There aren’t that many true performance EVs on the market right now.
Sure, something like a Tesla Model S P100D is fast in a straight line, but put it on a road course and you’ll quickly realize it won’t be breaking any lap records. This is where Genovation Cars comes in – an American company that has been working to develop an electrified, racetrack-ready Chevrolet Corvette.
Genovation debuted the production version of its C7 Corvette-based GXE at CES 2018 this week. The vehicle is powered two electric motors and has some batteries where you’d normally find one of General Motors’ venerable Small Block V8s. Together, the motors make nearly 800 horsepower and over 700 lb-ft of torque, which helps propel the car to a top speed of 220 mph. Like so many other EVs, the GXE’s acceleration is mind-bendingly fast, with the 0-60 mph time clocking in at under 3 seconds.
Interestingly, the GXE can be had with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Erik Stafl, president of Stafl systems, the company that helped develop the GXE’s powertrain, explained to us that this was done to increase driver engagement, but also to ensure it could meet the goals they had set for the vehicle’s top speed.
“(Using a multi-speed transmission) enables a higher top speed,” Stafl told us on the floor of CES 2018. “Because typically when you have a fixed gear you have to make tradeoffs between how much acceleration you want and what’s your top speed. With a gearbox you’re able to have that wider, useable power band.”
“And no one’s ever done it before in an electric vehicle,” he added.
Feeding the electric motors are five separate battery packs spread throughout the car, which have a combined capacity of 60 kWh and deliver a maximum range of 175 miles. With a 10 kW onboard AC charger, the batteries should charge from flat to full in around 7 hours. The vehicle will withstand about 20 minutes of hard track driving before heat causes the performance to dip, Stafl told us, which is not coincidentally the same length as a group session at many track days. Oh, and Genovation is also working on some sort solution for track-day focused EV charge points, but they weren’t ready to share any details when I asked.
Visually, the GXE is set apart from a standard C7 by its new rear fascia (the circular taillights return!), ZR1-style transparent engine cover, Carbon Revolution carbon fiber wheels (you might recognize those from the Ford GT) and its rather aggressive aero kit. There’s also light signatures on the front of the vehicle, which change color to signal the battery life when the vehicle is charging, and some large indicators worked into the side view mirrors. Genovation has given the interior a full and complete makeover as well with reupholstered everything and a new capacitive touchscreen.
There’s one other interesting fact about the GXE: it’s traded the Corvette’s infamous rear transverse leaf spring for a pair of Magneride coilovers. The company hopes to eventually program the electronic dampers to suit a number of racetracks, allowing the user to go into the touchscreen and pick a pre-set suspension setting for a specific track. As Genovation CEO Andrew Saul put it “you could push on the touchscreen and say ‘today I want Laguna Seca mode.” Now who said EVs weren’t any fun?
Saul said Genovation hopes to deliver the first vehicles to customers by Q4 of this year. Just 75 will be made, each built exactly to the customer’s requests. We really like the GXE, but to be frank, the price is offensively high. The conversion will cost $750,000 not including the cost of the Corvette donor car – but if you’re a true track day enthusiast who wants an EV, where else are you going to turn?
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