The Chevrolet Corvette is America’s sports car and our love affair with this machine remains strong after nearly seven decades. Come 2023, an electrified version of the famed two-seater arrives, launching a sea change for this iconic model. Gas models will continue, but a hybrid will precede an all-electric version expected in 2025.
CNBC reported this morning that it had spoken with GM President Mark Reuss about the Corvette. Reuss confirmed what had been expected for some time: that electrification would come to the Corvette.
What type of hybrid?
Despite the statement, Reuss did not share any other details. We do not know if the electrified model will be a standard hybrid of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Regardless, a hybrid of any type would easily give that Corvette the best fuel economy this model has ever seen. Moreover, if it is a PHEV, then it would offer an unknown range of all-electric miles. Chevrolet might introduce the hybrid with the current 6.2-liter V8, the upcoming 5.5-liter V8, or a smaller displacement engine. Anything we say at this point is speculation.
What we do know is that GM’s Ultium batteries could factor into the hybrids, but definitely with an all-electric model. The automaker launched its first PHEV with the Chevrolet Volt in 2011, but newer engineering and technology are in place.
Corvette: Going Full Electric
Just as a hybrid or PHEV will join the Corvette line, an all-electric model will follow. The estimated target date is 2025. Currently, GM’s Ultium platform underpins two existing EVs: the GMC Hummer Pickup Truck and the Cadillac Lyriq SUV. A third model, the Chevrolet Bolt, is also fully electric but it uses older technology. The Cadillac Celestiq SUV, a fully electric Chevrolet Silverado, and all-electric versions of two Chevrolet crossovers, the Equinox and Blazer are also in the works.
But just as a fully electric Silverado receives a dedicated body, the same should hold true for the Corvette. How much of a departure the new design would be from the current model is unknown.
Further, the current-generation (C8) Corvette is a mid-engine design. Given that a fully electric Corvette has no engine, we will find trunks in the front and back. Perhaps the main engineering challenge is to preserve the driving dynamics of the C8. Battery pack placement will play a significant role in that.
We first mentioned the all-electric Corvette in October 2021. At that time we thought GM would utilize the current shell and interior, but that does not seem likely. We have heard musings that a pure-electric Corvette would top 1,000 horsepower. That attribute alone would serve as a strong selling point.
One area where we will backpedal on is price. Though a $200,000 all-electric model sounds possible, we think the price will come in quite a bit lower, at least for a standard model. The Corvette brand has the street credibility of some of the best European models, but the pricing factor seems a bit of a stretch.
It will take GM nearly three years to roll out the second C8 Corvette model when the Z06 arrives this summer. We still think a ZR1 is in the offing with a 2024 arrival date possible. Therefore, if all goes according to OUR plan, the Z06 arrives this summer, followed by the hybrid next year. In subsequent years a ZR1 and fully electric Corvette would give the Corvette five model lines. No Gran Sport seems likely though. And we do not know if the electric version would also offer a convertible.
Will Corvette faithful embrace a hybrid? If most everything about the current model remains virtually the same, we believe they will. What might help matters is if the hybrid makes more power than the gas model, unlike Lexus’ approach to the LC where a V6 powers the hybrid and the V8 is reserved for the gas version.