Webasto develops retractable hardtop for Corvette convertible

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 31 Dec 2020


Webasto, the global market leader for roof systems, is collaborating with Chevrolet on the groundbreaking Corvette Stingray. The re-imagined, mid-engine Corvette will feature a retractable hardtop convertible for the first time in its 67-year history. Developed by Webasto, the innovative roof system is assembled in Plymouth, Michigan.

“Webasto is proud to support the launch of the iconic 2020 Corvette with our convertible roof system serving as a key feature of the vehicle’s bold exterior styling,” said Michael Respondek, responsible for the roof systems division at Webasto in Europe. “As a long-term, reliable supplier to the General Motors family of vehicle brands, developing the high-volume retractable hardtop in collaboration with the Chevrolet team resulted in an industry breakthrough that consumers will love to drive while taking in the world around them.”

Six electric motors and cyber security
Webasto developed the new, custom-made two-part retractable hardtop (RHT) for the re-imagined Stingray, with a total of six electric motors fitted in the roof in place of a hydraulic system. The motors are not only light, but also help create a more compact package. Four of the motors feature advanced integrated controllers eliminating the need for an additional central unit and allowing the RHT to be fully opened and closed automatically within 16 seconds in both directions, while driving at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h).

The Corvette’s convertible system is also developed in accordance with the most recent cyber security guidelines, which impede unauthorized access to the vehicle and controllers, offering protection against vulnerabilities.

Space-saving wonder meets ingenious design
Thanks to the roof panels, which lie on top of each other above the mid-mounted engine, the convertible Corvette’s trunk maintains its storage capability. A camera integrated into the roof system covers the vehicle environment to provide a perfect all-round view of the vehicle.

Additionally, air management for the mid-mounted engine was factored into roof system development to ensure support of the Corvette’s aerodynamic design, as well as integration into the convertible roof itself and the tonneau cover. The transparent backlight module between the two air domes acts as a wind deflector and can be operated independently of the roof. This minimizes air turbulence and wind noise with the roof down, while fresh air is able to enter the passenger compartment when the roof is closed.

Technical specifications of the retractable hardtop
Retractable hardtop with two panels and fin styling
Opening and closing time: 16 seconds
Open and close while driving up to 48kph
Trunk volume (irrespective of roof position): 356.8 litres
Weight: approx. 64kg