Earlier this week, Chevrolet announced that an iconic car would undergo a major overhaul. According to GM President Mark Reus, the Corvette-America will evolve to take the supercar-electric motor. He announced on April 25 that an “electrified” model would be launched next year, while an “electric” model would follow some later. It is hoped that these battery-and-electric-motor-enhanced curves prove that the future of EVs and hybrids will not be bleak.
The appeal of the Corvette in general is that it brings to the larger middle class the masses what was once only available in supercars. Launched in 2020, the C8-Generation Corvette is the first widely available mid-engine supercar to carry the Corvette name, with a starting price of $ 60,900 within the reach of many buyers.
But the recent announcement raises a question that many may ask: What is the difference between an electric car and an electric car?
Broadly, under the EVR umbrella, battery electric vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles (sometimes called self-charging hybrids), and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles. Hundreds of new cars fitting these three categories are available today. Here’s how it all breaks down.
It is electric
It’s simple: anything described as “electric” is going to pack a full battery electric powertrain. The defining feature of an electric car is, of course, that it does not use any petrol. While electric vehicles are nothing new, they have only become mainstream in the last decade, with the introduction of the Nissan Leaf in 2010 and the Tesla Model S in 2012. Today, electric vehicles come in all sorts of configurations, from large SUVs and pickup trucks to compact sedans like the GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1T, Porsche’s Taycan and Hyundai’s Ioniq. These rides use a large battery capacity, providing a range of 100 to 500 miles in charge depending on the model.
It is electrified
Meanwhile, hybrid electric vehicles have spread widely for nearly 20 years, the most well-known example being the Toyota Prius, although everything from the Dodge Ram pickup to Acura’s NSX sports car is available with a hybrid drive. Such vehicles usually do not carry a large battery pack and cannot run on electric power alone for any meaningful distance. A standard hybrid electric motor is usually only available to assist petrol engines. The goal in this case is basically to improve efficiency, although it comes at the expense of additional complexity. Running a hybrid electric car means you’ll still be dependent on gasoline for the ride, but hopefully it will burn less.
A plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) is like a standard hybrid, it has both a petrol engine and at least an electric motor. The primary difference with the PHEV architecture is that electric motors are powerful enough to propel a car to normal driving without a petrol engine fire, and these plug-ins typically have enough battery power to power electric motors up to a dozen or more miles. Absolutely.
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Plenty of PHEVs are available in the market today with daily drivers like Toyota Rav4 Prime or Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid. With a place to plug in at home or at work, a PHEV can save its owner money on gasoline. It will have the most advantages of an electric car, able to travel around the city without burning a single drop, but still be able to travel long distances without long stops to recharge.
Like a non-plug-in hybrid, once the battery pack is exhausted, the car will recharge through a regenerative braking system to keep efficiency high even if it doesn’t charge for a while. Unlike a traditional hybrid, however, you can plug the car into a charger if you wish to replenish that power and continue your trip in full electric mode.
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There is another type of plug-in that is a bit more rare: range-extended battery electric cars are more electric than gas-powered. With a large battery that allows the car to run on full electric power every day, a ReX EV has a small gasoline engine that uses it as a generator to recharge the battery on the go. BMW recently rolled out the i3 ReX in a phased manner, and Mazda is set to launch a new range-enhanced MX-30 plug-in within a year.
These types of vehicles include Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and Range-Extended EV যা, commonly known as an “electrified” vehicle. The term is a catch-all to describe something that uses electricity as a conduit, but still has a gas tank. These are the intermediaries that will help transform the world away from gasoline into an electric future that awaits.
The future of Corvette, both electric and electrified
Electrified vehicles don’t just use that battery power for efficiency.
For nearly a decade, high-end sports car manufacturers have been employing hybrid drivetrains to improve the performance of their fastest machines. In 2013, Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren launched the so-called Hybrid Hypercar to compete with each other, costing $ 1 million or so. The 918 Spyder, LaFerrari, and P1 each produced about 1,000 horsepower in a combination of high-output gasoline engines and electric motors. Since then, automakers around the world have launched dozens more performance-based hybrids.
Using GM’s ultra-efficient Altium battery platform, the upcoming hybrid Corvette will probably use its electrical power to go faster rather than deliver a better fuel economy, although it will. The recently launched Corvette Z06 has a 670-horsepower V8 engine mounted on the back of the passenger bogie. It would be reasonable for Chevrolet to use this high-powered ‘VAT’ as a jumping off point for high-performance hybrid models. With the rear engine, GM builds a free, all-wheel drive machine with a four-digit horsepower number to get the front wheels free with the electric motor. It will not be too difficult to place a 330-horsepower electric motor on the front axle of a mid-engine corvette. In fact, each of the three motors in the GMC Hummer EV delivers about 330 horsepower.
As a battery-electric corvette, it will probably be available with about 1,000 horsepower. With two motors at the rear and one at the front, the Corvette will still maintain biased power delivery to its rear and gain some fantastic impressive acceleration. We have some time to wait for any BEV Corvette, but GM is committed to introducing 30 new battery-electric cars by 2025, so you can bet that the Chevrolet brand will be one of them.