What’s a Corvette Chassis Doing at GM’s Battery Lab?

GM’s battery lab in Warren, Michigan contains many secrets, and one of them just escaped…

During a recent tour, CarAdvice, spotted an empty shell of a C7 Corvette loitering within the 85,000 sq-ft facility.

Specifically it was spied in the same lab used to evaluate battery performance, testing cells, and integrating them within prototype vehicles. The shell was stamped “Y1BC” which will be familiar to anoraks as the C7’s chassis code, further fueling fire GM is working on an electrically augmented Corvette.

Hybrid talk has centered around the upcoming C8 Corvette and its expected mid-engine configuration, but it’s conceivable GM could be working on an all-electric or hybrid C7 after the Corvette E-ray name was trademarked in December 2015.

The Australian publication also claims they saw GM engineers working on Tesla-esque cylindrical battery cells which offer more packaging options than the Bolt and Volt’s integrated skateboard floor pan. Considering the complexity of reworking the C7 into a fully-electric vehicle, it’s more likely GM is working on a hybridized version with full on electrification coming with the C8.

It’s also possible GM could be working on an eAssist style Corvette as proof of concept, or even for select markets. 1500-series trucks are sold on the West Coast with a small electric motor kicking in an extra 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque during acceleration, along with regenerative braking and Stop/Start.

The 15 kW eAssist system was designed from the outset for modular applications, and the smaller packaging requirements would make the project less cost intensive. Instead of using software derived from the Volt, a new program could be used to allow the front wheels to vector electric torque during high load events while offering all-wheel-traction when the pedal is buried to the floorboard.

Is it possible, sure; is it actually happening, couldn’t tell you…

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