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Report: ZR1 Won’t Be The Only C8 Corvette Hybrid

Last month, we heard rumors the C8 Corvette ZR1 will pair a twin-turbocharged V8 with an electric front axle, making it a 900-horsepower hybrid with all-wheel drive. While these well-placed rumors certainly have us excited for the future of the new mid-engine Corvette, the ZR1 isn’t the only C8 Corvette variant that will be a hybrid, according to a new report from Jalopnik.

The website claims to have seen engineering documents that pertain to a different Corvette hybrid model that will pair an electric front axle with the C8 Corvette’s naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LT2 V8 Small Block engine. This model will allegedly be offered in both coupe and convertible variants and should have 550-600 horsepower on tap – likely placing it between the standard Corvette Stingray and the track-focused Z06 in the Corvette model hierarchy.

The lesser Corvette hybrid model is said to feature an 85-kW (about 114 horsepower) electric motor on the front axle, along with a small 1.94-kWh lithium ion battery pack mounted in the vehicle’s central tunnel. A battery of this size indicates the hybrid system will mainly be for increasing the vehicle’s performance and not its fuel economy, as such a small pack cannot enable electric-only driving for long periods of time. The front-mounted electric motor should also be able to achieve a torque vectoring effect on the front axle, applying a burst of torque to the wheel that needs it most at exactly the right time.

The Corvette hybrid will feature a different “High Mounted Damper” front suspension design, too, which shifts the location of the front suspension dampers upwards to make room for the axle shafts for the front-mounted electric motor. This design should carry over into the ZR1. The document Jalopnik viewed indicated the car will come with carbon ceramic brakes as well, along with staggered wheel and tires sizes measuring in at 275/30R20 in the front and 345/25R21 in the rear. An electronic limited-slip differential will sit out back, handling power distribution of the LT2 V8 engine.

It’s not clear how much power the lesser Corvette hybrid will produce, though it should be good for up to 600 horsepower, if not more. Calculating its output is not as simple as adding the outputs of the 114-horsepower front axle and 495-horsepower LT2 V8 together, as the electric motor and V8 motor may achieve peak outputs at different points in the rev range. You can bet it will be fast, though – with the electric motor filling in the gaps in the LT2 V8’s torque curve to provide seamless acceleration.

This mystery Corvette hybrid could be called the Corvette E-Ray, a nameplate which GM filed a patent application for back in 2015. This would make sense, as the model Jalopnik describes uses the same engine as the Corvette Stingray, but pairs it with an electric motor. Jalopnik says General Motors may have also benchmarked the Acura NSX while developing the model, with the two cars featuring similarly sized batteries and likely similar power outputs.

It’s not clear when the so-called Corvette E-Ray may debut, but it is expected to arrive before the C8 Corvette ZR1. However, GM has yet to even start building the standard Corvette Stingray coupe and Corvette Convertible models, so these hybrid variants are likely still quite far away.

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Source: Jalopnik

Sam McEachern: Sam loves to write and has a passion for auto racing, karting and performance driving of all types.

View Comments (12)

  • I heard a rumor a while ago that the ZO6 will be much closer to 800HP if not slightly above it and be much more Track Focused.
    The rumor a while back floating on You Tube was that there will be two Electrified version of the C8. One was probably this version and the other one was much more electrified. It is supposed to have at least or over 1,000HP. The Frunk will most likely be gone in that version. And it will be meant to make a huge profit for GM and get Vette fans around the World to kind of get the idea that a Future All Electric Vette will for sure come to fruition one day just like Porsche has pretty much already admitted a Full BEV 911 will be coming as well.

  • I recall GM none too happy with the consumer opinion data they got on a possible hybrid option on a future V8 Camaro. 8.5k was it? If it was considered for Camaro you can bet it was being floated for Corvette, but really I didn't think they'd go through with it. Someone dig up the power figure, I'd imagine it's close to target.

  • This seems like a strange strategy to me. Assuming that the Z06 does come out with the DOHC 5.5 TT V8 (or whatever the displacement ends up being), why would you have this hybrid "E-Ray?" Unless the Z06 makes around 750 hp, the hybridized 6.2 would be too close to a Z06, and would likely be able to best it in performance on the track anyway with AWD. Not so sure about this report...

    • Mary's own words, No one intrested in hybrid anymore, only EV's ?

      WTF ?

      SEE YA ON RACE DAY ... I'LL GET THE ??? and the bottles of bubbly to spray on you...

  • Max power can be "assumed" to be 495+114 hp. Power in eletric motors is based off of the current drawn, not like gas motors where it's torque×rpm. An ideal eletric motor has high torque at low rpm and low torque at high rpm, and the progression is linear. Equation for power is P=IR^2. The key here is how the motor efficiency is spread across the curve. You can bet that the combined output would be at least 495+100

  • "..as such a small pack cannot enable electric-only driving for long periods of time." Not as true as you may think. If a hybrid driver accelerates slowly, such as in city traffic, the battery energy can last several miles since the vehicle does not need all 85 kW of electric power at that time. And while coasting or at a low constant speed, the electric motor can continue to run just enough to break road friction, so the gasoline engine is never restarted. You have to be an experienced hybrid driver to take full advantage of the technology and get the best range, just like full EV drivers do.

    Let us wait until this hybrid arrives, and you will be reading more on driving on electric power with longer ranges than you expect with that statement.

  • Many have been waiting for a long time for this hybrid Corvette. In addition to more power, its MPG rating will be much higher especially for city driving where the electric motor can move the vehicle much more cleaner and recover that energy with regenerative braking. It saves money in gasoline consumption and engine maintenance (only one oil change a year), plus long lasting brakes.

    The hybrid Corvette is a win-win offer as the owner will get more power and save money in the same vehicle.

    • "A battery of this size indicates the hybrid system will mainly be for increasing the vehicle’s performance and not its fuel economy"

      • Its fuel economy will increase. I am an experienced hybrid driver and I get up to 54 MPG in a midsized 4,000 lb sedan, yet I did get a performance increase because I can accelerate faster than I did with my 1995 Buick Regal, which had a larger gas engine. And maintenance will also cost less since the engine needs lesser oil and filter changes. No one drives in "performance mode" all day. Most of real life driving is at low speeds where the electric power will move the vehicle. It is still a "win-win" deal for the buyer.