Motorola-built electric Chevy Corvette C4 found in Illinois scrapyard

Chevrolet confirmed that sooner or later it will release an electric variant of the Corvette. The battery-powered sports car will not be the first of its kind. Motorola Automotive built a prototype electric Corvette in the 1990s. The red convertible was kept secret for decades, but was recently discovered gathering dust in a warehouse at a Gurnee, Illinois junkyard.
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Our friends at The Drive shed light on this enigmatic fourth generation Corvette. Built in 1987 with a V8 engine, the model was converted to run on electricity sometime in the 1990s. Many of the details about the rebuild are murky at best, and no one at Motorola or General Motors remembers this car or the project that spawned it, but a thick stack of documents describes some of the modifications made.
Visually, the prototype is indistinguishable from a regular-production 1987 Corvette. It's red with a white top and sits on factory-fitted alloy wheels. Things are different under the hood, where a series of boxes take up space normally reserved for the V8. Some are labeled "high voltage" and contain some of the deep cycle batteries that power the car, according to The Drive. Motorola stuffs more batteries in the trunk, and interestingly, a couple appear to be built into the floorboards. Were engineers looking for ways to lower the center of gravity?
What exactly drives this prototype is not yet known. It's an electric motor, that goes without saying, and it turns the rear wheels through a four-speed manual. Some of the documents describe what to do (and more importantly, what not to do) when starting and driving the Corvette. Starting sounds easy: turn the key to "on" without touching the throttle and wait until you hear a hum. Driving is straightforward too: Motorola says you "would use the gas pedal like you would in any other car", although it can be engaged first without using the clutch.
Although the car isn't running, it was reportedly quite fast. Some of the documents put its power at up to 428 hp.
Motorola went to considerable lengths to keep this project secret, engineers notably weren't allowed to charge the car while visitors were in the building, and the prototype consequently raises more questions than it answers. Go to The Drive to read the full story.
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