What The Reveal Of The C8 Lineup Tells Us About The Future Of Corvette

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What The Reveal Of The C8 Lineup Tells Us About the Future Of Corvette


The cadence of a modern Corvette product roll-out is like the beat of a familiar song for us faithful fans.

First, the base model breaks cover and its newness is leveraged for all its worth. Then, over the lifespan of the car, multiple trim levels debut creating lustful thoughts from existing owners who yearn to trade up to the latest version. A clever (and profitable) strategy by Chevrolet to maintain interest and sales over the lifespan of the car.

The trim level names include a familiar cast of characters. Stingray, Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1 with the only deviations being where they are slotted in the performance hierarchy.

What The Reveal Of The C8 Lineup Tells Us About the Future Of Corvette

Photo Credit: Chevrolet


While the all-new C8 is going to continue this strategy, there’s a new twist that is rarely talked about in the open air. First, we told you about the electric hybrid E-Ray trim level that will not only replace the Grand Sport, but will introduce all-wheel drive and electric propulsion to the Corvette for the first time. Combined with the LT2 V8, the hybrid will be estimated at 600hp and will slot nicely between the base model and the 650hp, flat-plane crank DOHC V8 Z06.

A top-of-the-line Zora model will take the E-Ray a step further with 1000hp and nest at the top of the lineup. Motor Trend brings us a deeper dive of the new model mix, but if you read between the lines, the future of Corvette unfolds further. Based on this article, when the full C8 lineup blossoms, fully half of the lineup will have hybrid-electric power.

What The Reveal Of The C8 Lineup Tells Us About the Future Of Corvette

Photo Credit: Chevrolet


We can liken this staggered lineup of mixed propulsion C8s to tenderly wading into the icy ocean on the first day of spring, a gradual immersion that offsets the thermal shock of just diving in. Petrol Corvettes will keep the faithful happy and the hybrids will simultaneously attract new buyers to the marque while softening up the base for the future of an all-electric Corvette.

I hate to break this to you, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the LT2 and flat-plane crank V8s will be the last internal combustion engines developed for the Corvette. The next gen, C9 Corvette will be an electric performance car.

GM has made several, very conspicuous moves that coincide with my hypotheses. The corporation’s public vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion is well known. They recently moved the Corvette development team under the umbrella of the corporation’s electric propulsion group. Before all this with little fanfare, they moved the father of the Camaro, Al Oppenheiser, over to EV development as well. To move ALL the go-fast talent that brought us the modern Camaro and Corvette over to EV development is telling to sat the least. While GM is historically tight lipped when it comes to future product, these clues point in the same all-electric direction.

What The Reveal Of The C8 Lineup Tells Us About the Future Of Corvette

Photo Credit: MotorTrend


Which leads us to the next question, how would an all-electric C9 Corvette be configured?

Today’s C8 has a big lump of metal behind the seats, exhaust plumbing, fuel delivery system, extensive air management and a complex, traditional cooling system, all which would be absent in an electric model.

What The Reveal Of The C8 Lineup Tells Us About the Future Of Corvette

eCOPO Camaro Concept with 800-Volt Battery Pack


To put it bluntly, the C8’s architecture is set up around a technically obsolete internal combustion engine and all its attendant subsystems. Retrofitting the existing C8 architecture for all-electric propulsion would be unrealistic at best.

To get an idea of what a C9 Corvette might look like, let’s look at current modern EV architecture. The latest Tesla Roadster has three motors, a pair driving each front wheel and a single unit bringing up the rear. The battery pack is mounted low within the wheelbase, putting the heaviest component at the point of rotation. This clean sheet design garners all benefits of an old school mid-engine car without the packaging hurdles and compromises.

This blueprint might be the best glimpse of what an all-electric Corvette would look like. The performance gains from this EV architecture would be as big a leap as we saw with the mid-engine layout of the C8.

I know this is hard to swallow, but the good news is, for those not sold on the mid-engine C8, it might be a “one and done” generation. In the meantime, Chevrolet still makes gas-powered Corvettes with over 100 years of internal combustion engine refinement. So, if you think all this talk is sacrilege, Chevrolet would love to sell you the best gas-powered Corvette ever produced for at least five more years. Get yours now and preserve it for future generations.

GM Ultium Platform

Photo Credit: General Motors


The Corvette has always been the technological tip-of-the-spear for GM. From its plastic body, four-wheel disc brakes, fuel injection, fiber optics and multiple cams, the ‘Vette has debuted and mainstreamed new GM tech over the years. To think that would change in the age of electrification is Pollyanna at best.

For those grumbling about how this is the end of the Corvette, all is not lost. The Corvette will turn 70 years old in 2023 and hundreds of thousands are still on the road. As a C4 owner, I love and maintain my car and hearing it rumble to life on a Sunday morning is a timeless treat. We can love and preserve eight generations of old school Corvettes and still enjoy the wonders that modern technology holds in store for us. It truly is the best of both worlds.


Source:
MotorTrend

Related:
Hagerty Outlines the Entire Future of the C8 Model Lineup from Leaked Documents
RUMOR: E-Ray Hybrid Model May Replace the Grand Sport in the C8 Corvette Lineup
[SPIED] Listen to These C8 Corvette Z06 Prototypes as They Leave a Park

 



9 COMMENTS

  1. Two downsides for car guys – no cool sounds; and not enough range. Both are probably non-issues to the majority of people – most want peace and quiet, and I read somewhere the average commute is 10 miles. And then most prefer air travel for anything longer than 100 miles. Plus commuting may become limited even more than it is already so why invest in larger batteries and more of them?

  2. C9 May well be an all electric slotless slot car in just 5 or 6 years and the “Green New Deal” May be fact or fiction, either way the C8 Corvette is a value in any format that it comes to us. I when through something like this when I had a 73 HO Pontiac Ventura Sport that was rebadged in 1974 as the GTO and high octane gas just went away! I would hope we don’t go through that kind of thing with electrification of American Cars. My C8 Stingray runs almost as good on 93 octane as a C8R, but I have driven a Z51 on California 91 and it was not so much! The car definitely retarded the spark to not blow the tops out of piston. I’m sure Californians will be looking hard to make their Cars Flex fuel E85 safe because I don’t think the LT2 engine really likes California 91!

  3. Strong secondary market prices for ICE Corvettes (and other comparable sports cars) are an early indication that many consumers may not be early adopters of electric cars. Limited range, excessive weight and poor recharging infrastructure are only three of many problems. Not holding my breath…

  4. Until battery charging time is about the same as filling up with gas, you can take your electric car and…you get the idea.

  5. No signs of 5 minute charges yet. So, how do I drive my new electric C9 quickly coast to coast???

  6. Something about the rumble of a big V8. I worry that this trend will make high octane gas go away based on demand.

  7. Good point Rob – what you suggest is reminiscent of 1975 when leaded gas was being replaced (Govt. Decree) by “no-lead” and the first victim was high octane which was not replaced for years. If you could not find a Sunoco racing fuel vendor you were “SOL”…park it or sell it for nothing.

  8. They need to get going on the AWD, hybrid or all electric Corvette SUV! Then I will have a Corvette 2-seater, and the wife can have the SUV. It will be a real boost to the brand. Can’t wait!

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