Right now, all the big news coming out of the major automobile brands seems to be centered around alternative fuel vehicles, and almost every popular Chevy nameplate is being turned into an EV. But an interesting development in recent years is that we’ve seen Chevy move away from offering hybrid models even as it expanded its fully-electric lineup. However, Chevy is now dipping its toe back into the hybrid market with the 2024 Corvette E-Ray, which combines electric motors with a V8 engine.
Have you ever thought about what the Chevy brand would be like if it began to take the hybrid route more seriously and for more models? What would those models be like? And would you be interested in test-driving a hybrid the next time you visit a Chevy dealer?
While EVs dominate the headlines, we have also seen some growing interest in modern hybrid vehicles. This can be seen in a variety of models, from the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Honda CR-V Hybrid to the Ford F-150 PowerBoost and the Jeep Wrangler 4xe. Since Chevy hasn’t been a complete stranger to hybrid designs in the past (and won’t be in the future with the upcoming Corvette E-Ray), maybe it’s possible we could see some cool new hybrids from the Bowtie Brand.
A Hybrid Equinox?
The Chevy Equinox is one of those vehicles currently getting the EV treatment. It’s going from internal combustion to full-on electric motors for the 2024 model year. The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is being replaced with Chevy’s Ultium powertrain. But instead of simply going from gas to electric, what if you had both?
The Chevy Equinox is one of the more popular compact SUVs currently available on the market. However, there’s really no telling how well an EV-only Equinox will do when it becomes available. Giving up the gasoline engine is a hard sell for some people, so they’re less likely to pick up an EV. Just the same, some people are completely enthralled with the idea of no longer having to pump gas into their vehicle anymore, instead being able to charge it at home or at a public station.
A plug-in hybrid gives you the best of both worlds: the ability to plug the vehicle in to charge its battery and the ability to fill up at the pump when necessary in case the battery power runs out. The other benefit is that hybrids give you great gas mileage for your daily driving needs. Given that the Equinox is oriented as a compact family vehicle, it makes for the perfect platform for a hybrid powertrain.
A Hybrid Trax?
If there’s one vehicle that could do with a hybrid iteration, it’s definitely the Chevy Trax. This model has been a popular entry-level SUV from the Chevy brand for years. It was such a great little subcompact SUV, but now it’s no longer so subcompact. The all-new 2024 Chevy Trax is much larger than its previous iteration, but it retains much of the DNA that the Trax is known for and is still priced affordably.
That makes it a great choice for Chevy to turn it into a hybrid. A hybrid Trax designed around being small, affordable, and with great gas mileage would be a very competitive offering against other vehicles in the segment, like the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid. A competitively-priced Trax with a fuel economy on par or better than the competition could be a big boon for the nameplate.
Because it is an entry-level compact SUV, most people looking at the Trax want something low-maintenance, low-cost, and easy to drive. Having a hybrid version of the Trax would perfectly suit drivers who want something that can last a long time and offer great gas mileage. It seems like a great way to fill that marketplace niche, which has proven to be quite popular given the sales of various other compact hybrid SUVs.
A Hybrid Camaro?
This will likely not happen any time soon (if at all). Why? Because Chevy has already announced that the sixth-generation Camaro will end with the 2024 model year. The good news is that Chevy has confirmed that the Camaro nameplate won’t be going away for good, so there’s hope it will return in a new form. There have been rumors floating around that an electric Camaro could be on the horizon, possibly as a BEV along the lines of the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Of course, those are just rumors. It is still possible that the Camaro will return as a hybrid instead.
Now this might seem like blasphemy––turning a popular muscle car into a hybrid. However, if the Corvette E-Ray turns out to be a huge success, it would be extremely cool to see a new Camaro that uses similar technology for its powertrain offerings. Yes, it would greatly restrict the Camaro’s aftermarket tuning and mechanical alterations, upgrades, and part swapping, but it would put it in the rarefied air of being a high-performance and low-cost pony car for the Chevy brand.
What’s more, the Camaro has frequently borrowed its powertrain from the Chevy Corvette over the years. Having the economic sports car adopt a similar hybrid design as the Corvette E-Ray could be a nice way to give shoppers an alternative option as they’re looking for a high-performance sports car without the Corvette costs. Again, the likelihood of seeing a hybrid Camaro at this point is quite low, but it’s not totally out of the equation.
A Hybrid Colorado?
Most of Chevy’s past hybrids were cost-effective, entry-level options for discerning consumers. We’ve had cars like the Chevy Volt, which is no longer in production, as well as a brief stint of the Chevy Malibu being available as a hybrid option for those who wanted a very fuel-efficient midsize sedan. But what about trucks? Well, believe it or not, the Colorado was actually used for testing back in 2017 as a hydrogen fuel cell truck by the US Army. This special version of the Colorado was developed by GM Defense and was known as the ZH2.
The Colorado ZH2 was a pretty cool-looking truck, and it seemed like it came out of a futuristic sci-fi movie. Now a hybrid version of the Colorado doesn’t need to look as beefy or as mean as the Colorado ZH2, but it could prove to be a nice alternative for drivers who want a midsize truck that isn’t just a smaller version of the Silverado with less towing and hauling capabilities. You might be thinking, “What’s the point of a hybrid Colorado if it’s not just a smaller version of the Silverado?”
Well, the reality is that a hybrid Colorado designed around maximizing fuel economy while also still offering decent payload and trailering capabilities would be an excellent trade-off. As an alternative trim or model option, it would be a good daily driver with great gas mileage that also doubles for some light utility work. If the Silverado can go all-in on being a complete EV, why can’t the Colorado dip its toe into the hybrid waters?
What’s Your Hybrid Chevy?
I’ve gone over a few hybrid options that Chevy could explore. Whether or not they would be enticing enough to lure you into a Chevy dealer’s arms to buy one of your own is a whole other story, but exploring more hybrid options wouldn’t be a bad way for Chevy to go to satisfy drivers looking for good gas mileage from popular Chevy models. What would an attractive Chevy hybrid look like to you? Would it be an all-new nameplate designed to appeal to a specific market? Would it be a retired model like the Bel-Air, Corvair, or Impala that has been brought back as a modern model for today’s generation of drivers? Or would you prefer to see Chevy’s current lineup offer some hybrid options? Let us know what you think about potential Chevy models being turned into hybrids.