IN AUGUST, the election campaign for then-Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden published a video to YouTube, in which he — donning his now trademark aviators — describes his love of American automobiles and, more specifically, his gorgeous Goodwood Green 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
The car was a gift from his father for his first wedding, in the mid-1960s, and “holds nothing but incredible memories,” Biden says in the video.
It will of course hold a special place in his heart given that his first wife Neilia was killed, along with daughter Naomi, 1, when her own car was hit by a tractor trailer while returning home from Christmas shopping in 1972 with the Bidens’ three children. The two boys, Beau, 3, and Hunter, 4, were taken to hospital with a broken leg and a skull fracture respectively.
Beau tragically died of cancer in 2015, aged 46, and Biden has fond memories of his time in the Corvette with his late son. It also reminds Biden of his father, of course; the former Chevrolet dealer died in 2002.
While the new President is not allowed to drive himself on public roads — a rule introduced after the assassination of JFK in 1963 — the Corvette will undoubtedly still provide Biden with ciomfort and joy during his time in office.
It is also representative of what he hopes to do for the forlorn American auto industry. That is, to breathe new life into it, while being the most environmentally friendly president America has seen — a title he’s already living up to by signing an executive order to reinstate the US into the Paris climate agreement just hours after swearing in.
“This is an iconic industry,” Biden says in the video. “How can American-made vehicles no longer be out there? I believe that we can own the 21st-century market again by moving to electric vehicles.
“And by the way, they tell me — and I’m looking forward, if it’s true, to driving one — that they’re making an electric Corvette that can go 200 miles an hour. You think I’m kidding, I’m not kidding. I’m excited about it.”
What would the electric Corvette Joe Biden talks about look like?
It’s not entirely clear to whom Biden is referring when he says “they”, because Chevrolet itself hasn’t officially announced any such vehicle. However, there have been inevitable rumours of an electric Corvette swirling in the ether for about half a decade now, since General Motors (Chevrolet’s parent company) filed trademarks for the name “Corvette E-Ray”.
Chatter about the possibility has been renewed since the recent release of the mid-engined C8 (a car that will be making its way to the UK, incidentally), and a Maryland EV start-up called Genovation has already made an electric version of the C7 (the C8’s predecessor), that tops out at 212mph. However, the Genovation GXE, as they’re calling it, costs $750,000.
In the short-to-medium term, what is more likely to come from Chevy itself is a hybrid Corvette that retains the star factor of its famous V8. This would be called the Zora, sit atop the C8 model range (above the ZR-1, a car that Jeremy Clarkson once compared to “trying to win the grand national while riding a lion”), and have a powertrain that would produce around 1,000bhp and up to 1,000 lb ft of torque. Such a car would most likely have a 200mph+ top speed.
However, Chevrolet has been tight-lipped about the Zora, and if it does ever come to fruition, it probably won’t do so until 2025 at the earliest.
Some sources claim that a hybrid version of the Stingray, featuring a V8 engine and producing 600bhp, will arrive by 2023, but this is just a rumour, too.
A Chevrolet spokesperson told Driving.co.uk: “There are numerous rumors around the Corvette and future versions of the new mid-engine sports car. Please understand that we do not comment on speculation about our future products.”
General Motors has some experience in electric powertrains: it launched the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car around a decade ago and currently sells the Chevrolet Bolt EV, a small hatchback that’s been knocking about since 2017. It has also announced the electrification of an American classic — the Hummer.
GM is reportedly investing up to $27bn on a transition to battery power that will see 30 new electric models by 2025. Twenty of these will arrive by 2023 and 12 have already been unveiled: unsurprisingly most of the dozen will be SUVs, and they come from all of GM’s automotive brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC.
– After reading about Joe Biden’s claims regarding a 200mph Corvette, you might be interested in what the Biden presidency means for American Auto.
– In other American news, Donald Trump, in his last hours as president, pardoned an ex-google engineer accused of stealing trade secrets.
– Back in May, nearly two dozen states sued Donald Trump’s administration over its lax emissions regulations.
Featured image from Joe Biden on Youtube