There've been a lot of rumors swirling around the upcoming mid-engine Corvette, and one of the most intriguing is that it could get some sort of hybrid drivetrain. There's good reason to be skeptical of this, but it's a fun possibility to think about. New patents recently granted to GM, uncovered by Bozi Tatarevic , got us thinking about a hybrid mid-engine Corvette even more.
The first of the two patents found describes an active aerodynamic system, which can vary downforce levels at each axle. Intriguingly, the system is described as being able to work in a car with a hybrid drivetrain. The system is illustrated with the diagram of the current, seventh-generation Corvette seen at the top of this post, though such tech most likely won't feature in the C7.
This system doesn't need an electric motor as part of the drivetrain to work, though. The patent text notes it can work with "zero or multiple" electric motors. So really, we don't know if this points definitively to a mid-engine Corvette with active aero, or if it just describes a new aerodynamic concept, which is able to be used in hybrid vehicles.
Perhaps of more relevance to the C8 Corvette, is the other patent uncovered, which illustrates an active aerodynamic system for a mid-engine car. No hybrid drivetrain is mentioned here, however.
Illustrated in the drawing above, this one's a little more simple, with movable aerodynamic devices at the front and rear. What's interesting is that, , item 104 is an engine, and item 106 is a transaxle. That matches the most likely powertrain layout for the mid-engine Corvette.
The system is described as being able to be applied to devices that can vary downforce levels, improve cooling, and assist with braking. That last thing is particularly interesting, as it sounds like GM could be developing a sort of McLaren-esque air brake.
Will all of this stuff come to the mid-engine Corvette? To be perfectly honest, we don't know. As we said last week when reporting on GM's interesting clutch-by-wire patent, automakers often patent new technologies with no intention of production-car use. And in the most recent mid-engine Corvette spy photos, it looks like the small wing at the back is fixed in place, though that doesn't mean it'll be fixed for all C8s.
But let's take the C8 out of the equation for a second—there's a lot of interesting engineering detail in these patents that could point to important future technology.