Chevrolet Corvette to Go Hybrid and Eventually Electric

America’s sports car continues its evolution into a true super car, becoming a Tesla Roadster rival

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 driving on a track
2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Photo: GM

The Corvette, one of the most iconic symbols of sports car Americana, is going electric—part of a continuing trend of legacy automakers electrifying their existing fleets and converting coveted brands.

GM President Mark Reuss said Monday morning that an "electrified" version (which typically means hybrid) would be out next year and that an all-electric, or "fully electric," version would follow. Reuss did not specify whether a hybrid version would be a plug-in, or say how long it would take for the fully electric plug-in EV version to follow. Reuss indicated that the gas-only Corvette would remain in production.

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Reuss made the announcement during a Monday morning appearance on the CNBC show “Squawk Box” that included a video showing a camouflaged Corvette driving in the snow with slow-motion closeups of the front and rear wheels appearing to throw snow, possibly indicating an all-wheel-drive configuration. That would be a first for a car that has only ever been rear-wheel-drive.

The announcement has been expected for some time, but it is particularly significant because automaker willingness to convert their most treasured brands into EVs further signals widespread industry acceptance of the once-fringe technology. Ford made waves using the iconic Mustang name when it introduced the Mustang Mach-E EV last year. And Stellantis has stated that its next-generation muscle car will be electric. Last year, automakers also announced they would be introducing EV versions of immensely popular pickup truck models, such as the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500. 

“An electric motor may not match the traditional V8 sound the Corvette is known for, but it’s very hard for a gasoline engine to match the performance of an EV,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “With instant torque and a low center of gravity, an electric powertrain is quickly proving the best choice for performance cars. In fact, even with roomy seating for five, the Tesla Model S out-accelerated the latest Chevrolet Corvette in our tests.”

This move furthers the Corvette’s ascendence into the super car realm, where electrification has become the norm for the latest models. Porsche has its all-electric Taycan and has announced that the next-generation Boxster roadster will be an EV. The hybrid approach would be a breakthrough for Corvette, as dramatic a shift as when it moved from the front-engine to a rear-engine configuration. With electrification, the Corvette for the first time will be available with all-wheel drive—key to managing the massive power the updated Corvette is expected to produce. This configuration is akin to the current generation Acura NSX, introduced for the 2017 model year.

The 2023 Corvette Z06, with its new V8 engine, produces 670 hp, and it features widened bodywork housing massive tires to put that power to the ground. An electrified Corvette could produce much more power, and AWD will be key in putting it to work.

The pure electric Corvette may be based on a new platform, allowing for an Ultium battery pack to be positioned low, under the floor. Such a car would face off against the long-hyped Tesla Roadster

General Motors—which comprises the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC brands—has a long history with EVs that began in the late 1990s with the EV1. Then came the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric and the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt and now the Bolt EUV.

GM has said it aims to have 20 EVs available in the U.S. by 2025 as it moves to an all-electric model lineup by 2035. The GMC Hummer EV will be followed by the Cadillac Lyriq SUV and Celestiq sedan; Chevrolet Blazer EV, Equinox EV, Silverado EV; and GMC Sierra EV. In addition, the Chevrolet Corvette will be offered as a hybrid in 2023, with an all-electric version to follow. Beyond the power boost from electricity, the Corvette will be all-wheel-drive for the first time.

Key to its rapid shift to EVs is its partnership with Honda. The two automakers will share technology (including GM’s Ultium batteries), engineering, and even factories, with the goal of building millions of EVs for the global market starting in 2027.

Headshot of Consumer Reports Deputy Director Christopher Kirkpatrick

Christopher Kirkpatrick

Christopher Kirkpatrick is deputy director of content development for Consumer Reports, where he manages the cars team, among other duties. Before CR, Kirkpatrick worked as senior news director for The Detroit Free Press, Sunday editor for The Charlotte Observer, and as a reporter for The Toledo Blade. He got his start at The Herald-Sun in Durham, N.C.

Jeff S. Bartlett

A New England native, I have piloted a wide variety of vehicles, from a Segway to an aircraft carrier. All told, I have driven thousands of vehicles—many on race tracks across the globe. Today, that experience and passion are harnessed at the CR Auto Test Center to empower consumers. And if some tires must be sacrificed in the pursuit of truth, so be it. Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSBartlett).