Earlier in the week, GM dropped a new teaser video showing the upcoming Corvette E-Ray accelerating hard on snow, giving us a peek at the onboard all-wheel drive system in action. Critically, GM President Mark Reuss confirmed that The General would offer a “fully electric, Ultium-based Corvette in the future.” Unfortunately, this simply raises more questions – what form will this new electric Corvette take? And when can we expect to see it?
For the moment, there’s a lot of speculation flying around the web, but let’s start with the facts. First off, GM has already announced that it will no longer sell internal-combustion-powered passenger vehicles by 2035, so an electric Corvette is already a foregone conclusion. With that in mind, let’s examine the possible scenarios of what such a model could look like.
Electric Corvette C8
As GM Authority has covered previously, a fully electric powertrain was not part of the initial product plan for the C8 Corvette. As such, an electric Corvette C8 is highly unlikely, unless of course GM changed its mind. If that’s the case, engineers must now figure out a way to stuff Ultium batteries and Ultium drive motors into the C8 architecture, a project that would be both complex and costly.
Moreover, GM’s Ultium batteries and motors were never designed to be shoehorned into an existing platform. Rather, GM’s overarching approach to vehicle electrification has been in the creation of new EV-dedicated platforms, such as BEV3, which underpins models like the Cadillac Lyriq, and BT1, which underpins models like the GMC Hummer EV. These new EV-centric architectures enable GM to turn a profit on electric vehicles, as they were developed and planned from the ground up to do exactly that.
By contrast, the full electrification of the C8 platform would entail stuffing the engine bay with batteries, which is less than ideal. Alternatively, batteries could be mounted up front and in the rear. However, the battery pack would not be mounted the passenger cell. All of this would be difficult to engineer without impacting the Corvette C8’s ride and handling.
Furthermore, massaging the Corvette C8 platform into a full EV wouldn’t necessarily offer too many benefits in terms of performance, at least compared to the lineup as it stands now. After all, the Stingray can already sprint to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds, while the Z06 C8 is estimated to complete the test in 2.6 seconds, and the upcoming Zora C8 around the 2-second mark. Given the heft of batteries, it’s unlikely an electrified Corvette C8 would keep up.
There’s even more to throw against this idea. The Corvette C8 is produced exclusively at the GM Bowling Green plant in Kentucky, a facility that already requires adaptation to fit hybrid components for the upcoming E-Ray and Zora variants, while a fully electric Corvette C8 would require further retooling. And that’s a lot of work for a relatively small plant that’s already struggling to fulfill demand.
In our humble opinion, a fully electric Corvette C8 is the least likely scenario here.
Electric Corvette C9
Another possibility is the introduction of a fully electric Corvette for the next-gen C9, which is still several years away. Nevertheless, a model like this would be fully engineered to incorporate Ultium components right from the get-go. Incidentally, GM has said that an electric Corvette “would follow,” the E-Ray, but declined to specify a timeframe. As such, a new C9 model could possibly offer both electric and ICE powertrains, although we’re just speculating at this point.
A Completely Different Model With A Corvette Badge
The third scenario would take a page out of the Ford playbook, specifically what the Blue Oval brand did with the Mustang in creating the Mach-E. Rumors of a fully electric Corvette crossover have been swirling for a while now, as has the rumor that GM is working on a family of Corvette products. That said, creation of a new electric Corvette crossover to rival the Mustang Mach-E sounds like a bad idea, given the Corvette is marketed as a more upscale and costly vehicle than the Mustang. Instead, the Chevy Camaro would be the better match to morph into a Mustang Mach-E competitor, at least logically.
Still, we could see an electric Corvette crossover to rival the current crop of luxury brand, performance-oriented utility vehicles, such as the Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX, something which would ride on BEV3 and incorporate all the usual GM Ultium technology expected.
We’ll keep our ear to the ground and relay anything of note. Until then, make sure to subscribe to GM Authority for more mid-engine Corvette news, Corvette C8 news, Corvette news, Chevrolet news, and 24/7 GM news coverage.