Genovation GXE - The 800 bhp electric Corvette with a manual gearbox
This Corvette is so wrong but so right at the same time. Created by Genovationcars, it traded its V8 LS engine and replaced it with two electric motors. This wouldn't be all that special on its own these days, but Genovation went a bit further and adapted 'Vettes 7-Speed manual gearbox to work with the electric powertrain. Thus it created one of the very few manual EVs and potentially confusing a lot of purists.
The two-electric motors supplied by AMRacing produce 800hp and 700nm of torque. The power is sent via single shaft to either a 7-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission and then to the rear-wheels only. This combination results in a sub three seconds 0-60mph time and a top speed of 209mph. Genovation claims the GXE is capable of hitting 220mph, at the moment the C6 corvette based prototype holds the street legal EV at 209mph top speed record.
The motors are powered by a 61.6kWh 'state-of-the-art' battery pack, giving it a rage of 175 miles. While the range is somewhat disappointing we can forgive it given the battery is intentionally designed for high energy output and performance, thus sacrificing energy density. The batteries are supplied by Lithos Energy.
Genovation plans to make or rather convert (more about that down below) just 75 GXEs, each for a nice $750,000, and that's on top of the purchase price of the Corvette Grand Sport. This means the circle of manual EV owners will be rather small.
The production car packs a lot of carbon fibre, from aero elements right down to single piece carbon-fibre wheels supplied by Australian Carbon Revolution Wheels, who supply Ford with wheels for the Ford GT. These wheels are stopped by a beefy carbon-ceramic brake set-up from Brembo. Genovation replaced the transverse leaf spring suspension, with active suspension set-up utilising programmable coil-over shocks
The front and rear fascia are familiar but noticeably different from the C7 Corvette, especially at the rear where it ditches the rectangular tail-lights from the C7 in favour of round lights like the previous generation 'Vettes. At the back the GXE gets a new huge active rear wing.
The company calls it a 'high-performance bespoke automobile' and claims each GXE will be completely unique and painted in a different colour. The interior is re-upholstered in Alcantara, but doesn't differ much from the stock C7 interior.
There is a new 10-speaker JBL sound system and a very Volvo-like vertical infotainment touch screen with new CAN bus wiring that connects it to 11 new control systems. Interestingly enough the car retains most of it's existing wiring harness and safety features, modified a little to work with the electric drive-train.
When I first found out about GXE I thought "oh my god, this is the coolest car evaaa!'. It utilises cutting edge technology that keeps the polar bears happy while making the petrol head in me happy and excited.
But it's not perfect, the $750,000 price tag is gigantic, although I'm not the target audience so my opinion here is a little pointless. However for a car of this price the purchase system feels a little clunky, if you head over to Genovations site and 'secure' your GXE, by providing your email and a few contact details and you are done. Well sort, of you will then be told that someone from the team will contact you shortly.
The website however doesn't mention ( at least not clearly or openly) that it's a conversion rather than a stand alone product, some new's articles which are linked on their media site mentioned it so, I reached to Genovation to find out more and got the following response:
"Customers must bring their car to us for conversion. We will replace the ICE with an electric drive train, change out the suspension, add carbon wheels, add our aero package, add a new infotainment system and repaint and reupholster the car to the customers specification. Each car will be unique"
And yes someone who has the means to pay $750,000 in the first place won't struggle to find the 'pocket change' for the base car, but for a car of this class and price it just feels like a lot of extra hassle for the prospective client and lack of upfront information about it doesn't help.
I still love it though
Despite the issues with the information available on the site, and the fact that I will most likely never get to drive one nor own one. I love it for the idea and the principle behind. Yes it is outrageously expensive and the manual gearbox probably handicaps it's performance, but it shows that cars of the future can still be fun, and driver oriented.
I also struggle to be critical about the project, yes the communication the company puts out isn't great, but somehow I doubt it's their top priority at the moment. I also have to admit that their communication truly becomes first class once you reach out to them. I also have massive respect for what they managed to achieve in terms of engineering and performance with the relatively small team, creating something that can really rival the giants like Tesla.