By on August 27, 2020

gm

There’s nothing green about the 2020 (or near identical 2021) Corvette Stingray’s powertrain, but those who developed General Motors’ new mid-engine sports car will apparently have a say in the development of virtuous vehicles to come.

A new report, backed up by GM, claims the Corvette’s engineering team will set up shop in the General’s exhaust-free autonomous and electric vehicles program come September.

Citing an internal source, corvetteforum.com revealed Thursday that the Corvette Engineering team will be moved from the Global Projects program that only just birthed the C8, and onto future green products. GM’s committed to going emissions-free, mentioning to whomever will listen that its future is all-electric. The pandemic has done nothing to temper that outlook.

Ken Morris, Vice President of Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs, confirmed the move, telling Corvette Forum, “General Motors is committed to an all-electric future. I’m excited to be putting the team that redefined supercar performance, design and attainability in key roles to help us integrate and execute our EVs to those same high standards.”

While the news left many wondering what this all means for the expected Z06 and ZR1 variants of the C8 Corvette, the report’s author soon confirmed that the remainder of the C8 program is a go.

It’s possible the hotter versions of the C8 might source some of their ponies from electrons, not hydrocarbons. GM, like Ford, is certainly eager to prove to customers that electrification can improve the sporting experience, not hamper it.

As for who goes where inside GM, InsideEVs reports:

In practical terms, the shift will see Tadge Juechter stay on as the Executive Chief Engineer for Global Corvette. He has been involved with the Corvette program for its past three generations. Ed Piatek, the Corvette Chief Engineer will have a new role and title: Chief Engineer – Future Product. Finally, Josh Holder is being named Chief Engineer for Global Corvette, taking Piatek’s place.

Thus far, GM’s official future product plans do not include an electric sports car, with pickups and crossovers being the go-to bodystyles. That’s where volume lies, at least in the non-electric world. With the Corvette team’s move, this could all change.

[Image: General Motors]

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37 Comments on “Report: GM Moves Corvette Braintrust to Electric Vehicle File...”


  • avatar
    MeJ

    I think it’s a smart move considering the Corvette is one of the only GM vehicles most people are interested in.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Agreed. Its seems the Corvette team actually cares vs the rest of GM that just pushes out whatever they are told to do and goes home early. However I believe that is because the Corvette team is given a much larger budget and shares engineers with their professional racing team. One of the reasons I bought a C7 is because the tech is truly impressive, the engineers did an amazing job with the car. Even more so with the C8 it seems.

      I believe we are also seeing a shift in the concept behind EVs. At first they were alternatives to gas, nothing but small eco-boxes nobody purchased outside of the Prius. Now they are beginning to leverage the instant torque and performance aspects to make cars faster. Telsa started with a roadster, its clear they figured this out early on: people will pay more for performance so if EV tech is expensive best to put into a pricey sports car.

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        Prius is not an EV. Funny how many people I’ve seen make that statement lately.

      • 0 avatar

        The main difference is Tesla has a stellar reputation, while GM is considered a mediocre has been in the industry.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        +1 on the shift to EV, JMII.

        I think we’re seeing the same dynamic here that we saw with things like personal computers and smartphones – the tech was new, so the first products were very expensive. My dad bought an IBM PC AT in 1984 for his business, and the machine, printer and software cost upwards of ten grand.

        Meanwhile, folks just aren’t interested in stuff like Leafs and Bolts right now – they’re basically $35,000 compacts, and there isn’t much of a market for that, electric or not. And true “greenies” basically regard cars as necessary evils, so good luck trying to sell them on spending fifteen grand more than they’d spend on a new Corolla.

        But the tech here is rapidly improving, as it did with PCs and smartphones.

        I think the upcoming VW electric CUV will be a good harbinger of how the market will accept moderately priced EVs. Unlike the Bolt and Leaf, it’s got some style, and if it’s priced right and performs right, it might just catch on.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The Corvette just makes the Corvette interesting. It’s far enough removed from Chevrolet that it’s its own brand. Never mind Buick, Cadillac, GMC.

      The Corvette should have gigantic, puke yellow bowtie emblems all over it. At least.

      You’re darn right it would taint its image, but that’s the concept behind halo cars. The Ford GT may not sell many Fords, but it’s got Ford’s stink all over it.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Corvette can be more “green” then one might think. I have a road trip high of 32MPG for nearly the entire tank. Not so shabby…Now, get on it for much of that tank and low teens are yours…

    I’d buy, or at least consider, an electric Vette. As long as the performance was there…

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I have managed 33 MPG with my C7 so yes it can do it. On track its gets around 7 MPG but the smiles-per-gallon are off the charts.

      The only problem I have with a battery powered sports car would be the lack of a great exhaust note and it could no longer be a track toy unless there is some break-thru in charging time.

      For a daily driver EVs makes perfect sense. My brother has Cayenne Hybrid and gets around 70 MPG on his commute. About 80% of his drive is pure battery power as he crawls in traffic for an hour. He tops off his electrons at work and home.

  • avatar
    craiger

    “GM is committed to a bankruptcy future.”

    I’m beginning to suspect that pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory is what GM does best.

  • avatar
    17andCounting

    Nothing green about the Corvette? I got 28 mpg round trip from New England to the Woodward Cruise Detroit – 2019 in my C7. Rest assured not hypermile driving. Better than many of the empty pickups and SUV’s common today I’d reason. Define green: 30, 40, 50 mpg? EV?

  • avatar

    An electric Corvette will sell about as well as the defunct Cadillac EV. GM had destroyed their one competitive car.

    Barra now has solidified herself as the worst GM CEO ever. Forbes already has her ranked ad the third worst CEO of 2020. After this inane move she could win the worst CEO of 2020!

  • avatar

    These are the 10 WORST CEO’s as rated by staff
    1) Micheal Kasbar (4% rating) – World Fuel Services
    2) Mary Barra (6% rating) –
    3) Christopher Crane (8% rating) – Exelon
    4) Noel White (8% rating) – Tyson Foods
    5) James Gorman (9% rating) – Morgan Stanley
    6) A. James Teague (9% rating) – Enterprise Products Partners
    7) Richard Hume (9% rating) – Tech Data
    8) Stefano Pessina (23% rating) – Walgreen Boots Alliance
    9) Michael Tipsord (34% rating) – State Farm Insurance
    10) Larry Merlo (35% rating) – CVS Health

    Mary is now in second place. This destructive move will put her into first place. Not even Roger Smith was voted worse CEO of the year.

    General Motors

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Haven’t we had enough of this “anything electric has to be green posturing” claptrap yet? It isn’t about that, and it definitely won’t be that way with an electric ‘Vette. Want proof? Read on.

    What is the only EV that sells in big numbers? It’s clearly Tesla. And while I’m sure many Tesla owners like the idea that they’re environmentally friendly, most buy them because they’re cool-looking, high-tech, and FAST. A Tesla in Ludicrous Mode is an automotive rocket sled. If any of these reasons sound familiar, they should – it’s the same reasons people buy a BMW or Mercedes. Teslas don’t sell because they’re “green-mobiles” – they sell because they’re the best yuppie-mobile you can buy right now.

    Meanwhile the true “green-posturing” vehicles – i.e., Bolt, Leaf, and the smattering of electric Hyundais – sell in far lower numbers than Tesla, despite being far less expensive. Let’s face it: “greenies” basically don’t like cars much to begin with, and they regard car ownership as a necessary evil. Given that, why would they buy a $35,000 Bolt over, say, a $20,000 Corolla? And to someone who’s not into “being green,” the same financial calculus applies.

    That tells me one thing about the current EV market: it’s biased towards luxury, prestige and performance, not “being green.” No one’s succeeded with a “green-mobile” EV.

    And that brings us back to the electric ‘Vette. Is ANYONE going to buy this as an expression of their zero-carbon-footprint lifestyle? Hell no – they’ll buy them for the same reasons they buy “regular” ‘Vettes – performance. And an electric ‘Vette will probably be mind-bendingly fast.

    At some point, the tech needed to make Teslas and electric ‘Vettes as fast as they are will bleed affordably into more plebeian rides, and that’s when we’ll see the big upsurge in mid-priced EV sales. But for now, electrification is all about being cool and fast, and an electric ‘Vette will surely be both.

    • 0 avatar

      The only people that buy electric cars are the socially conscious rich, which is a niche that Tesla has carved out for itself. GM is wasting a lot of time designing electric vehicles that will not sell in significant numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @akear: “The only people that buy electric cars are the socially conscious rich”

        Where do you get that bit of information? It’s not about social consciousness. Electrics are smoother, quieter, and faster than ICE cars. Why wouldn’t that be a priority? Maybe someone’s idea of a luxury vehicle doesn’t include 4 cylinders and a CVT? You need to educate yourself and get past the political crap.

        • 0 avatar

          GM cannot even sell 20,000 Bolts a year. There is simply not the demand to justify GM current foray into electric vehicles. Toyota has a more rational approach to EVs. They are looking at the market in the long term to see if there is justification to pursue EVs. GM is just jumping on the EV bandwagon at the behest of Wall Street.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Akear: “Toyota has a more rational approach to EVs. They are looking at the market in the long term to see if there is justification to pursue EVs.”

            What are you talking about? Toyota leads in the number of solid-state battery patents and is planning for a 2025 introduction. They also have numerous EVs on the way. They have six models on the way before 2025.

            By the way, the Bolt has outsold the Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, and the Sonic. Maybe it’s not the electric power that keeps the sales low?

            The ICE could be dead soon, so they have to cover their bets. Huge advances in batteries that may be coming sooner than we think. Here’s one example. While I’m still skeptical, if these guys don’t perfect it, someone else will. Then it’s lights out for ICE power. No auto company wants to be Baldwin Locomotive that thought steam engines would last into the 80’s or Kodak.

            Again, everyone seems to make claims like this, so take it with a grain of salt of two. Still, the technology seems promising. If it’s perfected, ICE is deader than a doornail:

            http://ndb.technology

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, yeah, I’d say the market for a really dorky-looking $35,000 compact car is about 20,000 units a year.

            GM’s mistakes with the Bolt were a) making it so dumb looking, and b) not making it a CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            So how many units do you think the Bolt CUV will sell?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Good question, ajla – I haven’t seen any official pictures of it.

            If I were them, though, I’d make it look more mainstream than not…think Buick Encore GX with some “electric” styling touches.

        • 0 avatar
          Dartdude

          I can see the headline. California governor announces electricity rationing. Today the 5 freeway came to a halt as many under charged electric cars died on the eastbound lanes tying up traffic for 6 hours. Due to electricity rationing.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            What about the gas pumps? What do they run on? I’m assuming if there was electricity rationing, there would be limited time at the pumps and long lines.

            How about hurricane(s) takes out oil refineries. Governor institutes gas rationing?

            Can’t ration what you get from your roof. Solar is down to about $1.49 per Watt. It’s getting cheaper. If you want another route, get a natural gas-powered generator. Bloom, maker of commercial grade natural gas solid oxide fuel cells is talking about a home version of their product. I often charge at a facility that has the commercial version. They work great.

            The beauty of electric power is that there are a lot of alternate sources to find your juice. You can use a gas generator or solar panels. With gas ICE cars, only gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Socially conscious”? I’m sure some Tesla buyers are, I used to live in one of the most politically conservative parts of Denver, where about 80% of the folks were registered Republicans, and Teslas are thick on the ground down there. In fact, you’ll find more of them in that part of town than you will in up in Boulder, which is about as left wing (and VERY affluent, by the way) as it gets.

        They’re status-mobiles, just like BMWs were in the ’80s.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          It’s also a socialite excuse to not know your dipstick from a…
          And gas pumps are so damn dirty, and you have to get out and the truckers are staring at you and you need a (rape) shower afterwards.

          And it’s worse if you’re female!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            LOL…seriously, though, being able to refuel my car at night in my own garage would appeal to me, particularly if I had solar. You can’t beat that for convenience.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          The CFO at my wife’s previous company bought a Tesla. He previously owned a Audi S8. He just wanted something fast and cool with lots of tech that his kids fit in. Not having to deal with gas was a bonus.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Which is easier and quicker to implement?

    A) Tesla learns to paint a vehicle and attach a rear fascia as well as GM.

    B) GM learns to build EV batteries, motors and controllers as well as Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      They have to learn to paint a vehicle and attach the body parts as well as GM at the volume GM does it. That is not an especially easy task, especially when talking numbers like what their trucks sell at. If it was especially easy, they’d have done it by now. Not that they can’t but the gap between those two taskings is much smaller especially given that GM has built multiple generations of EV’s now that while not setting the sales floor on fire, have been reliable by all accounts.

      i am pretty far from being a defender of GM, but bolting together as many vehicles as they do and achieving reasonable assembly quality is a pretty gargantuan task. I am sure at this point Tesla realizes this.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I think Tesla has had this market basically all to itself for a few years now. People are willing to put up with Tesla’s less-than-stellar build quality because the product is so damn cool. But competition is definitely coming.

      I’ll be most interested to see how VW does with the upcoming electric CUV. It’s a pretty cool looking vehicle. And I’m pretty impressed with the GM Ultium battery on paper. Both these companies have a long history of manufacturing things in actual factories, not tents.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “But competition is definitely coming.”

        I personally have little confidence in GM or VW succeeding here (at least in North America). I think Tesla is will continue dominating volume for at least the next decade.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I agree – Tesla has the upper end of the market pretty much sewn up for now.

          In the middle market, I think the ID4 has a shot, personally – it’s a good looking vehicle that doesn’t scream “Look at me – I’m a dorky electric car!” If it’s priced sanely and performs to expectations, I think it could steal quite a few sales from the Model Y.

          The upcoming Cadillac EV seems to have the goods technically, but the styling is a mess.

          I’ll also be “that guy” and say the Mustang Mach E is going to sell.

  • avatar

    Toyota already has the world’s best selling Hybrid vehicles. The hybrid RAV4 is the best selling of its kind in the world. In fact it is now Toyota’s best seller in the US! Unlike GM, Toyota did not have to tank 40% of its car line up to produce electric vehicles.

    GM makes me sick.

  • avatar

    GM can DESIGN a vehicle…and Corvette is the best of the best. Where GM falls down, every time, is that they are cheap. Great designs end up with bean counter suspension or engine. Commodity parts shared across lines are built by worldwide lowest bidders and only have to last through warranty. Cadillac, a supposed premium brand, is killed by this every time.

    Poaching Corvette engineers isn’t the magic solution-I’m sure they will DESIGN a great car…what comes out of GM Assembly is another Question.

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