We’ve been hearing rumors for some time now about Chevrolet offering a hybrid C8 Corvette ZORA/ZR1 model that will combine the mid-engine V8 with a front-mounted electric motor system which will provide upwards of a combined 900 horsepower, as well as finally adding AWD capabilities to the Corvette for the first time.
That sounds all well and good for those with deep pockets who can afford a ZR1 as the last two models have sold for an MSRP of $118K and higher. But thanks to a report from Jalopnik, Chevrolet could be looking at “democratizing the performance hybrid” (shout out to Matt Farah for that phrase) by offering it on all models including the base Stingray!
Jalopnik’s Bozi Tatarevic says that they have seen engineering documents that offer details on the hybrid Corvette’s electric motor, battery pack and associated electronics and that these can be implemented on C8 Corvette models ranging from the base model Stingray to the top of the line ZORA/ZR1. In fact, those documents allegedly show the AWD base Corvette will be available in both Coupe and Convertible configurations featuring the LT2 V8 engine. With the 85-kW electric motor on the front axle providing about 114-hp, the combined power of the hybrid LT2 should be around 550-600 hp.
Packaging for the system would take advantage of the C8 Corvette’s frunk while the smallish-sized 1.94-kWh lithium-ion battery pack would be mounted in the Corvette’s central tunnel. The system’s main goal will be to improving launches and other performance-improving capabilities, and it’s said that the motor can adjust torque and boost to each of the front wheels individually as needed.
A similar set-up is offered in the Acura NSX and although we are unsure if GM used the NSX as a benchmark against the C8 Corvettes, Bozi says that the two systems are very similar in both battery size as well as how the hybrid system is used primarily for performance, as the NSX can only go a few miles on all-electric power at low speeds.
Let’s not also forget that we have several sightings of early C8 prototypes with special battery connections and on/off switches coming through the body and VINs that indicate they are 2021 models. A GM spokesperson took umbrage with us for calling these “Hybrid Corvettes“, but we know how they are when it comes to future product offerings so we’ve never fully conceded that these aren’t hybrid test cars.
The Jalopnik article also offers additional specs on what everyone is calling the Corvette E-Ray, a name that GM trademarked back in 2015. The tires for the hybrid AWD Corvette are staggered with all-season Michelins that are sized 20x10s in the front and 21x13s in the rear (275/30R20 and 345/25R21). A two-piece carbon-ceramic brake will utilize the J57 RPO code with the brakes most likely from sourced from Brembo.
If these plans come to fruition, the hybrid Corvette could offer the biggest leap forward in Corvette performance since Zora first stuffed a V8 into the Corvette’s engine bay. While there may be some enthusiasts that balk at the thought of a hybrid, we think this system would offer a very fast car with excellent handling capabilities across all model lines.
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MotorTrend: The C8 Corvette ZR1 Will be a Twin-Turbo DOHC V8 Hybrid with 900 HP!
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