If you haven’t heard, I’ll tell you now: The current sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro will die after nine years of production in January 2024. As a part of that news, Chevy said the car has no immediate successor. In the same breath, however, it noted “this is not the end of Camaro’s story.” That could mean a lot.
There are a lot of rumors relating to the vehicle’s future. The relevant ones suggest the car will be electrified and perhaps take a form we don’t recognize from a Camaro, like a sedan. Those are the only ones that mention the Camaro by name, though. There’s more to it than that.
General Motors has shown off a silhouette that looked an awful lot like a Camaro in the context of an upcoming electric vehicle. Rumors concerning the Corvette’s future also come into play here. The Corvette lineup will reportedly grow to include an SUV and a sedan. It’s plausible the sedan in this case is related to the Camaro or perhaps the two are even the same car.
To throw a wrench in things, GM confirmed there will be a new small-block V8. As far as its use cases go, GM has officially only mentioned its use in trucks. That being said, the small-block architecture is notably versatile. It’s mostly used in SUVs and pickups, sure, but with changes, it can be used in something like the Corvette and make 495 horsepower, naturally aspirated.
A hybrid solution is likely not on the table. GM’s hybrid efforts more or less ended with the E-Ray. It no longer builds its only other hybrid vehicle, the Volt.
The Detroit automaker’s options can be weighed against its competition. Ford just extended the life of the Mustang with a heavy refresh. That doesn’t seem like it’s on the table for the Camaro. Dodge is developing an electric muscle car, but whether it’s truly willing to give up its slice of the ICE two-door pie after just clinching the lead isn’t certain. A muscle car powered by the company’s new “Hurricane” straight-six is certainly plausible.
The layman’s view would be for the Camaro to go electric and go electric soon, but the technology to enable high-performance EVs without high weight levels relative to a vehicle’s format isn’t really here yet. It works for things like luxury sedans, sure, but a two-door coupe? There are no sporty electric two-door coupes on the market for good reason.
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The latter point may be why the car’s near future will be a different format. The current Camaro, despite being the least popular of the big-three muscle cars, is the sharpest handling car of the trio. Keeping weight down is vital for that. Unless prospective owners are OK with an extremely short range relative to performance—they aren’t—a coupe seems unlikely within the next few years. If the Camaro returns as a two-door, it’s probably going to be a few years before we see it.
GM might also be concerned about the vehicle from the perspective of enthusiasts, or at least I hope it is. All electric cars are capable of impressive performance. All of them. What makes the Camaro special isn’t just the fact that it has 460 horsepower. It’s the fact that it has 460 horsepower and a stick shift and it sounds great and about a dozen other things specific to it being powered by internal combustion. There is no electric replacement for the pairing of a big, naturally aspirated V8 sending power to the rear wheels through a transmission you can shift like the words “mechanical sympathy” mean absolutely nothing to you. Let’s hope somebody—GM would be a good candidate—is trying to figure that out.
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