There’s some change in store for the Corvette engineering team. As of September 1, 2020, GM has decreed that those technicians will migrate from the Global Product Programs team to the Autonomous and Electric Vehicles team.
Now that everyone’s heart rate is spiking, here’s all the context clues we could pick up, together with some qualifiers that make this news slightly less scary.
Despite their reassignments, the engineers in charge of the mid-engine Corvette will continue to bring all planned C8 variants to life. “The plans that have been in place for the C8 have not been affected by this move,” Chevy tells us. However, Chevrolet wants its top talent invested in its “all-electric future,” and that skill set happens to be concentrated in the Corvette team. We surmise the team’s about to be quite busy indeed.
Here’s a quote from Ken Morris, the vice president of Chevy’s newly bolstered Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs: “General Motors is committed to an all-electric future. I’m excited to be putting the team that redefined supercar performance, design, and attainability in key roles to help us integrate and execute our EVs to those same high standards.”
Does this mean that GM is axing the combustion-powered Corvette and immediately turning them into soulless drones? No. We expect—and have for some time—that electric motors will join the eighth-generation Corvette’s drivetrain in a hybrid configuration, but it will likely be years before EV power entirely supplants combustion in a factory-produced Corvette. We don’t know for sure which upcoming C8 variants will use hybrid power but look for Chevrolet to invest heavily in its newly developed, rather brilliant LT2 before retiring it altogether.
The move does include some leadership continuity for the Corvette team since the engineers remain under the direction of Tadge Juechter. Current Corvette chief engineer Ed Piatek is moving to a new role as Chief Engineer of Future EV Product, and Josh Holder will succeed him.
It may be hard to keep our purist hearts from quaking, but rest assured there is plenty of awesome headed our way from the C8 Corvette family.