GM Restructuring Moves the Corvette Engineering Team to Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

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GM Restructuring Moves the Corvette Engineering Team to Autonomous and Electric Vehicles


If there is one thing that we have learned over the 15 years that we’ve been covering Corvettes and General Motors is that the future is always in motion. The leadership of General Motors which includes Corvette owners Mary Barra and Mark Reuss has committed the company to an “All Electric Future” by setting up a roadmap to achieve the goal of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.

To that end, GM has launched a number of initiatives to ramp up the production of EVs that includes a new flexible EV platform powered by GM’s Ultium battery system, a joint venture with LG Chem to mass-produce the battery cells for US production, and a strategy for greatly increasing the availability of electric vehicle charging across the U.S. and Canada.

GM Ultium Battery System and Flexible EV Platform


Following the successful launch of the C8 Corvette program, GM announced today a restructuring program that shifts the Corvette Engineering team from the “Global Products Program” to the “Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Program”.

From what we have gathered, Executive Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter will continue to lead the Corvette Engineering group but he will now be reporting to Ken Morris, GM Vice President of Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs. Ed Piatek, who was the Chief Engineer of Corvette has been moved to a new role as Chief Engineer of Future EV Product, which then opens the door for Josh Holder to be promoted to Chief Engineer of Corvette. (Yes, we know that that GM’s job titles are sometimes redundant.)

Here is a statement from Ken Morris on the Corvette move:

“General Motors is committed to an all-electric future. I’m excited to be putting the team that redefined supercar performance, design and attainability in key roles to help us integrate and execute our EVs to those same high standards.”

While we’ve seen some takes on this that assumes the Corvette team will be shifting to work exclusively on EVs, that isn’t the case as the Corvette Team will still have the same personnel like Tadge and Josh who are focused on creating the future varients of the C8 Corvette.

General Motors has made it clear that the “future is electric” with the company offering 20 new EVs for sale by 2023. GM has also committed to spending $20 billion between now and 2025 on EV Development. Earlier this month Cadillac launched their new electric luxury SUV called the Lyriq and GMC will be bringing back the Hummer as an electric vehicle that will have 1,000 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 3 seconds.

Mary Barra Shares GM's The Future is Electric Strategy


What we see happening is that the Autonomous and EV Programs will now have greater access to the “high performance” brain trust that designed and built the mid-engine Corvette, and the Corvette Engineering teams having greater access to those working with electric motors and battery storage systems.

It’s been somewhat of an open secret that the Corvette team is working to bring hybrid performance to the Corvettes, which could see electric motors installed on the front wheels to provide greater launch abilities with the application of all-wheel-drive. And with the recent renewal of the “E-Ray” trademark, there has always been the rumor of a future Corvette that is totally electric.

I do believe this will end up being a good move for the Corvette Engineering team as they are going to where the “action is” within the company. I can already hear some of the howls from the purists out there and yes, we get the fact that driving a future electric Corvette might not be the same our internal combustion-powered models of today. But what if they are better?


Source:
insideevs.com

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EV Charging Station Coming to the Corvette Museum as Part of VW’s Electrify America Initiative

 



14 COMMENTS

  1. Electric vehicles will not work out until there is a way of reducing the time it takes to charge the batteries and a way to increase the electrical cars travel time / distance.

  2. “What if they’re better?” They can’t be! Heavy battery packs(even low in the chassis) add a weight and handling penalty that cannot be overcome. Software driven autonomous vehicles? Hackers will have a field day not to mention storm related outages. Where can you charge your EV when the archaic electric grid is down? The roar/scream of a hi-po IC engine? Gone. Will they be offering sound chips as an option? Sadly, we live at the end of the iC age. Let’s hope that the C8 ZO6 and ZR1 (Zora) are already in the pipeline so we can buy one before we pass on.

  3. Question to ponder — once an all-electric version of the Corvette is available, or possibly when all new Corvettes are all-electric, do you think GM will offer packages to convert older IC Corvettes to all-electric? After all, in the not too distant future that may be the only way you would be able to continue driving an older Corvette on public roads.

  4. Electric Cars are fine if the residue from the battery packs and fuel cells don’t tend to destroy the planet faster the cow farts. Autonomous Cars will save allot of otherwise drunk drivers getting a ride home instead of driving, the problem is their operation can’t be safe on poorly maintained inter structure. Self drivers can’t drive on roads that aren’t built yet and only exist on a Map! GPS will send you down a cow path not fit for a car. We all will be competing with computer cars zipping around us that only know two answered to every question. YES or NO! I still prefer a little more Human Reasoning to my survival on the roads!

  5. I’m thinking this is due to the Corvette having the new ‘whiz bang’ electronic architecture called the Digital Vehicle Platform. Could be the C8 guys (and gals) have gained a lot of experience in this arena, and Chevy just want to take advantage of the existing talent pool.

    Of course, an electric assisted C8 is likely in the works too, at least in the experimental stage.

  6. This redirection means two things. The Corvette Team has put the next 5 years of Corvette in the can. The only thing that might change is timing. And if you want to do Electric, and Autonomies Vehicle Right these are the folks to do that very thing for General Motors!

  7. I’ve owned a Nissan Leaf and took the leap of faith that Nissan was going to deliver on its promise of a charging infrastructure. That infrastructure never happened and most likely will never happen unless it’s done at a national government level.

    There are also other problems. Does GM’s Ultium battery system have a higher energy density than normal lithium batteries? Will GM’s Ultium battery deliver consistent power over 10’s of years so that the carbon footprint of battery production can be paid back with a premium? GM’s proprietary Ultium appears to be a repackaging of the same tired lithium battery technology that’s been in use for many years now. Until we see a major breakthrough in battery technology (charge rate, capacity longevity and energy density) and a genuine nation based charging infrastructure electric cars will remain a novelty and not a mainstay. Fossil fuel is here to stay for the foreseeable future!

  8. What is needed is a standardized battery pack (or a couple) for all cars so that you can pull into a “gas” station, slide your battery pack out from under the car and slide a freshly charged one back under the car. That’s the only way you’ll ever get an acceptable “charging” time. And in California where electricity is similar to that in a third world country, how are you going to charge at home?

    As far as autonomy goes, that’s a long way off. Just ask Tesla that is perhaps the most advanced. If your highway markings are worn/nonexistent the cameras won’t know where you are. There are lots of roads even in populated areas that don’t have decent markings. As soon as you turn off that freeway with high visibility lane markers on to a road with no or faded lines you’re screwed. The insurance issue is a whole nother issue. Who gets blamed for a wreck? The road? The software? The car company (possibly separate from the software vendor)? The driver who was sleeping?

  9. The grid cannot handle tens of millions of electric vehicles! Junk science isn’t a realistic solution to combating pollution. Keep improving existing technology that already works and has been proven, that’s the best avenue to take.

  10. The issue is not whether electric or autonomous cars are worthwhile. The question is what this shift of team means for further development of the C8 and for later generations. From GM’s typical bean-counter point of view, it just looks like they needed an engineering team and found one at Corvette. After all, the C8 is done, the team did a good job, so why not put the team somewhere else it’s needed. This depersonalization is what you’d expect from GM, which cares all about PR and stock price, and nothing about cars.
    Let’s remember that GM’s big RV and autonomous push is just another PR effort: High charging times will limit the demand for EVs, and autonomous vehicles, if possible at all, would be decades away. No, GM is just trying to convince Wall Street that it has some kind of future and moving the Corvette team is an attempt to demonstrate their sincerity.
    Oh, and Wall Street is pretty gullible too; GM is trying to latch on to its hysteria about EVs (see: Tesla).

  11. I think they’re rushing into this some what. Have no problem with hybrids, but all electric and autonomous future takes the fun out of driving even with the added benefits of electric motors helping the total HP available. Battery disposal is going to be a huge problem in the future, not to mention the cost of replacement batteries will force most owners to abandon long term ownership, and rendering the cars worthless on the secondary market.

  12. Keith… Thanks for you upbeat take on this. It seems like the Corvette team just finished making an omelette, but they will just have to break some more eggs to make another.

  13. I am A 38 Year old “Purist” I’ve been in love with the Corvette, It’s V8,sound and style since the age of 5,growing up on the C4 in the 80s and 90s as well as several Stingray and Vintage Vettes, I Hate ELECTRIC Cars, HYBRIDS, I have driven the BMW i8 “supercar” powered by a hybrid system, A cool design gone to waste as the car is a dog. Same as the VOLT which drove like crap. To Me Electrics and Hybrids are associated with Treehugging Leftists and they wanting to Impose on the Majority and kill the joy of Motoring and Racing. As a Shareholder myself I will be selling off my shares,And I would hope That My Beloved CORVETTE dies a Slow death rather than suffer being a Politically Correct Rolling Firehazard tincan. GM isn’t even selling enough of their pc garbage cars and now they want continue, the INTERNAL COMBUSTION Engine isn’t going anywhere and there are more fans of that then the TESLA and it’s wannabees.

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