CM Exclusive: GM Announces Hybrid C6

Corvette Market has learned that General Motors is developing a hybrid C6 to meet increased CAFE fuel economy standards set for 2011.

The new ‘Vette will feature a primary drivetrain based on the Chevrolet Volt, with a performance-based battery system driving the rear wheels and a slightly retuned version of the 430-hp LS3 for acceleration assist. This will increase average fuel economy to an impressive 68 mpg.

Sources say the heart of the system is a new 8-speed paddle-shifted automatic that will charge the batteries upon deceleration, but will function as a conventional automatic under moderate and heavy acceleration. A special Eco-Green paint will also be standard, which features a revolutionary electromagnetic base coat that will “react” to throttle input and change colors accordingly, starting at pale green, moving through pale yellow when the V8 engages, and ending at bright orange when the Corvette is in its most powerful, or “Lutz” mode.

Named after General Motors’ Vice Chairman of Global Product Development Bob Lutz, the “Lutz” option includes the belt-driven supercharger from the ZR-1, which drives the alternator of the hybrid system, causing it to quadruple its output for brief periods of time. An all-electric Corvette is also said to be on the drawing board, which will be targeted directly at Tesla buyers. Known internally as the E-Vette, it will use MIT’s recently developed lithium-iron (cq) batteries to achieve performance close to that of the current gasoline-powered Corvette, while requiring only 5-minutes of charge time for a projected range of 400 miles.The hybrid C6 will be built in very limited numbers starting in the third quarter of 2009, with delivery to take place in early 2010.

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