GM shunned all-electric Corvette due to performance issues
General Motors (GM) eschewed producing an all-electric Chevrolet Corvette for its most recent model year, opting instead for a hybrid powertrain due to performance, cost, pedigree, and other concerns.
Designing a next-generation model of a long-running branded vehicle is not easy. A manufacturer is often under pressure to stay close to a set of design goals that guide a model, while also targeting innovative new technology that could make the vehicle an overnight sensation or a hit. pariah. And in developing the next generation of the Chevrolet Corvette, GM decided to opt for a hybrid powertrain instead of an all-electric one due to performance concerns.
According to a recent series of interviews conducted by CNBC, GM executives and engineers explained the design choices made regarding the new Chevy Corvette E-Ray, the first hybrid and AWD Corvette. And while the vehicle is a huge leap in performance compared to the gas-powered model, which has already been launching baby boomers at breakneck speeds, many have wondered why the automaker didn’t. opt for an all-electric variant.
Photo credit: General Motors
A major hurdle was the performance of an all-electric Corvette, which some say would not have been as capable as the chosen hybrid design. Mike Kociba, GM’s lead design engineer, commented openly to CNBC, arguing: “The mission of this vehicle was performance, performance, performance… Every kilogram or pound had to earn its place from a mass standpoint. … [an all-electric platform] hurt performance, plain and simple.”
Detailing his argument, Mr. Kociba noted that an all-electric Corvette would be much heavier and could suffer from a lack of purpose-built architecture. By contrast, the hybrid design could be retrofitted to the gas-powered Corvette, requiring relatively minor modifications.
As is often the case in vehicle development, cost was another important consideration. Not only would an all-electric Corvette require an all-new performance-oriented EV architecture, along with a new electric motor and battery design, but essentially none of the investments in the already-launched gas-powered Corvette would be applicable; would effectively mean starting from scratch.
Beyond concerns about weight, performance and architecture, General’s design leaders made sure to avoid a plug port on the new mid-engine supercar. After ditching the Chevy Volt in 2019, the American auto giant made it clear that it was no longer interested in PHEV technologies, instead opting for mild hybrid or all-electric designs.
While many are disappointed that America’s supercar doesn’t come with an all-electric offering, especially considering the incredible strides GM showed it had made with the gas-powered version, perhaps this can be a moment of celebration for the last of an era. . The Chevrolet Corvette has defined the look of American sports car technology for decades, distinctly different from the muscle cars it drew its powertrain from, but also exceptionally affordable compared to the Ford GTs and Dodge Vipers of the world. we hope that an electric Corvette will not only arrive soon but will carry on his legacy of engineering greatness.
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