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Car and Driver: “Corvette E-Ray” Trademarked—Is an Electrified Vette Coming? (Plus: Our Don Sherman Weighs In)

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2014-Chevrolet-Corvette-Stingray

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Happy Holidays, all ye faithful Corvette fans. General Motors has just shipped out a present: a juicy trademark filing for what could be a new Corvette model.

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Our spy photographer pal Chris Doane hipped us to a U.S. trademark for “Corvette E-Ray” filed last week, and of course we’re thinking what you’re thinking. A hybrid/plug-in hybrid Vette must be coming—maybe not next year, or the year after, but soon.

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Corvette-E-Ray-Trademark

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It’s the first we’ve heard of such a thing since we blew GM’s surprise for the mid-engined next-generation Corvette, which still may debut by the end of 2016. But while none of the Corvette’s direct competitors are yet electrified, the next GT-R will be, and Porsche confirmed a four-door EV with a powertrain that could trickle into its sub-$200,000 sports cars. Over the summer, GM also registered “Corvette Manta Ray.” Make of that what you will. But we don’t necessarily think a potential E-Ray will be part of the still-unconfirmed mid-engine C8 generation of Corvette. For more on a hybridized C7, here’s Car and Driver technical director and Corvette guru Don Sherman:

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“The notion of an electrified Corvette got me wondering: What’s the best way to hybridize today’s C7 Stingray? I’d do it by rearranging components behind the rear axle.

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“Hanging a motor-generator onto the rear of the differential would be the way to go. The added electric machine would capture normally squandered energy during deceleration and braking. The electricity would be stored in one or more compact lithium-ion battery packs also located at the rear of the Corvette. Then, during acceleration, this device would operate as a motor to ease the engine’s labor, yielding a slight fuel-economy improvement.

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

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“During all-out acceleration, the engine and electric motor would collaborate providing forward thrust. That said, the added weight of the motor-generator and battery pack(s) would likely mean the hybrid E-Ray wouldn’t necessarily top the 0-to-60-mph time of a nonhybrid Stingray with a 6.2-liter V-8.

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“Major exhaust-system revisions would be necessary to clear the space needed for the motor-generator and the battery. Some of the Corvette coupe’s 15 cubic feet of cargo space would inevitably be sacrificed. Substituting GM’s twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 for the current 6.2-liter V-8 would keep the total power on tap about the same while delivering significantly more fuel savings.”

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Don Sherman has spoken; now it’s your turn to weight in on the Corvette E-Ray in the Backfires comments below.

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