By Dave Ashton
GM President Mark Reuss, at first announced on CNBC, then on LinkedIn an ‘electrified’ Corvette arriving in the next few years followed by a fully electric version. This ‘electrified’ Corvette could be with us as soon as 2023, which will also use the Ultium platform, i.e a smart energy recovery system to boost range, charging times, and heat the interior of the vehicle.
Below is the official statement from Mark Reuss,
‘Some time ago we moved the Corvette team into the EV space in Warren, Michigan, and when we revealed the new mid-engine Corvette, I said there would be “more to come.” This morning I sat down with Phil LeBeau of CNBC and finally answered the question I’ve been asked countless times.
Yes, in addition to the amazing new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and other gas-powered variants coming, we will offer an electrified and a fully electric, Ultium-based Corvette in the future. In fact, we will offer an electrified Corvette as early as next year. Details and names to come at a later date.’
GM’s Ultium energy recovery system is a feature set to be incorporated into all future GM vehicles. Best described from the below statement,
‘EV batteries, power electronics, and other propulsion components produce heat.
The Ultium Platform can recover and store this waste heat from the Ultium propulsion system. Further, it can also capture and use humidity from both inside and outside the vehicle, including body heat from passengers. The Ultium Platform can then deploy energy stored through the recovery process to heat the cabin more quickly in cold weather than comparable systems found in vehicles with an internal combustion engine.’
Electrified, not fully Electric
It’s a bit confusing, but ‘electrified’ is not a fully electric vehicle, and we will have to wait for GM to release full details about the technology. GM also plans to have a complete all-electric lineup by 2035. Therefore, this electrified version seems like an interim model to test the waters moving forward.
As with other carmakers, Chevrolet has big plans for its EV lineup. They hope to have 30 new EV models by the mid 2020’s and hope to sell 1 million EVs from that point on.
Fear not on the gasoline-powered side of things, as the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 3LZ Convertible will start production later this year.
The General EV Landscape
We are currently living through interesting crossover times between traditional gasoline-powered cars and the next generation of electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle websites are now starting to feature the plans for electrified versions of traditional muscle car-related vehicles and vice versa. Neither looks kindly on each other. The EV brigade inherently seeing the older technology of gas-guzzling, muscle cars as the old, and the muscle car fraternity just seeing EV’s coming along and spoiling the party.
However, no matter where your allegiance lies, traditional muscle car makers have a different set of criteria to fulfill when moving into the EV world. A brand like Tesla has been electric from the start, no gasoline-powered back history.
Turning models which have been around for decades into electric versions is a tricky position of having to please everybody all the time. Pleasing both the old and the new at the same time. This means that the companies that have been building gasoline vehicles for years have to take more tentative steps into the EV world.
One EV related website said that an electrified version by 2023 and a full EV ‘later’ by GM is disappointing. They also say that the Ultium’s battery energy recovery system is just a glorified version of a heat pump. Guess what the comparison was towards? That’s correct, a Tesla.
While Tesla are developing some groundbreaking technology, they also don’t have the worry of having to please existing gasoline car users, both past and present. Muscle car makers have to tread a fine line to produce an EV that has all the positive qualities of a rumbling V8, while also fitting into the new landscape. You can’t please all the people all the time, which traditional carmakers are in the position of being in moving forward.
Therefore, it’s going to be very interesting to see in the next few years the initial offerings from Chevy, Dodge and Ford.
… And lastly, just like EV websites inherently pooh-pooh us muscle cars, let’s have a light-hearted look at a Tesla crashing into a $3 million jet after the owner activates ‘smart summon.’ A fully electric muscle car would never be automatically summoned, as the driving experience matters, …ahem. The only automatic feature we need in an electric muscle car is ‘auto rev up’ at 100 dB to annoy the neighbors.
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