Update: ‘GM Ultra Cruise’ and ‘Release Date’ sections added with new information.
While GM has revealed 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, stays a big secret.
While GM has confirmed an all-electric Chevrolet Corvette, it has not discussed future versions. The following are all the reports on GM’s alleged secret car project:
GM is not talking about the Corvette SUV yet
GM has been hinting about possibilities on its Ultium platform, with almost all reports pointing to a Corvette SUV being in the works. In March 2021, CorvetteBlogger.com cited Corvette insider Don Sherman stating that GM was ready to bless a family full of BEV SUVs, including one with the sports car’s badge and design cues. So what can one expect from a Corvette SUV?
Chevrolet Corvette SUV Exterior
GM’s CES 2021 presentation saw the brand tease many of its future products, with a silver sporty SUV in the background. Many reports initially speculated this could be the Corvette SUV. However, GM quickly dismissed this claim stating they were future Buick models (Buick Velite EVs GM plans to launch in China).
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.
Ford (Mustang), Lamborghini, and Porsche tackled their debut into the SUV segment by ensuring their SUVs took plenty of inspiration from their sportscars. ‘Vette designers would no doubt seek inspiration from the Z06, which GM says is designed to serve the purpose of aerodynamics, handling, and an overall sense of motion. Compared to the Stingray, the Z06 is designed to be wider and squatter, and GM went about this by adding wider fenders that accommodate larger and wider wheels (which also ensure better grip).
Since the Corvette SUV would be an EV, GM’s experience at aerodynamics for the Z06 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.
New design & dimensions
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.
Above is a sketch of a high-performance SUV from GM designer Jason Chen. We expect the Chevrolet Corvette SUV to look as raw and powerful as the model imagined by Chen. Muscular haunches, ultra-slim lights, extra-large wheels, and high ground clearance mixed with visibly low height and sloping roofline make the SUV look dramatic and ready to take on urban streets and even race tracks.
Chevrolet Corvette SUV Interior
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. 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 would use the GM Ultium Platform (third-generation global EV platform) that has so far given the GMC Hummer EV pickup, GMC Hummer EV SUV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and the Equinox EV.
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 reported to take the AWD route anyway with an electric motor at the front axle.
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 will 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 more than just one product to an entire family. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas estimates that a Corvette sub-brand could be worth $7 billion to $12 billion.
Even if not an entire family, a halo electric Chevrolet Corvette SUV in limited units priced over $100,000 is a business case GM is unlikely to shy away from when the market demands more performance vehicles later this decade.
According to a source Bloomberg cited in its January 2021 report, sales of the Chevrolet Corvette SUV could start as soon as 2025, but this isn’t a realistic timeline considering where GM is currently with its EV production plans. On July 30, 2022, Muscle Cars & Trucks published a report claiming that a Chevrolet Corvette Sedan electric model is in the pipeline as well. Moreover, it said the Corvette Sedan would arrive before the Corvette SUV.
Considering the aforementioned reported information and the fact that GM needs to deliver many other advanced EVs by 2025, including ramping up the Hummer EV pickup and Lyriq and introducing the Hummer EV SUV, Celestiq, sub-Lyriq EV crossover, Equinox EV, Silverado EV, and Blazer EV, we doubt it would be in the position to start selling a Corvette SUV before 2026.
Chevrolet Corvette SUV FAQs
What is the Chevrolet Corvette SUV release date?
The Chevrolet Corvette SUV could arrive in 2026. Note that GM has only announced an electric Corvette and not an SUV.
What are the possible rivals to a Corvette SUV?
The Chevrolet Corvette SUV could compete with Porsche K1, Lotus Eletre, and Tesla Model X.
What will be the Chevrolet Corvette SUV price?
We imagine that a top-spec Corvette SUV would cost USD 90,000-100,000.
Featured Image – GM