Today’s development of electric vehicles might seem like a recent innovation, but in reality, it’s the product of years of research and development from various automakers. In the early 1990s, Motorola built a fully functional 1987 Chevy Corvette EV prototype, which still exists today and is waiting to be discovered by the right buyer in a salvage yard in Gurnee, Illinois. The car was an impressive feat for its time and matched the performance of its modern gas-powered sports cars.
Surprisingly, little information about this car exists online, and the story behind it is still incomplete. However, Larry Brosten, the proprietor of Auto Parts City and the owner of the Corvette, dropped a bombshell that he had a one-of-a-kind 1987 Chevy Corvette built by Motorola.
The Corvette was a fully electric prototype vehicle built by Motorola Automotive sometime in the early to mid-1990s and was not just a decal package. Brosten had possession of the motherlode of the vehicle’s developer documentation. Unfortunately, the car doesn’t run since the previous owner left it outside in the winter, which ruined the batteries, but it’s still an impressive sight.
The car looks like any regular Chevy Corvette C4 convertible from the outside but with the “EL” electric vehicle plate on the rear. The EV Vette seems to be powered by an unknown amount of what appear to be deep-cycle batteries, many of them in the trunk, some possibly in the floorboards, and four to six underneath the hood.
The batteries look old, and none of the documents specify how many batteries the Corvette used or where they were placed. The electric motor appears to send power to the Corvette’s manual transmission and spins the rear wheels. Still, none of the documentation explains how much power the electric Vette’s motor made.
The charging plug was done so that it would have fit right in the same housing as the old gas fuel filler door, but it looks like the charging port was removed and the lines hastily capped. It’s unclear when this was done. Despite its significance, the car languished in a random garage in northern Illinois. Its story is fascinating, but it appears it lived and died at the end of the analog age, slipping out of sight just before the internet could hoover up its story and immortalize it for everyone.