The recent news over GM’s latest trademark filing for “Corvette E-Ray” has many speculating about the future of an electric or hybrid Corvette. One man who has weighed in with his two cents is Car and Driver’s Technical Director Don Sherman who has been writing about Corvettes since forever and is the owner of a 1967 big block.
Don thinks the way to get to a hybrid Corvette is by utilizing a electrical motor and generator onto the rear of the Corvette, (sacrificing some of the 15 cubic feet of storage space):
“The notion of an electrified Corvette got me wondering: What’s the best way to hybridize today’s C7 Stingray? I’d do it by rearranging components behind the rear axle.
“Hanging a motor/generator onto the rear of the differential would be the way to go. The added electric machine would capture normally squandered energy during deceleration and braking. The electricity would be stored in one or more compact lithium-ion battery packs also located at the rear of the Corvette. Then, during acceleration, this device would operate as a motor to ease the engine’s labor, yielding a slight fuel-economy improvement.
“During all-out acceleration, the engine and electric motor would collaborate providing forward thrust. That said, the added weight of the motor/generator and battery pack(s) would likely mean the hybrid E-Ray wouldn’t necessarily top the zero-to-60-mph time of a non-hybrid Stingray with a 6.2-liter V-8.
“Major exhaust-system revisions would be necessary to clear the space needed for the motor/generator and the battery. Some of the Corvette coupe’s 15 cubic feet of cargo space would inevitably be sacrificed. Substituting GM’s twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 for the current 6.2-liter V-8 would keep the total power on tap about the same while delivering significantly more fuel savings.”
That’s definitely one way that the Corvette team could pursue a hybrid powertrain. If that is the case, I think we would rather see the electric motor assist on the front wheels which would give Corvette its first all-wheel drive set up. But we agree with the Don that the biggest challenge for the Corvette team would be how to package the components within the car without sacrificing too much space and weight.
One of the hallmarks of the Corvette brand over the years is that it represents the tip of the technological spear for General Motors (as Doug Fehan would say). It’s time for Corvette to get serious with a hybrid/electric concept to pursue these new technologies. If a future Corvette could provide Z06-like performance and offer 50% better fuel economy by utilizing an electric-hybrid powertrain, isn’t that a technology worth pursuing?
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