Why the “Lone Dissenters” Bucked the Plug-in Trend

We’re the “lone dissenters.” And yes, we did “buck the trend.” While we’re proud of being unique, Team Tennessee did not choose the architecture for our hybrid 2016 Chevrolet Camaro in the utk1hopes of being different. We chose our architecture because that is what our consumer market research indicated the region desires, and we want to build a car that would be most appealing to the region.

Team Tennessee’s Camaro is different because we are using a post-transmission parallel charge depleting hybrid architecture instead of a plug-in hybrid. Team Tennessee Mechanical Team Lead, Brent Stoner, explains further, “The power provided by the hybrid-electric components will combine with the output of the conventional transmission in a transfer case to power the rear wheels. We felt it was important to hold onto the high-performance, rear-wheel spirit that the Camaro is known for, and our architecture will achieve just that.” In other words, we understand what a Camaro is known for, why East Tennessee Camaro owners love their Camaros and we want to match those expectations and then present an idea for another option.

utk2Based on our Year One Consumer Market Report, an East Tennessee Camaro driver would buy a hybrid Camaro if they felt certain that they were not losing any of the performance characteristics expected in this market segment. For example, our target market Camaro driver would not want the engine to shut off when they pulled up to a stop light in their hybrid Camaro beside another performance car. Plugging their HEV in to charge every evening is not a desirable feature, either.

Now this is not to say that there is anything wrong with designing a hybrid Camaro that is a plug-in, has a smaller engine or does turn off at a stoplight. That just is not what our target audience desires, nor will that be what our audience wants in the near future. If as a team, we want to generate interest in our region for our vehicle, we have to relate to our audience. We are proud of our research into our consumer market, and proud of the decisions we have made to meet their expectations. We will also be proud to drive our powerful hybrid this spring.

The East Tennessee Camaro driver wants a hybrid Camaro that doesn’t just look like a Camaro, one that in every instance executes the famous features of a Camaro – it just doesn’t require filling up the gas tank so frequently. We are looking forward to meeting that expectation and flying right on by it in our hybrid Camaro, no cords required.


Written By: Emily King