- The future Chevrolet Corvette Stingray may feature fuel-saving stop-start technology.
- General Motors opted against adding stop-start technology on the 2014 Corvette Stingray, fearing it would hurt the car's high-performance image.
- GM may be forced to make the feature standard later this decade.
MONTEREY, California — General Motors considered stop-start technology for the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray but opted against it, deciding it would hurt the car's image. But GM may be forced to make it standard later this decade.
"It is more mass and more cost," Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, told Edmunds. "It is very disconcerting to have your lively, great-sounding engine stall every time you come to a stop. The real customer value, the real environmental value is zero. So you are hauling around all that stuff to get a better label value (for mpg on the window sticker). It wasn't worth it."
Juechter was interviewed during a 2014 Corvette Stingray press event here.
The highway fuel economy for the 2014 Corvette Stingray has increased nearly 12 percent, compared with the 2013 model. Equipped with the standard 6.2-liter V8 and new seven-speed manual transmission, the new car is rated at 17 mpg city/29 mpg highway, according to the EPA.
In comparison, the 2013 Corvette with the 6.2-liter V8 and six-speed manual transmission is rated at 16 mpg city/ 26 mpg highway.
What General Motors might be required to do in several years to boost the Corvette Stingray's fuel economy has not been determined. Federal regulations mandate each automaker to increase the vehicle fuel economy of their fleet 4 percent annually through 2025.
Asked if it is inevitable that stop-start technology may be standard on a future Corvette Stingray, Juechter said "it may be."
"But is that something we lead in (with the redesigned car)," he mused. "Or is that something we do when we are forced to do? It is possible."
Stop-start technology shuts off the engine at idle, for example, at a traffic light. The engine restarts when the driver takes his foot off the brake and moves it to the accelerator. Juechter said stop-start technology would boost the car's fuel economy about 2 mpg in the city.
A larger, heavier battery would be required, which would fit where the current battery is located. If offered, the driver would most likely be able to disable the feature.
Besides the addition of a seven-speed manual transmission to help boost fuel economy, a significant contributor is cylinder deactivation. Fuel to four of the cylinders is cut off at highway speeds, essentially turning the V8 into a V4, he said.
"I tell people the real car can get what the label says," Juechter said. "I have gotten a lot better than the label. Driving up north in Michigan, I have gotten 38 mpg, cruising along in the new Corvette with the cruise set at 63. You are idling essentially in four-cylinder and I got 38 mpg over a 25-mile moving average."
Speaking of regulations to boost fuel economy, he said "eventually you are going to see a bunch of compromises."
In the future, Corvette "customers will have to put up with changes from what they traditionally expected in order to get better economy."
He did not elaborate.
But one thing is certain, Juechter said. There are no plans to offer a hybrid version of the Corvette Stingray. The car's platform was not designed to accommodate an electric motor and a large battery pack.
Edmunds says: Even the legendary Corvette cannot escape the pressure from the federal government when it comes to improving fuel economy.