Are you a current or aspiring C7 Corvette Grand Sport owner who would really prefer that your car were electric but still had a manual transmission?
Of course not. But bear with us here …
Genovation is your Corvette augmentation destination, offering electrification and renovation for C7 Grand Sports by turning them into the GXE, which stands for Genovation Extreme Electric. And they’re showing it off at the Consumer Electronics Show.
The Corvette Grand Sport trades its engine and transmission for two electric motors, front and back, that quietly pump out 800 hp at the wheels and 700 lb-ft of torque, drawing juice from a 61.6-kWh battery. The surprising bit is that, despite having two motors, the GXE keeps itself rear-wheel drive — the motors are connected to a common driveshaft that sends power to the rear wheels, reportedly providing perfect 50:50 weight distribution. On a full charge, the GXE is said to pack a range of 175 miles, but it’s unclear at what kind of speeds this range can be reliably achieved.
Genovation plans to build just 75 of these.
The GXE would be another glider-type conversion, akin to the first Tesla Roadster which used a Lotus body, were it not for the transmission options. The base GXE is offered with an automatic, as one would expect in an electric car. But there is also the option of a seven-speed manual transmission.
The car itself is not completely identical to Corvette Grand Sport on the outside, despite first impressions. There is a redesigned front bumper, and almost every interior surface has been trimmed with faux suede. Genovation also ditched GM’s stock magnetic ride control, replacing it with a third-party programmable suspension tuned to a variety of famous racetracks.
How much will all this goodness cost? Prepare to bring about $750,000, which is why the company plans to convert just 75 Grand Sports into GXEs.
The two motors, fore and aft, produce a combined 800 hp at the wheels and 700 lb-ft of torque, according to the company.
The bigger question here is whether there is anything beyond a 75-owner market for a soon-to-be-replaced Corvette Grand Sport that has been turned into an 800-hp electric car with a speed limit that cannot be exercised even at the tracks for which the car’s suspension can be tuned. The 3.0-second launches are certainly a good thing (not for the rear tires perhaps), but silent Corvette launches arguably defeat some of the purpose and appeal of Corvette launches in the first place.
The more important question, in our minds, is whether you want to be that guy or gal who tells people who ask why your Corvette is so quiet that it is in fact electric and that you paid $750,000 for it. You’ll need to be comfortable with answering the questions “What is it?” and “How much?” just about every time you go for a drive.
It’s not lost on Genovation that Tesla itself is planning a second-gen Roadster with 1.9-second launch times that will (hopefully) enter production in a couple of years at a price of $200,000. We just hope that, given the investment, the GXE’s battery packs will be upgradeable in the near future as battery technology surges ahead. 800 hp and a range of 175 miles aren’t going to remain impressive stats for much longer.