Update: ‘Capabilities’ sub-section added to ‘Corvette SUV Specifications.’
While GM has revealed so many future EVs and the plan to hike its EV and AV investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion, the future of the Chevy Corvette in the EV era, and more importantly, if a Chevrolet Corvette SUV will be made, has been a topic of discussion in the Vette community.
While GM has confirmed an all-electric Chevrolet Corvette sports car, it appears to have ideas for additional body types, and a new sub-brand. The following are all the reports on GM’s alleged secret car project:
One of three Corvette EVs in the making
On November 30, 2022, Car And Driver reported based on information obtained from its source at the GM Tech Center that three Corvette EVs are in the pipeline. A two-door sports car will be the first model, similar to the eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette (C8).
Shortly after the first Corvette EV, in 2025, GM will launch a Corvette brand, C&D claims. Going by textbook marketing, Corvette will become a marque like Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, and BrightDrop. The first fruits of the Corvette brand will be an electric four-door coupe and an electric SUV. According to C&D’s source, GM isn’t looking to wrangle with Porsche EVs with its three Corvette EVs. Instead, it wants to “create three American legends.” So what can one expect from a Corvette SUV? Here’s our expectations:
Chevrolet Corvette SUV Design
The person familiar with top-secret Corvette developments mentioned above has seen the proposed designs for the Corvette EVs and suggests GM is taking a clean-sheet approach. As the source puts it, they are “copies of nothing.”
GM’s designers are creating several Chevrolet Corvette concepts that can attract a wide range of buyers, people aware of the company’s developments that are yet to be public told Bloomberg in January 2021. The program is internally called Project R or Brand R, according to Bloomberg’s sources. GM has thought about Corvette derivatives in the past but refrained from taking the risk fearing the nameplate’s dilution.
However, noting Lamborghini achieving great success globally with its Urus, which becomes an EV at the end of this decade, Ferrari announcing the Purosangue, and several other SUV launches or announcements from legacy sports car brands, it could be feeling differently about this prospect.
TopElectricSUV has rigged up a rendering of the all-electric Corvette SUV, inspired by the American sports car.
The front end is low and takes after the C8’s canopy-forward stance, which in turn takes inspiration from fighter jets like the F22 and F35 and also Formula 1 cars. Sleek and sharp headlamps, a hexagonal grille, boxy air inlets featuring a horizontal bar, and a vertical fin on the outer end build an instant connection with the iconic two-door model.
On the sides, the greenhouse is narrow and gets even more so towards the rear, communicating the vehicle’s dynamic nature. The sloping roofline, complex, powerful lines, and broad, muscular shoulder area lend the high-riding Corvette a sporty and aggressive style.
The high beltline, sleek greenhouse, and chunky C-pillar could affect the driver’s visibility when backing up. However, GM will probably equip the Corvette SUV with a 360-degree camera system that makes parking in and out of even the trickiest spots effortless. While we’re on the subject of safety, a raft of other advanced driver assistance systems would ensure the driver and passengers, as well as the oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists, are protected.
Ford (Mustang), Lamborghini, and Porsche tackled their debut in the SUV segment by ensuring their SUVs took plenty of inspiration from their sportscars. Since the Corvette SUV would be an EV, GM’s experience at aerodynamics will come in handy in ensuring a low drag, high-performing electric SUV. The massive air dams, a characteristic of the ‘Vette, could transition to faux vents (similar to what Ford did with the Mustang Mach-E), and the rear could get a more aggressive ‘aero’ treatment as the trademark ‘floating’ exhaust bezel will have no place in the EV.
Overall dimensions would invariably increase slightly to accommodate the rear doors and seats, but given the Z06’s near 4.5-meter length courtesy of a mid-engine placement and the advantages of born-electric vehicle architecture, we wouldn’t expect the Corvette SUV to go beyond 4.7 meters which is where the Mach-E sits.
Chevrolet Corvette SUV Interior
The pure-electric Corvette SUV, by virtue of its body type, will likely be the most practical Corvette ever for everyday tasks like grocery runs and even excursions and long trips. Expect plenty of cargo space to keep golf bags, full-size suitcases, surfboards, and more. Plus, there could be an eTrunk (frunk/front trunk) offering additional cargo space to carry extra duffel bags, a suitcase, or a mini refrigerator.
Guessing what the interior of a Corvette SUV EV could look like, GM would go the extra mile to ensure the cabin is as luxurious as it will be technologically advanced. Not having an ICE would no doubt free up a lot of space for passengers and luggage, and technology could flow in from other premium GM EVs like the Hummer EV.
The driver and central infotainment screens (which measure 12.3- and 13.4-inches respectively in the Hummer EV) with high-end graphics coming from Unreal Engine would be optimized for the sporty character of the ‘Vette SUV.
No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
And while the center screen will come integrated with GM’s infotainment software (co-developed with Google) as standard, it will likely not get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto at all! As per a Reuters report dated April 1, 2023, General Motors does not intend to offer these ubiquitous connected features in their future EVs.
Instead, the American brand plans to integrate new driver-assist technologies that will tie into the car’s advanced onboard navigation system, making all of the infotainment features independent of a user’s smartphone, Executive Director of Digital Cockpit Experience at GM, Mike Hichme, told Reuters. We are quite confident that the Corvette SUV would also feature GM’s own operating system which is developed with Google.
In addition, the electric Corvette would get the UltraVision with High Definition Surround Vision which lets the driver access feeds from 9 exterior cameras on the Hummer EV.
For rear-seat passengers, a flat floor combined with good knee-room, a glass roof to give the feeling of ‘open-top’ motoring, and possibly adaptive seats that adjust side bolstering, or vibrate to compensate for the lack of a V8 and feature integrated speakers with synthesized sounds to further add to the sporty feel, could be seen.
Corvette SUV Specifications
The Chevrolet Corvette electric SUV will not be based on the GM Ultium Platform (third-generation global EV platform) that has so far yielded the GMC Hummer EV pickup, GMC Hummer EV SUV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and the Equinox EV. Citing AutoForecast Solutions and an anonymous source, Autoweek reported on February 28, 2022, that pure-electric Corvette SUV and four-door models will ride on a unique premium architecture.
Car And Driver’s source, as per its November 2022 report, suggested the Corvette SUV would have a battery with high energy density, an innovative cooling method, miniaturized components, highly efficient inverters, high-rpm motors, two-speed transmission, multi-mode four-wheel steering, brake-by-wire, and torque vectoring.
Handling & Performance
The high-riding Corvette would be no match for a conventional Corvette sports car in terms of driving dynamics. However, expect it to at least offer the most thrill in the high-performance electric SUV category. It will have some big names to beat, such as the long-established Tesla Model X, the recently introduced Polestar 3 and Lotus Eletre, and the upcoming Porsche Macan Electric. In the EV world, it’s not a war of numbers—superior straight-line acceleration is a default advantage of the powertrain technology—rather how nimble they are on the twists and turns.
The Ultium platform is designed for high-end parameters like 800-volt operating voltage, 350 kW charging power, 200 kWh battery pack capacity, and 400 miles or more range. An electric Corvette SUV would come very close to the Z06’s 2.6-second time, if not beat it. The Watts to Freedom feature which unleashes the full acceleration capability of the Ultium propulsion system could go through further advancements. Electric motors are also advancing to handle more power, so 2.6 seconds should not be far off for a Corvette SUV.
The Corvette SUV could have multiple variants (dual motor and tri-motor). The most powerful Hummer EV SUV is rated for 830 hp, which is significantly more than the 670 hp from the V8 of the upcoming Z06. Before enthusiasts cry foul over an AWD Corvette, the upcoming hybrid Corvette (Corvette E Ray) is taking the AWD route anyway with an electric motor on the front axle.
The Corvette SUV might not be as fun to drive as the gas-powered versions, but by the virtue of its shape and size, it should offer more utility. Buyers should enjoy plenty of cargo space for groceries, travel bags, bikes, and a lot more. It could be tow-rated for up to around 4,000 lbs., allowing customers to take their vehicles on trailer beds to motoring events.
Bidirectional charging capability should make adventures more fun, allowing customers to use the energy stored in the vehicle’s battery pack to power cooking appliances (eg. an electric grille) and run entertainment electronics (eg. party speakers). EVs stranded because of zero charging could be rescued, too. When the power goes out at home during emergency situations like floods and earthquakes, bidirectional charging could serve as backup power to keep it lit up and running.
GM Ultra Cruise
One of the most attractive features of the Chevrolet Corvette SUV could be Ultra Cruise, which offers “door-to-door hands-free driving” using a combination of radars and cameras, and a LiDAR located behind the vehicle’s windshield. Ultra Cruise will enable true autonomous driving on nearly every road, including city streets, subdivision streets, and paved rural roads, not just highways.
While most customers could be driving enthusiasts, unlike the Corvette coupe/convertible, the Corvette SUV could be a daily driver. Ultra Cruise could come in handy while out for grocery shopping, dropping off/pickup up kids, or the drive across town to the office.
The business case for a Corvette SUV
With the auto industry transitioning to the EV era where a platform as versatile as the Ultium can enable a variety of high-performance, high-revenue vehicles, rumors state GM has been contemplating broadening the Corvette range to an entire family. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas estimates that a Corvette sub-brand could be worth $7 billion to $12 billion.
The pure-electric Chevrolet Corvette SUV will be launched in 2027, according to Autoweek’s intel. Bloomberg reported in January 2021 that sales of the Chevrolet Corvette SUV could begin as early as 2025, but this is no more realistic given where GM is currently with its EV production plans.
Due to the fact that GM needs to deliver many other advanced electric vehicles at scale by 2025, including the Hummer EV pickup and Lyriq, and the Hummer EV SUV, Celestiq, sub-Lyriq EV crossover, Equinox EV, Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and Buick EVs, we doubt that it would be able to start selling a Corvette SUV anytime soon. Bloomberg’s timeline sounds less realistic than Autoweek’s.
No Corvette SUV “yet,” says report
The media has speculated about the Chevrolet Corvette SUV for a long time. Just back on April 12, 2023, Car And Driver reported that it will debut in 2023, albeit with a gas engine. If true, it would’ve been approved by GM management by now.
However, according to a report Muscle Cars & Trucks published on April 18, 2023, the company has not given the green signal to a Corvette SUV. It reportedly hasn’t found the right exterior design yet. There’s no way management would approve a simple jacked-up Corvette C8. After all, it has to find its place within GM’s packed lineup of SUVs while simultaneously doing as little as possible to hurt Corvette fans, some of whom scoff at the idea of a Corvette SUV.
While the hybrid (E Ray) and electric Corvette sports car derivatives arriving later this decade address the needs of the purists, we envision the Vette SUV as a potential second car to their garage.
Besides, the SUV model with high-performance will attract new customers to the franchise. It could offer Corvette fans an irresistible daily driver for shopping trips, commutes to work, school drop-offs and pickups, and light off-road excursions. As America increases its appetite for high-riding all-electric cars, the Corvette will also future-proof itself with new top hats. We’d imagine that GM engineers will bless the SUV with decent handling, abundant power and torque, and flexible cargo space.
Taking the Corvette in the direction of high-riding SUVs will not be without controversy. We all know a true Vette doesn’t go to the mountains and conquer off-road trails. The Vette enthusiast will argue that GM makes a wide range trucks like the Silverado, Canyon, Sierra and Traverse that will satisfy the need to sit higher up or drive something with four-wheel drive. While we are intrigued by the SUV version of America’s sports car, at the same time we don’t disagree with the fans!
Chevrolet Corvette SUV FAQs
What is the Chevrolet Corvette SUV release date?
The Chevrolet Corvette SUV could arrive in 2027. Note that GM has only announced an electric Corvette sports car & not an SUV.
What are the possible rivals to a Corvette SUV?
The Chevrolet Corvette SUV could compete with the Lotus Eletre, Mercedes AMG-EQE SUV & Audi RS Q6 e-tron.
What will be the Chevrolet Corvette SUV price?
We imagine that a top-spec Corvette SUV would cost USD 75,000-100,000.
Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the Corvette SUV EV