Automakers in just about every country are being asked to ratchet up their fuel economy figures, lower tailpipe emissions, and still deliver a level of quality and performance customers are used to. It isn’t an easy task, and even cars like the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette are being asked to conform to fuel economy standards, despite being purpose-built for speed.
While the 2014 Corvette C7 could get up to 29 MPG on the highway, later models will have to do even better. That is why it seems likely that, per Edmunds, future models of the Corvette C7 could be saddled with stop-start engine technology designed to save fuel at intersections.
Start-stop technology could eventually invade the new LT1 engine.
The new 6.2 liter LT1 V8 engine already incorporates a number of fuel-saving technologies, including direction injection and variable valve timing. The 2014 Corvette Stingray is equipped with an aluminum suspension, a seven-speed manual transmission and other, smaller features designed to save weight and energy like a special trunk-release mechanism. The new Corvette seems well-suited to our day and age.
But with proposed fuel economy standards going as high as 54.5 MPG by 2025, the Corvette will have to do even better. GM even considered launching the new Corvette with start-stop technology, which shuts down an engine at idle to save fuel, before deciding it could hurt the new Corvette’s performance image. But GM may not have a choice down the road, with every last effort being made to inch up the EPA “city” figure; despite adding mass and cost to the engine, start-stop tech on the Corvette did little to improve real-world fuel economy, Corvette’s chief engineer Tadge Juechter told Edmunds.
But that all-important EPA MPG number will ultimately dictate if the Corvette needs start-stop technology or not. If GM can sell enough cars like the Chevy Volt or Chevy Spark EV to offset the lower fuel economy of the Corvette, the car could go forward without any such ride-interrupting technology. Otherwise GM will have to keep pushing for more fuel economy, and eventually that’s going to hurt performance.
Remember that next time you make fun of someone driving a fuel-sipping econobox… they suffer so that you don’t have to!