My Car Quest

September 23, 2021

Editorial: The Need for a Corvette Hybrid

General Motors: Do it for America…

by Wallace Wyss –

I don’t fly waving flags on my car but am eager to see American firms come up with a winner against some of those overly-vaunted oh-so-sophisticated Furrin’ adversaries.

After just lambasting the Chevrolet C8 Corvette designers on all the design cue cliches in the C8 now I’m going to give them a bit of stick (horse racing term) on getting a hybrid V6 version going for 2025. Why? because Ferrari is introducing a “baby Ferrari” in the form of a Ferrari V6-powered hybrid and it will probably be in the 700-hp plus range, and still have a range of 16-20 miles in pure electric mode.

Before you curl your lip and sneer and say “That’s nothing, a Prius will go…” I’m talking a regenerative hybrid not a plug-in. In the Ferrari’s case, the electric motor will add to the car’s mileage and performance yet allow it to get along with two less cylinders than the Ferrari V8.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette - photo by Wallace Wyss

I have only driven hybrids and am satisfied with that–getting 600 miles starting out with a full tankful of gas and full electric charge at the start but am still on the fence about the wisdom of the American auto industry going hell-for-leather full electric. After all, if there’s a power shortage and frequent shut-downs of the power grid, with a hybrid, you’ll still be able to mosey up to the gas station.

Maserati may be ahead of Ferrari on the timetable. They just introduced a mid-engine V6 ICE engine in the MC20 but a triple motor EV version is coming in 2022 only to be followed by an all electric version soon after.

More important to me is the “rub-off” effect of demonstrating that American technology can duplicate Europe’s best at one third the price. I was researching De Tomaso the other day and noted they unveiled the mid-engined Mangusta in 1966. Yet it took the Americans not 10, not 20, not 30, not 40, but close to 50 years to come up with a production mid-engine Corvette. If I recall my WWII history, it took the Americans only less than a decade to field their own fighter jets after the Germans surprised them in WWII with the Me262 fighter jet pitted against our internal combustion fighters.

In today’s world, the American auto industry can’t afford to move at such a snail’s pace. I’m talking setting 36 months as a deadline for introducing a hybrid Corvette. I say show a concept at the 2022 auto shows and take orders, and predict they will be swamped (it’s happened before with the Hummer EV) .

Once we enthusiasts waited with baited breath to see the newest sports cars–and marveled jaws agape at the powerful bulge of a hood scoop, or the sensuous curve of a fender. But now we’re (hopefully) more mature and realize it’s what’s under the engine lid (can’t say “hood” on a mid-engine car, can we?) that counts in terms of survivability in an era of performance-strangling legislation.

I want to live to see production versions of a mid-engined Corvette hybrid V6 go mano-a-mano against a production mid-engine Ferrari V6 hybrid on a track. We don’t have to wait 50 years. GM could do have it in production within 36 months. The Ferrari would lose…especially in pricing.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss a native of Detroit, still remembers being inspired by seeing Duncan Renaldo driving a new ’54 Corvette at the Michigan State Fair…

 
 

 

 

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Editorial: The Need for a Corvette Hybrid
Article Name
Editorial: The Need for a Corvette Hybrid
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In today's world, the American auto industry can't afford to move at a snail's pace.
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Comments

  1. If Ferrari can go electric then Corvette can and will too.

  2. Joseph Scheil says

    His knowledge of history is somewhat “cursory”. His jet technology example is just one of the “mistakes”. The Luftwaffe fielded the Me-262 jet in combat July 25, 1944. As a comparison, the Bell P-59, Americas proof of concept jet first flew October 1942, developed from a British Jet engine design that was tested and developed at the same time as the German He-178 in 1939. The first US combat type aircraft was the P-80A Shooting Star and it flew 8 January 1944. The push for development was dangerous and the third aircraft was lost October 1944 killing Milo Burcham at Burbank. Eighty three of them were delivered by war’s end. Jet technology was a wartime imperative. We did not lag by a decade. In 1950 we were fighting the Mig 15 with the superlative F-86 Sabre….

    If he brings up the Mangusta, why does he also not bring up the fact that it was unsuccessful? There were 400 made, and today if you see one its an event! Why? Because it surtvived and it runs! They were a flop and achieved nothing of note for either performace or technology. It was an inexpensive car that suffered from poor handling characteristics, no ground clearance and a poor chassis. This is the case for electrification at any cost? And he forgets about the Fiero? That car sold 370,000 units versus 163,000 Toyota MR2 cars over the same 5 years! Who says we havent been there?

    As far as a hybrid, its not really what the Corvette is, although due to the war against Oil, it may need it to survive. But to go to a V6 is a mistake. Maserati has NEVER been successful here due to at least one of these reasons; quality, syling or cost, so celebrating one of their products is generally a short sighted move. WHy anyone would want to see a “mano a mano” V6 battle on the track is rediculous. We want to see the C8 Z06 attack the F8 or at some point….the Pista. To say that a buyer who wants a V6 hybrid is “more mature” is terrifying. I suppose then that when we are all grown up it is expected we buy golf carts or drive to the stores in our I3 BMW’s…..? Take up landscaping. Writing accurate editorials is not your thing.

  3. Order some bandages because somebody just got burned, lol
    The early reports I read said that a hybrid version was in the foreseeable future for this Corvette anyway.

  4. wallace wyss says

    I have never seen a painting of an American jet fighter vs. a German jet fighter during WWII. What happened after WWII is a different ball park. You can have the greatest weapon , better than your adversary, but if you don’t make it to the field of battle, it’s money wasted.

    As for Ric, f”oreseeable future” is vague stalling, GM has more resources than Ferrari, so use them…

    • I just remember they stated at the beginning that a hybrid was in the cards for this platform I don’t set their schedule but I’m pretty sure they want to sell a lot of ice in the Corvette for as long as they can. But let me get this straight, you don’t like car companies going electric but you complain that GM isn’t going fast enough to electric?

    • Joe Scheil says

      You may have not seen a painting but that is aviation art and not, the historical record. As far as money wasted because it was not done before war’s end, that’s ridiculous too. Historically all the shooting war can be seen as is a period of direct conflict. We all expected the war to continue, and though the shooting war ended in Europe in May there was a race for east and west to capture technology to prepare for the next one. We broke the sound barrier with a rocket plane shaped like a .50 caliber Browning bullet. Five years after the War we fought again, the German/British technology developments fought American Technology over Korea. For two and a half years those battles tested what we had developed regarding swept wings and jet engines. The accelerated pace of that war created both heavy bombers and the air tankers to supply them for the next decades, and brought us the 707 and eventually the peerless 747. Vietnam and the occasional conflicts continue to push the boundaries and capabilities of tech and engineering. There is NEVER a finish line, or wasted money. It’s the cost of education.

      But the automotive battle, building the best cars and the desire for the market in having them has been hijacked. A huge percentage of the people have been duped by the “smart” and “green” crowd into believing that inefficient coal or oil based electrical generation holds the key to future transportation. Political posturing and a fervent group of prophets ignore physical laws and create policy to benefit a new class of companies that create machines where the environmental cost of production, use and disposal is not allowed to be measured. No evidence of the environmental carnage of these things is allowed by any mainstream news media, At the same time, the war on oil will make offshore oil producers rich as American production is strangled. Voting for electrification is perhaps the most ill informed path open to an adult today as it requires no research just belief.

      That Corvette must bow to political pressure is inevitable and truthfully safe for GM’s future. But to suggest we (the Corvette faithful) should bow to a passing fad or fashion is ridiculous….

  5. wallace wyss says

    I don’t like pure electric because wind and water power are unreliable sources of energy and if a majority of people have electrics no place to charge up when the power goes out. I’d opt for hybrid now and pure electrics when they have a reliable source of electricity (oh throw out nuclear power too…)

    • Wally, you may mean solar power not water power being unreliable because as far as I know tides are reliable and they are the source of water power generators. As for having enough chargers when we have more electric cars on the road I don’t worry about that in the least. Smarter people than you or I are leading us to electric powered vehicles and it isn’t something you or I can change so why worry bout it? And we won’t even be here in the 20 or 30 years it will take the big change happen. As for your comment on nuclear power it is obscure but being a very dirty power with tons of radioactive waste I will assume you like it because your type seems to be in favor of more pollution and waste on every issue.

      • Rick,

        I believe when Wally wrote about water power he meant hydropower, which is electricity generated from water falling over a dam or waterfall (like Hoover Dam or Niagara Falls). This electricity generation can be at risk because of the shortage of water in the western US and maybe other places.

  6. wallace wyss says

    When you say “smarter people than you or I are leading” I remember many inventions that were oh-do-good, like the Concorde, until they crashed. I’m not ready to follow every pied piper that comes along. And where;s your electric car? I can envision a horror scene–say some fire in Malibu where houses are disappearing at the rate of one a minute The people with gasoline cars get in and drive away. The people with electric cars sit there–because there was a power cut-off the night before.

  7. John Shea says

    The US power grid is woefully obsolete,. anyone who thinks it could replace petroleum in our lifetime is a complete fool.

  8. Sal Cerniglia says

    The sooner the better!

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