A mere six months ago MC&T delivered exclusive details regarding the upcoming C8 Corvette E-Ray before anybody else could. And that’s to say nothing of our bullseye reporting on the Z06 before Chevy wanted you to know. Not only will E-Ray be the first Corvette to incorporate all-wheel-drive into its design, but it’s also the first Corvette to feature hybrid propulsion as was reported.
This is why we found it strange when last week multiple outlets pounced on a story claiming a Tremec patent for a hybridized DCT transaxle would make its way into the C8 Corvette E-Ray.
C8 Corvette E-Ray: Electric In The Front, Party In The Back
Our deep sources informed us the C8 Corvette E-Ray would retain the Stingray’s 6.2L LT2 small-block V8 in combination with a battery pack running through the spine of the mid-engine chassis powering a fully electric front axle. The front axle was described to us as an “e-booster” which will allow for zero-emissions driving, up to around 25-35 miles per hour. An electric front axle would not require the applications as described in Tremec’s USPTO filing.
It’s clear that any outlet without an understanding of the E-Ray program is shooting in the dark.
According to the patent, the hybridized DCT, dubbed P3, would integrate a motor-generator into the transaxle which could be used to transmit power to the rear wheels or regenerate braking energy. The documents claim the MGU could transmit power to either the primary output shaft of the transaxle or to one of the DCT’s two input shafts.
The main benefit of adding the MGU to the final stage of the transmission instead of between the engine and the transaxle is fewer components are required to spin during operation, creating less parasitic loss. If the MGU was inserted between the engine and transmission the entire assembly, including both sets of speed gears and input shafts would be required to spin in full electric mode. The disadvantage of integrating the MGU is that it’s not capable of cranking the combustion engine or charging the battery at standstill.
Everything described in the patent filing absolutely flies in the face of the information our sources have told us to date. So we reached out to our network for some context. The answer we got was a resounding no–this Tremec hybrid DCT patent has absolutely nothing to do with the C8 Corvette E-Ray.
As Muscle Cars & Trucks first reported back in August, the C8 Corvette E-Ray will use an electric front axle that will operate independently of the rear axle–there will be no physical connection between the e-axle and the transaxle. It’s widely expected the E-Ray will generate almost 500 hp from the LT2 V8 and use the same Tremec TR-9080 transaxle as the C8 Corvette Stingray, combined with the “e-booster” we could be looking at close to 700 hp. Using the instantaneous front-wheel torque of the electric axle, it’s thought the hybrid Corvette could be capable of scampering to 60 mph in close to just 2 seconds.
Tremec Hybrid DCT Design Meant For Other Supercars
Our understanding is that the Tremec P3 DCT was never even intended for General Motors.
It’s one of three different variants of DCT transaxles developed by Tremec, and it was originally shopped to several powerhouse European supercar manufacturers. The hybridized P3 DCT depicted in the patent documents will debut within the next couple of years employed by one of your favorite mid-engine dream makers. You read it here first.
Prototype C8 Corvette E-Rays are already out there logging development miles, and the program is very real and quite far along its development lifecycle. Considering the monumental shift that will come with the Corvette’s first hybrid variant in the car’s 70-year history, we expect the E-Ray to draw mixed emotions, as the performance car community remains divided among electrification and the outright performance it can deliver.