In addition to yesterday’s news about the C7 Corvette’s design going retro with the inclusion of a split rear window, we also learned that GM won’t abandon its traditional V8 power plant unless necessary. But that doesnâ€™t mean a hybrid Corvette is off the table. Tom Stephens, GM’s Vice Chairman of Global Product Development says “We will only do a hybrid if that is what is required to maintain the vehicle.”
As new CAFE standards require a company’s fleet to average 35.5 mpg by the 2016 model year, engineers already have some ideas on how to boost Corvette’s fuel efficiency, which is currently listed as 26 mpg highway for the 430 hp 2010 Corvette coupe. On the table is weight reduction, direct injection, variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation. Electric power steering alone could add about 0.5 mpg.
The much discussed and maligned idea of powering a Corvette with a six-cylinder appears to be moot at the moment. Stephens says “I don’t believe that we need to do a six-cylinder engine in a Corvette at this time.”
Despite an apparent gap of nearly 10 mpg between today’s Corvette and the 2016 mileage standards, talk to most Corvette owners and they will tell you that they routinely see average 28-31 miles on the highway. Several tests of the Corvette’s fuel efficiency have been conducted that have confirmed such claims.
As for the Corvette going hybrid, Stephens says “I think we have a pretty good plan right now that probably will not require a hybrid in the near term.”
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Tom Stephens |