The world is going electric, but the old-fashioned V8 isn’t dead just yet. Just ask General Motors.
The group’s sixth-generation small-block V8 engine will be built in Flint, Michigan, using components made in Michigan, Ohio, and New York on the back of an US$854 million (A$1.2b) investment announced this week.
When it comes into service, the engine will feature in “full-size truck and SUV” models. What role it’ll play in the sports car space is less clear, given the Corvette E-Ray demonstrates a clear intention to electrify GM icons.
It’ll replace the fifth-generation engine family debuted in the 2014 Chevrolet C7 Corvette, and currently featuring in the Chevrolet Silverado pickup sold in Australia by GM Speciality Vehicles.
“These investments bolster GM’s US manufacturing operations, which includes more than 50 assembly, stamping, propulsion and component plants and parts distribution centres nationwide,” said Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability.
“It also highlights the company’s commitment to continue providing customers a strong portfolio of ICE vehicles well into the future while continuing to accelerate its transformation to an all-electric future.”
Such a significant investment in a new internal-combustion engine, let alone a V8, is unusual in 2023.
Audi says it won’t develop any new internal-combustion engines beyond 2026, and Hyundai shuttered much of its engine development department at the end of 2021 in anticipation of the electric and hydrogen-fuelled future.
General Motors wants to sell only electric vehicles by 2035, and has invested heavily in development of its next-generation Ultium battery and motor technology.
It committed in 2021 to pouring US$35b (A$46.3b) into electric and autonomous vehicle development by 2025, with the goal of becoming a global leader in the nascent battery, fuel-cell, and autonomous driving technology spaces.
It will offer 30 electric vehicles globally by 2025, with 40 per cent of its US line-up to be all-electric by the same time.