GM’s President Mark Reuss attended the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference this week and took the occasion to show off three new motors this week that will power General Motors Ultium-based EVs, and one of them really has caught our attention.
Reuss introduced the GM-designed 180-kilowatt front-drive motor and a 255-kW rear- and front-drive motor, along with a 62-kW induction all-wheel drive assist motor. All three are part of GM’s Ultium Drive Family which are planned to be integrated into a variety of vehicles, from trucks to performance vehicles according to the press release.
And speaking of performance vehicles, the Corvette E-Ray is rumored to be taking the first steps of electrification for America’s Favorite Sports Car, and now that we have some power figures on the Ultium motors, we wanted to take a closer look.
The E-Ray will have the 495-hp LT2 V8 as its primary source of propulsion, and then our guess is that the 62-kW all-wheel drive assist motors will power the front wheels. What we don’t really know yet is whether there will be a separate motor for each wheel, or if one motor will power both front wheels.
Earlier this year, Don Sherman wrote about the Corvette E-Ray for SAE.org and he said it will feature two independently-controlled motors butted together and estimated at the time the power output from each motor would be 50-plus hp (37-plus kW) for a total of over 600 hp. Now that we have the power ratings for the front assist motors are 62-kW or 84 horsepower each, then the electric output would add 168 horsepower and the total power of the E-Ray would be approximately 663-horsepower!
On paper, that seems higher than what is expected for a model that is said to slot in between the base Stingray and the 2023 Z06. Would Chevy engineers allow the E-Ray will have a higher power rating than the naturally-aspirated 2023 Z06? The C8Z is rumored to have somewhere between 620-650 hp.
If Chevrolet engineers can make a go of it with one motor, then the 84 horsepower would yield around 580 hp total, a figure that sounds much more in line with the expected hierarchy of C8 models. Of course, the third option is they could be going a custom route. But given the company’s focus on the Ultium family, we would think the opportunity to showcase the new EV motors on the Corvette would be one of the primary reasons to build it.
Although we’ve seen illustrations (above) of the all-wheel assist unit which houses the components of the electric motor, we have no clue how big they are. If I was to put on a Corvette engineer’s hat, one of my first concerns would be about the packaging of the front assist motor which we assume will take up some of the lower frunk area. The second concern is the weight of the motors.
The Acura NSX that is being used as a benchmark for the E-Ray has a three-motor setup with two 36-hp motors up front, while the third sits in the rear between the motor and the transmission.
Whatever the final solution is, GM may be already testing it based on these spy photos of the E-Ray engineering team testing a group of cars along with the Acura NSX back in August.
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