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Retractable roof panels stack, take up no trunk space.

Supplier Develops Retractable 'Vette Hardtop

Four of the roof system’s six motors allow the hardtop to be fully opened and closed automatically within 16 seconds in both directions, while driving at speeds of up to 30 mph.

Roof-systems supplier Webasto develops the Chevrolet Corvette’s first retractable hardtop roof in the sports car’s 67-year history.

The roof is available on the 2020-model-year convertible.

“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,” Marco Arienta, vice president-Global Customer Group at Webasto, says in a news release.

“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.”

The two-part retractable hardtop for the mid-engine Stingray uses six electric motors fitted in the roof in place of a hydraulic system. The motors not only are light, but also help create a more compact package.

Four of the motors feature advanced integrated controllers which eliminate the need for an additional central unit and allow the hardtop to be fully opened and closed within 16 seconds in both directions (below), while driving at speeds of up to 30 mph (48 km/h). The other two motors operate the front latch and backlight glass, ensuring fully automatic operation.

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Because the roof panels lie on top of each other above the mid-mounted engine, the convertible Corvette’s trunk remains empty. A camera integrated into the roof system covers the vehicle environment to provide a 360-degree view of the vehicle. Air management for the engine was factored into roof-system development to ensure support of the Corvette’s aerodynamic design, Webasto says.

The transparent backlight module between the two air domes acts as a wind deflector and can operate independently of the roof. This minimizes air turbulence and wind noise with the roof down, while fresh air can enter the passenger compartment when the roof is closed.

The roof system weighs about 141 lbs. (64 kg) thanks to the composite plastic panels and the use of other lightweight materials such as aluminum.

The ’20 Corvette Stingray is a 2020 North American Car of the Year semifinalist and also was a 2020 winner for Wards 10 Best Interiors and Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems.

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