GM avoided all-electric Corvette due to performance concerns

GM to avoid all-electric Chevrolet Corvette, instead opting hybrid model

General Motors to avoid its all-electric Corvette due to performance concerns. Instead, the automaker is going for a hybrid drivetrain due to performance, cost, pedigree, and more concerns. While the concept was pretty cool, designing the next-generation model of long-lasting nameplate vehicles takes time.

GM avoided all-electric Corvette due to performance concerns
Image credits- Chevrolet Pressroom

 

A manufacturer is often under pressure to remain close to a set of design goals guiding a model while also aiming for innovative and new technology that could make the vehicle an overnight sensation or a pariah. And in developing the newest generation of the Chevrolet Corvette, GM decided to opt for a hybrid drivetrain instead of a fully 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 newest Chevy Corvette E-Ray, the first-ever hybridized and AWD Corvette. And while the vehicle is a massive jump in performance compared to the gas 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. One significant hurdle was regarding the performance of an all-electric Corvette, which some argued would not have been as capable as the chosen hybrid design.

All-electric Corvette

Mike Kociba, the lead Design engineer at GM, commented openly to CNBC, arguing “The mission of this vehicle was performance, performance, performance… Every kilogram or pound had to earn its way in from a mass standpoint. … [an all-electric platform] hurt performance, plain and simple.” Detailing his argument, Mr. Kociba pointed out that an all-electric Corvette would be far heavier and could suffer from lacking a purpose-built architecture. In contrast, the hybridized design could be retrofitted to the gas Corvette, requiring relatively minor alterations.

As is often the case in vehicle development, the cost was another major consideration. An all-electric corvette would not only require an entirely new performance-oriented EV architecture, along with a new electric motor and battery design but essentially none of the investments in the already released gas Corvette would be applicable; it would effectively mean starting from scratch. Beyond the concerns of weight, performance, and architecture, design leaders at the General made it a point to avoid a plug port on the new mid-engine supercar. After abandoning the Chevy Volt in 2019, the American auto giant made it clear that it was no longer interested in PHEV technologies, instead opting for either mild-hybrid or all-electric designs.