanese company Xing converted a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro into a fully electric vehicle. As well as a trick liquid cooling system, the battery system is designed so the pack can be built in different configurations by locking modular pieces together, much like children's building bricks. Xing also made a transmission adaptor so the kit can fit with any GM LS series transmission. The single motor develops 320 hp, which isn't a mind-bending number, but, as a proof of concept, it could turn out to be an important one later.

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Zombie 222

Blood Shed Motors exists to convert classic cars into electric-powered cars, or, as the company's tagline has it: "Convert your hotrod into a lightning rod." The Zombie 222 package is fearsome, and in Mitch Medford's rolling advertisement for the company, a lightning rod is right. The 1968 Ford Mustang uses dual motors to make over 800 hp and a mind-melting 1,800 lb-ft of torque. It has also been recorded hitting 0-60 mph in a phenomenal time of 1.79 seconds before clearing the quarter-mile in 9.89 seconds at 141 mph. So far, its one-mile top speed has been 177.8 mph, which is still insane for a car with 1960s aerodynamics.

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1962 Chevy E-10 Electric Truck

Following up on the eCOPO Camaro Concept, Chevy brought a slammed and smoothed out E-10 truck to SEMA last year to show off its "eCrate" electric drive system. It's not a car, but as far as muscle trucks go, Chevy created a zinger. Two 400-volt batteries are mounted in the bed under the hard tonneau cover, and the pair of Chevrolet Performance concept electric motors have their power distributed to the rear wheels by a SuperMatic 4L75-E automatic transmission. Chevy says the truck makes 450 hp and will complete the quarter-mile in the 13-second bracket after getting to 60 mph in around five seconds. For some reason, the electric E-10 is also fitted with a "sound emulator" to mimic an LS7 V8 gas engine in different states of tune.

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Mustang Lithium

The most powerful Mustang that Ford has built is an electric one, but there is only one. Ford revealed the prototype car last year to show people what electric power could do for performance. In this case, an 800-volt battery pack lights up a Phi-Power dual-core electric motor and dual power inverters to make 1,000 ft-lb of torque and more than 900 hp before an eye can blink. Just as insanely, the Mustang Lithium also features a manual transmission. It's a Calimer-version of the Getrag MT82 6-speed transmission, which will mean something to drag racers, but with stronger internals added. Also part of the drivetrain is Ford Performance half shafts and a Super 8.8 Torsen differential to help get the obscene amount of power down to the tarmac.

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Charge Cars Mustang

Old Ford Mustangs are prime fodder for electric conversions, and this one comes via a UK based company called Charge Cars. However, the company doesn't take a classic and modify it but instead uses officially licensed, modern 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback shells. Underneath, a pair of electric motors drive all four wheels and create a total of 536 hp and 885 lb-ft of torque via a 64 kWh battery pack. Charge Cars claims the electric Mustang can hit 62 mph in under four seconds, and will only be building 499. Each comes with a price tag of $365,685.

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