Bob Lutz Predicts Next-Generation Corvette Will Be Offered As Plug-In Hybrid


The next-generation Chevrolet Corvette is expected to go on sale in 2019. Sources are now claiming that the next-gen Vette will be mid-engined.

Not that far removed from the inner workings of GM, Bob Lutz likely has the inside scoop on what the company has planned for the future

Not long removed from the inner workings of GM, Bob Lutz likely has the inside scoop on what the company has planned for the future

None of this information would matter to us if it not for a comment made by none other than the father of the Chevrolet Volt, Bob Lutz.

Before we turn our attention to the words of Lutz, let us first examine the speculative words from the Detroit News:

“The mid-engine format would allow GM more flexibility to make performance variants — perhaps an all-wheel drive, plug-in hybrid model with electric motors driving the front wheels.”

Seems logical and Lutz backs this assumption.

Lutz, in an email to the Detroit News, speculates that the Corvette’s “long lead time — the C8 wouldn’t go into production until late 2018 — foreshadows an electric version with 10- to 15-mile plug-in electric capability.”

Quoting Lutz:

“That would only require a 5-kWh battery, or $1,300 at today’s lithium-ion prices (plus motors and control hardware). It would be enough to give it a 50 mpg city label, and the electric motors at the front would enable limited AWD capability.”

As a word on Lutz’s credibility here – the mid-engined Corvette of the future was his project at GM.

The recently announced $800 million investment into the Bowling Green, Kentucky Corvette plant, was the about the same amount that Lutz initially got approved for a mid-engine Corvette just before the company went into bankruptcy and had to put future plans on hold in 2009.

As part of the original mid-engine program, Bob states that a Cadillac version was also intended to be build along side the next generation Corvette.

Let’s hope in this case Lutz still has his finger on the pulse of GM, and there is a plug-in Corvette heading our way…now the waiting game begins.

Source: Detroit News

Categories: Chevrolet

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63 Comments on "Bob Lutz Predicts Next-Generation Corvette Will Be Offered As Plug-In Hybrid"

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I could see some appeal to a pure BEV, but can’t see a PHEV Vette…If you want the quiet/smooth, why bother having a powerful, loud and vibrating ICE engine?

Just ask the buyers of the BMW i8 or the Volkswagen GTE.. both are performance cars with small plug-in capability. I suspect there are a few reasons that this appeals to both manufacturers and customers:
1) makes it seem more like a Tesla
2) gives it more acceleration power without hurting fuel economy.
3) Just because somebody drives a sports car every day doesn’t mean they want to drive it “like” a sports car every day.

BMW i8 is very unique, you get one stand out, it isn’t like they make an ICE i8…It also a very low volume seller that dealers have had to liquidate…BMW also announced they will offer a BEV version…

1. It’s nothing like a Tesla…15 miles of range would maybe equate to one WOT quarter mile run, if that’s even possible on all BEV, it might not even be possible to accelerate without the ICE…
2. As stated above, Tesla figured out faster acceleration than any production ICE Vette…
3. Why bother with a PHEV? Have a commuter mode running that deactivates all but two cylinders…

A pure BEV Vette makes sense…A low range PHEV doesn’t, which is exactly why GM is probably making it… :/

Haha. In response to your last sentence.

If the past few Le Mans races are any indication, hybrid power is where it is at with regard to pinnacle performance. I’d like to see Corvette expand to become a performance brand with more than one model – keep the current front engine/RWD Vette and introduce this mid engined, hybridized variant.

Those LeMans often weight under 2,000lbs, also pushing nearly 1000 horsepower…Lightest MY17 Vette you can buy is 3300lbs and tack on a couple more hundred for the Z06…Not to mention the Vette and Z06 aren’t that hard to make faster without gaining the weight of the hybrid…If they were going to make a PHEV I would imagine it would be for green purposes vs taking the performance route…

It makes sense if you have no intention of building out a high-speed charging network, hence the better Tesla sales.

Why should GM build out a network for the benefit of all? Tesla did not….

its actually an open standard. and tesla has invited other manufacturers to participate on equal terms. GM could have done this with bolt, they choose not to.

If you have to get approval from a competitor to make your product, it’s not an “open standard.”

That’s why there is no one else making home chargers with Tesla connectors.

You don’t understand a corvette.

A corvette is supposed to be loud and obnoxious. It is not a luxury car. It is a fast car.

Also, batteries do have a huge problem of weight. If you want range, you need weight, and that ruins a supercar’s ability to go around corners.

I think it’s brilliant making it PHEV. The motors will make it faster, more efficient, and better in every measurable way (cornering, quarter mile, track days, comfort, etc).

True. I think in sports car, whether its Porsche dropping plug plans for the 911, or Acura basically doing the above mid-engined front electric setup with little battery, we’re looking at the evolution of electric-drive in sports car. 918, i8, same thing.

Front electric can nail the torque-vectoring that is more stable/faster, while an ICE keeps the weight down and endurance up. It’s progress that will benefit everyone here. Tesla isn’t out there pushing 800Volt tech. They aren’t doing a “Rimac”. People get hung up on things having to come from Tesla. The track, not some silly drag strip, has different demands. Some of us aren’t willing to change the subject!

Mad said:

“A corvette is supposed to be loud and obnoxious. It is not a luxury car. It is a fast car.”

Yes, a Corvette is the poster child for gas guzzlers. So why try to add an EV drivetrain, even a minimalist drivetrain, to the car?

Seems as silly to me as trying to put ailerons and a rudder on a hot air balloon. It just doesn’t fit.

I have been reading your comments for months. I was curious, do you ever have anything positive and not critical to say?

Because Electric is instance wereas Gas take a few seconds to build power. So you use the Electric motor in the slow speeds then switch to gas to get the higher ones.

“why bother having a powerful, loud and vibrating ICE engine?”

At this point it is nothing but nostalgia for their youth.

I will never forget about 10 years ago at a Corvette meeting here in Denmark I said :
The C8 will be hybrid and there will be a full electric C9 as an option – the members couldn’t stop laughing – maybe I can start laughing now ?

Tell your skeptical buddies the Americans have a saying: “He who laughs last, laughs best.”

Ha! You nailed it.

Similar story here. I was looking at a 2017 Volt last month and while there I checked out a Corvette. Nicest design in decades, IMO. I told the salesman that Chevy needs to go hybrid on it and he looked at me like I was some kind of freak.

I don’t know but I am starting to hate vetts (or maybe there drivers ) ever sence I got my model s ever small ick vett has to rev his moter at me the funny thing is they always do it when there going the other way

They are not revving their engines. It’s called the Doppler effect.

Sound waves are compressed when the object is approaching you, causing them to sound higher pitched, higher frequency. Then as the car passes the sound waves, are stretched out, occurring with less frequency, lower pitched.

As Kdawg says. The above was my attempt at explaining the Doppler Effect.

You know why…Kluk kluk kluk CHICKEN !!!

Does anyone remember GM’s Autonomy Concept car in 2002 … skateboard chassis, electric motors on each wheel, drive-by-wire? It seems a perfect chassis for the new Corvette! Just replace the fuel cells and hydrogen tanks with Li-ion batteries and use their new, more powerful electric motors … who needs an ICE for performance anymore? Oh, I almost forgot, Tesla has already used that design…

Tesla uses this platform because it’s the “most logical” platform form for the EV application .It’s Tesla Designed and engineered… has nothing to do with GM ‘s Ancient Idea……..

I remember it. No sooner do I say “Until GM electrifies their brand-identifying models” than Bob Lutz makes this comment. Show us the prototype!

Bob Lutz Is soooo F. O. S. …..that his eyes are Brown.He should’ve Gave it up while he was ahead, at least 25yrs ago..

And Where’s Bob’s Hybrid PICKUP TRUCK? Have they broking 10,000 sales yet?

Two Volt batteries are good for 420 HP car. Having one Volt battery would be good for about 200 HP. Use that EV drive train as FWD and existing 640 HP gas engine for RWD, for combined 840 HP AWD “Tesla beater”. It would have decent AER to boot, instead of just 15 miles.

Link to 420 HP kit car with two Volt batteries and Tesla motor

I don’t see the point to high-end ICE cars anymore. If you want luxury then you want the clean, quiet, non-vibrating, 100% torque at 0 RPM, no-lurching-transmission luxury of a electric.

ICE is for people that can’t afford a big battery or for people that regularly drive really long distances. I don’t see why anyone who has the money would subject themselves to gasoline fill-ups, stinky toxic exhaust, oil changes, smog checks, tune-ups, etc.


It is a bit snobby to say that but I think the price of EVs will continue to come down so that all of us can drive them eventually.

ICE just seems so clunky after you go electric. But they do still have the advantage in refuel speed. But in 97% of normal daily driving, that’s irrelevant.

Yeah. Replaced my car with an electric assist bicycle, got an electric lawnmower, weed whip, chainsaw. Hopefully, soon to replace the wife’s ICE with an electric car.

But going all electric for conventional cars will only reduce the environmental impact fractionally. We need exponential reduction over the next few decades. Cars must go.


I love EVs, but really I also love the BMW i8. Bit sound and vibrations if you want, othertwise on your daily drive you can run in EV mode.

Doesn’t the i8 make fake engine noise from the speakers?


Kdawg said:

“Doesn’t the i8 make fake engine noise from the speakers?”

Hmmm, well actually I wish that was standard for all PEVs. It might help push some of those on the fence into buying one.

The problem with the i8 is that, like this idea for a Corvette with a 5 kWh battery pack, it’s only a micro-PHEV.

I predict the e-Vette will be delivered BEFORE the first Via Motors truck…..

Kosh: Via Motors markets it PHEV V-Trux and vans to fleet buyers, and it has delivered many such vehicles to them.

Does this old Dinosaur still work for GM?…

Why am I less and less interested in the thoughts of Bob Lutz?

I well past the time he should have hopped on his Segway and rolled off into the sunset.

Because he is played.

And yes, he is a Dinosaur!

Stephen Hodges asked:

“Why am I less and less interested in the thoughts of Bob Lutz?”

It does seem like he’s less and less relevant every time I see a new quote from him. Bob certainly deserves kudos for pushing GM into developing and marketing the Volt, but he’s beginning to remind me of (Arthur C.) Clarke’s First Law:

“If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

One interesting side note is reliability…Top Fuel dragsters engines are dissembled and rebuilt between runs…How do formula-E cars last compared to ICE formula?

Not very long when they crash:)
Don’t know much about the motor and inverter part, but it seems the battery is holding good.
Because they kept the same pack design of the first season but increase their power output and capacity window twice since.

Psst, Bob Lutz… How about paying some attention to your _own_ company? V

IA Motors is ~4 years late to market according to its own past announcements. Last PR from the company was over a year ago… What gives? Why haven’t sales started?

I haven’t been watching Via Motors, but are you sure they aren’t selling vehicles yet?

The article linked below says production started in January 2015:

They have not. There was an uber-government incentive program/initial investments that spurred some captive fleet sales…but would not class this a production at all.

Basically (as we understand it) the issue is: VIA started underfunded, and is out of working capital to start retail production. Until they find someone to write a check to make their products a reality…they won’t be. And Bob has only been associated by name with VIA for quite some time.

Having a 5kwh battery in a PHEV is just dumb. Charge it from regen and ICE. Leave the heavy charging stuff out.

Using a 5kwh battery to increase launch performance and turn vectoring via awd is good.

Unlike the magpies here, I respect what Mr. Lutz says, although I am puzzled with what is going on at VIA. In any event, he is not in a decision-making position at GM any longer, and while he may informally be sought out for his advice (a good idea in my view), ultimately the decision rests with others. Seeing as the initial CORVETTE had a 2 speed powerglide automatic and a 6 cylinder engine, the complete CORVETTE legacy doesn’t absolutely require 800 horsepower in every vehicle sold. One of the appeals of the BMW I8 is one of a very sporty car with reasonable acceleration from a relatively diminutive ICE and electric motors. I think there is room for a Corvette with a smallish engine, and a somewhat larger battery than 5 kwh, – I don’t think 18 kwh would be out of the question – allowing local drives to be totally silent and electric (provided you can shut off that pedestrian spaceman noise). There is some GM precedent for it in the Volt itself, and the upcoming CT6 – also available currently with a 2000 cc turbo, and in the near future, the same engine with a few electric… Read more »

A Magpie, is considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world…

Bob does’t have a Crystal Ball…

This is just a news story.

That’s true, they can solve problems, unlike Bob Lutz.

Yup, they are smart enough to form words by stroking their keyboards.

He seems like such a likeable guy to me, and he has a great record of accomplishment; both characteristics seem to often go together.

There’s no shortage of obnoxious characters though – so its nice when you find someone making intelligent statements as he has.

If it wasn’t for him there wouldn’t be any where near as successful a vehicle as the Chevy Volt or Caddy ELR.

Perhaps we would all be saying how great the FORD Energi products are (since that’s all there would be in the low-priced field), or, perhaps without friendly competition from GM, there wouldn’t have been any pressure at all on Ford to release anything electric at all.

Okay Smarty Pants. We’ll see how well Chevy does with the upcoming Bolt.

Compliance cars aside Ford Dealers do not want to sell BEV’s because they fear losing money on the Service side.

I doubt Chevy Stores will be much different w/ BEV sales.

Bill Howland said:

“If it wasn’t for him there wouldn’t be any where near as successful a vehicle as the Chevy Volt or Caddy ELR.”

Hmmm, I hope that when you say “successful” you’re referring only to performance and driving experience. Business-wise, it certainly wasn’t a successful model for Cadillac!

“That would only require a 5-kWh battery…”

Despite the proliferation of acronyms in the EV field, I think we need a new term: micro-PHEV.

I certainly don’t agree with the purist “only a BEV is really an EV” crowd, but with such a minuscule battery pack, could this car run under any circumstances (other than downhill) without an assist from the ICEngine?

This reminds me of the mild (non-plug in) hybrids that auto makers were making just a few years ago; cars which only got a mild assist from their electric motors, which improved their MPG rating by only a handful of miles.

Adding a plug to such cars seems more like greenwashing to me, rather than a true PEV. That is, I don’t see this as a car which replaces a significant amount of its gas-powered miles with electric-powered ones.

According to Lutz, batteries cost $260 per kwh

plug-in hybrid = green wash and clog up charging infrastructure!


The biggest hogs I know at work are BEV owners who are too cheap to charge at home. Since on average they live closer to work than PHEV owners and they ONLY charge at work and hogs the chargers all day.

Yes, the biggest jerk I know among EV communities are those BEV purist that hate PHEVs…

In 1953 the Corvette first appeared. Since then 1,595,026 Vettes have been sold through 2015 for an average yearly sales total of just 25-26,000 vehicles. There have been good and bad sales years, for example, just recently, in 2012 only 11,627 Corvettes were sold.

Corvette has never had a year when they even got close to 100,000. Yet, the car is an American icon. The mythology of the car is enormous, while sales have been modest at best.

With Tesla sports sedans beating the Corvette at the drag strip, I can see why Chevy is considering an electric model.

Back to the Olympics….