The Corvette’s Hybrid Future Is Hiding in Plain Sight
Chevrolet has kept quiet about whether an electrified midengine Corvette is in the works, but the owners manual apparently didn’t get the memo.
OK, so “plain sight” might be a bit of an overstatement, but further evidence that a hybrid midengine Chevrolet Corvette is in the cards is right there—if you know where to look. And in this case, you have to look at page 244 of the 2020 Corvette owners manual. You can download your very own copy in PDF form right here if you so desire.
As the wonderful Chevy nerds at Corvette Blogger (who brought this tidbit to our attention) explain, it all has to do with fuses, or at least designated spaces on the Corvette’s rear compartment fuse block.Related Story20 Coupes You Can Buy Instead of the C8 Corvette
First up is fuse No. 7, “Power sounder module/Pedestrian friendly alert function.” That’s a fancy term for the noise electrified cars must make when they are not running on internal combustion power (if they even have an IC engine onboard) in order to keep the people around them aware of their presence. Usually this sound is some sort of vaguely futuristic whir, whine or murmur.
Then, there’s fuse No. 12, which works in conjunction with a “Lithium ion battery module.”
The owners manual information for the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette’s rear fuse block. Pay special attention to slots 7 and 12.CHEVROLET
The latter implies a hybrid system, and the former isn’t necessary on any vehicle that isn’t capable of running, for at least a short distance, on electric power. Neither of these things are true about the 2020 Corvette, though they’d be necessary in the rumored Corvette hybrid. And it would make sense that, if such a car were planned, Chevrolet would build a certain amount of infrastructure for hybrid systems into the car from the very beginning—especially when you’re dealing with something as fundamental as a fuse block.
(For the record, we looked through owners manuals for other new Chevrolet vehicles, including the Blazer; there’s no fuse block openings for these systems, implying that they aren’t something GM simply includes by default as a sort of “just in case” contingency.)Related StoryThe New Midengine Corvette Is a Blast to Drive
This is hardly the first time we’ve speculated about a hybrid Corvette. Such a car would likely place a motor up front (there’s room for one ahead of the front bulkhead, right in between the two front wheels) and tuck batteries away in the center of the car, probably nice and low in a tunnel between the two seats, in order to maintain a low center of gravity and balanced front-rear weight distribution. What remains unknown is what gasoline engine such a system would complement.
A hybrid Corvette could stick with the regular car’s 6.2-liter naturally aspirated LT2 V8, but video suggests that a flat-plane crank V8 appears to be in the works, as well. Giving either of those engines an extra 100-plus hp and all-wheel drive by adding an electric motor to the mix would turn an affordable supercar into an all-American exotic.
In any case, it’s clear that this is just the beginning for the midengine Corvette—and that speculation on what’s next hasn’t died down even after the model’s debut.
Graham Kozak for AutoWeek