The news of an “electrified” AWD Corvette ricocheted around the world recently and as predicted, the headlines garnered mixed reactions. As usual, the folks that hated the C6’s exposed headlights and the C7’s square taillights were horrified and vowed they would never, ever buy an electric Corvette.
Electric car zealots, with a fresh dollop of Elon Musk’s dung on the end of their noses, collectively arched their backs and yawned. C8 owners, many new to the brand and under 100 years old, seemed very open to the idea of a hybrid Corvette. Especially if it results in a faster and more efficient car. The electrified Corvette “E-Ray” should debut in 2023, probably as a 2024 model.
Whatever your position is on this Corvette news, Street Muscle is going to break down this event and what it really means for Corvette and the future of General Motors. Are you ready?
This Is Not A Pure Electric Corvette
This will be an ICE (Internal combustion engine) Corvette with either one or two electric motors taking up residence in the frunk and driving the front wheels. It will be the first AWD ‘Vette in history and for us, that’s bigger news that the electrification of the existing C8. It’s been rumored that the electric motors, combined with the LT2 V8 engine, could deliver north of 700 horsepower. More if Chevy offers the Z06’s 5.5L flat-plane crank motor with E-Ray as well. So what we have here folks is a gas-powered Corvette with electronic assistance at the front wheels, not an all-electric Corvette.
The C8 Will Never Be Pure Electric
Chevrolet hit a grand slam home run with the C8. It has dwarfed sales expectations, brought a much younger demographic to Corvette, and is arguably the crown jewel of General Motors.
It is also as obsolete as a Model T.
Hear me out. The C8’s mid-engine design creates a myriad of packaging problems accommodating that big lump of V8 behind the driver. The cab-forward design, bulkhead behind the seats, and two smaller storage compartments (as opposed to a single large one,) are all debits. Although the C8 dwarfs its predecessor in performance, the C7 is arguably much easier to live with as a daily driver.
If that weren’t enough, there are plumbing issues to accommodate as well. An elaborate exhaust system, catalytic converters, DCT, and multiple radiators. This means the C8 has too much ICE design “scar tissue” to ever be a pure electric car. This video from John McElroy over at Autoline Detroit is a must-see if you want a snapshot of the term “scar tissue,” a glimpse at what’s happening behind the scenes in the auto industry, and why GM is leading the pack.
The C8 Will Be A “One And Done” Mid-Engine Model
According to my sources, GM would like to get up to seven years out of the C8 platform. It’s approaching its fourth model year, so time is of the essence. Then, like most future GM products, it will switch to an all-electric, clean-sheet design based on GM’s Ultium platform. So if you have petrol in your veins, you still have a few years to get the best ICE Corvette ever built.
If You Hate The Look Of the C8, Here’s Some Good News.
Without having to locate a bulky, V8 engine and DCT, all the fussiness of a mid-engine design becomes unnecessary. The C9 will have a battery pack mounted low in the chassis, maybe even as a structural member, and a combination of up to four electric motors mounted at the car’s “axles.” It will have a 50/50 weight distribution, and an exponential leap in performance, taking Corvette into uncharted territory. A pure electric Corvette might weigh 5000lbs, but if a 9000lbs Ultium Hummer can do 0-60 in three seconds, well you get the idea.
Again, while this may be a doomsday event for diehard fans, there is a silver lining. Ditching the unforgiving blueprint of the mid-engine design will bring back a more traditional look for Corvette. We predict a return to the “long hood, short deck” proportions that have bewitched fans for years.
The C9 Will Be The Best ‘Vette Yet
I know, I know, sacrilege you say! I hate to break it to you, but like darkness after dusk, the electrification of the automobile is coming and there is no way to stop it. Here’s why all of this is good news. Think of a new Corvette with old school proportions that can do a sub-ten-second quarter-mile and never drinks a drop of gas. It will have a roomy interior with storage behind the seats and I predict a smash hit. Check out this video with an update direct from the horse’s mouth, GM President Mark Ruess.
The Ultium Platform Opens Up Possibilities Of A Multiple Corvette Lineup
The Corvette outsells Porsche’s multi-model lineup combined. Just think of the sales of a four-model Corvette lineup? A coupe, convertible, four-door, and SUV combo comes to mind. With the switch to the Ultium platform, there wouldn’t be as big of a stigma as basing a Corvette off a truck chassis or existing divisional sibling, see Cadillac Escalade. We think a four-door Corvette sedan, like the Porsche Taycan, would be very cool. A Corvette SUV is a no-brainer and I’m baffled why this hasn’t happened already.
We say the best antidote to all of this is to buy and preserve an old-school ICE ‘Vette and then have a C9 as a daily driver to smoke snooty Tesla owners at streetlight showdowns. If you’re grumbling about all this, tell me why I’m off base in the comments below.