Swinging by the Los Angeles Times office for an interview this week, General Motors North America president Mark Reuss gave a statement that may cause some Corvette purists to keel over instantly: Don't laugh at the idea of a Corvette Stingray hybrid.
Reuss, widely considered a contender for the top spot at GM, told the Times' Dave Undercoffler that the idea of a hybrid 'Vette isn't as outlandish as some may think.
"Actually, don’t laugh," Reuss said with a telling smile. Using an energy recapturing system like that found on hypercars such as Ferrari’s LaFerrari or McLaren’s P1 — both hybrids — presents many advantages.
"I think it’s a very attractive idea, actually," Reuss said. "I think it would be really fun to do, I think it would build capability inside our company and I think people would love it."
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The Times added:
Adding a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), or at least an electric motor that would supplement the power of a gas engine, presents a win-win scenario for automakers; they can add power and efficiency at the same time.
It's worth noting that back in April, Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter told Yahoo! Autos that they have a "gateway" to this kind of tech with cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR, but would only do it "when it makes a better car."
While the new Corvette Z51 is rated at a very impressive 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, and more powerful versions (possibly named Z07 to start with) are on the way, Reuss didn't discount how adding KERS or some other high-performance electric assistance could boost power even further.
I'll say the same thing I said when we got some evidence of a possible hybrid Nissan GT-R: high-output hybrids are the way things are going. It's not as outlandish an idea as it was a few years ago. When you have hybrid cars like LaFerrari and the McLaren P1 putting out an excess of 900 horsepower, how can you really say that isn't the way of the future?
Cars like the Corvette and GT-R have always been about insane levels of power and performance for (relatively) low prices. If they're going to compete with the cars at the top, they have to use the technology at the top. I think it's a good thing that hybrid tech isn't just for Priuses anymore.
A hybrid Corvette? Reuss is right to say we shouldn't laugh. That kind of power is no joke.