The Corvette brand is set to expand to include a 4-door car and an SUV, a move that mirrors the pivot Porsche made to cars and SUVs many years ago. The Cayenne was perhaps the smartest move Porsche ever made from a marketing point of view. The Cayenne and the Macan account for more sales every year than the rest of the Porsche model lineup combined. The 4-door Panamera also entices a lot of people to embrace the Porsche brand.
Last April, GM president Mark Reuss said in a LinkedIn post, “We will offer an electrified and a fully electric, Ultium-based Corvette in the future.” Fast forward to the recent General Motors Investors Day event where Reuss said a car based on the C8 Corvette chassis is in the offing. According to Autoblog, he told investors the car would arrive in 2025 and possess “incredible performance.”
Writing in Car and Driver this week, automotive industry sleuth Georg Karcher claims when the battery-electric Corvette debuts, probably in 2025, it will be based on GM’s Ultium platform and include two new models — a 4-door liftback á la the Porsche Taycan, and an SUV to match the Porsche Cayenne/Macan twins. He notes that Ferrari and Maserati are also jumping into the SUV space and that while the Corvette itself contributes little to The General’s bottom line, expanding the lineup to include 4-door cars and SUVs could provide it with a significant source of new revenue.
So what would these new Corvette models be like? Karcher says a source who has seen the prototypes in the flesh claims they are “copies of nothing” that encapsulate “emotional purity.” That’s all very nice, but where’s the beef?
It’s here. Karcher says the mechanical package includes battery packs with high energy density, superfast software, a patented cooling concept, staggered Lego-like topographic packaging (whatever that means), miniaturized componentry, ultra-efficient inverters, high revving electric motors, an 800 volt electrical system that provides up to 350 kW of charging power, a two speed transmission, brake by wire, multi-mode four wheel steering, and torque vectoring. Whew. That’s a lot of stuff. If it’s all true, Ferrari, Maserati, and Porsche better hope GM doesn’t plan to export these new Corvette variants to Europe.
“The aim is not to beat Taycan and Cayenne at their own game but to create three American legends capable of breaking new ground by making the essence of Corvette scalable. To do so, that essence must at all times be in a state of progressive flux,” the source tells Karcher.
People get mesmerized by brands. Drivers of the lowly Chevette could take pride in the fact that their cars were in some tenuous way connected to the mighty Corvette. It’s the “halo car” effect — using the glow of an aspirational vehicle to help increase sales of more ordinary models. We are sure the new cars with the Corvette badge on them will be great automobiles — for the privileged few.
In our heart of hearts, though, we wish American manufacturers would get over their love affair with electric cars that sell for OMG kinds of money and start putting some affordable electric cars in showrooms, cars that real drivers could afford to own. There is a critical shortage of batteries to drive the EV revolution forward and yet those precious batteries are being shoved into 150 kWh and 200 kWh battery packs to make toys for the wealthy.
Perhaps we are being too idealistic. Chevrolet does say it will introduce a new Equinox EV that starts at $30,000 next year and a new Blazer EV that starts at around $45,000, and it does have the Bolt twins that sell for under $30,000 available now. But its production targets are modest. We need more companies to bring mass market EVs to their showrooms. The Earth needs a break from combustion engine cars and trucks and the sooner the better.
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