General Motors will begin electrifying the Chevrolet Corvette next year, GM President Mark Reuss announced Monday, confirming previous reports by TheDetroitBureau.com.
The two-seater often referred to as “America’s sports car” will go through several steps, starting with a hybridized version and then an all-electric model, the automaker indicated. While the news immediately generated buzz in automotive circles it was not unexpected, the automaker previously laying out plans to go 100% battery electric by 2035.
“We will have an electrified Corvette next year,” Reuss said during an appearance on CNBC. “It’s coming very quick.”
Separately, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra tweeted, “Electrified Corvette. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”
The Corvette, which is approaching its 70th anniversary, has gone through a number of changes in recent years. The latest version, known to aficionados as the “C8,” or eighth-generation Corvette, made the switch from a traditional front-engine to mid-engine layout.
Prepping for this moment
At the time of the sports car’s launch in 2019, several senior members of the Corvette team told TheDetroitBureau.com they had built into the program the ability to electrify the new model. At the time, they declined to say whether that meant a conventional hybrid, a plug-in version or an all-electric model.
Sources suggest the first electrified version due out next year will be some form of hybrid, spy photographers capturing what appear to be test “mules” several times during the last several years. In terms of nomenclature, it could pick up the ZR1 badge, though a new designation referencing its hybridized drivetrain could be adopted.
A 100% electric Corvette will follow, it now has become clear — though that leaves open a number of questions. For one thing: will the BEV model use the existing ‘Vette platform or share one of the new “Ultium” architectures GM is developing for the rest of the line-up.
Also unclear is how many motors would be used in an all-electric model. All but certainly, there would be a minimum of two — which would create the first-ever all-wheel-drive version of the Corvette. But GM’s Ultium system provides the ability to use three motors — as are found in the new GMC Hummer, and potentially even four.
What’s clear is the all-electric Corvette’s battery pack would be mounted below the two-seater’s load floor, helping drop what is already an extremely low center of gravity. Add to that the all-wheel-drive system and the ability to torque vector. That’s a way of shifting extra power to the outside wheels while cornering to enhance high-speed handling.
Big power and impressive performance
How much power the electric Corvette might deliver is another question. The 2023 Z06 model punches out 670 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. But that could be just the low end for an all-electric model. The GMC Hummer manages more than 1,000 hp.
What’s particularly significant about electric motors is that they deliver instant wheel-spinning torque. The most powerful versions of the Tesla Model S and the new Lucid Air are capable of launching from 0 to 60 in barely 2 seconds — a target the Corvette might aim for, one insider suggested.
Chevrolet’s decision to electrify the Corvette is not unique. Ferrari already offers the SF90 Stradale plug-in hybrid and is developing at least one all-electric model. Lamborghini plans to shift to hybrids over the next several years and has confirmed plans for at least three, possibly four, all-electric models by the end of the decade.
After a slow start, GM is in the midst of ramping up its BEV program. It is just launching the new Cadillac Lyriq and, in recent weeks, has announced plans for a number of other new models, including a Chevy Equinox EV expected to start at around $30,000. The Detroit automaker also is expanding its partnership with Japan’s Honda which will share the Ultium platform and battery technology. The alliance is expected to help both automakers drive down costs and start offering BEVs at under $30,000.