Corvette E-Ray hybrid revealed today by Chevrolet.
A first for the Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette concept car debuted on January 17, 1953 at the General Motors’ Motorama Auto Show in New York City. GM chose this date in 2023, the 70th anniversary of Corvette’s debut, to unveil an all new, first of its kind, hybrid Corvette, the E-Ray. Don’t be alarmed by the term hybrid and start thinking the Vette has morphed into a Prius. The Hybrid system adds to the Corvette’s potency. An electric motor joins Chevy’s venerable small block V8 to enhance the Vette with monster horsepower, instant torque, and all-wheel-drive — another first for Corvette.
The E-Ray is a parallel hybrid, making it capable of running solely on gasoline power, battery power, or a combination of the two. Chevrolet uses the term “Stealth Mode” to describe the Vette’s electric-only operation. Now there’s a mode that will stop the flow of noise complaint violations from your HOA! Thank you Chevy.
The E-Ray rides on the same platform as the Stingray and Z06. It’s a cab-forward mid-engine design with a 495 HP LT2 6.2L V8 engine driving the rear wheels. The E-Ray’s hybrid enhancement comes from an electric motor mounted up front that drives the front wheels. You may have seen Chevy’s teaser video of a camouflaged Vette enthusiastically driving through the snow with all four wheels spinning. Chevrolet may have been touting the E-Ray’s all weather drivability but sports car junkies saw a Vette that promises to hook-up and launch hard.
At the unveiling of the 8th Generation Corvette (C8), GM showed off a full scale cut-away of the C8’s chassis. I immediately recognized design similarities to the Chevy Volt. The central tunnel of the C8 is nearly identical to the “T” shaped battery housing used on the hybrid electric Volt and also its BEV successor, the Bolt. Fresh on my mind at the time was the recent discontinuation of the hybrid electric. When GM pulled the plug on the Volt, GM president Mark Reuss stated that “Voltec” was not dead and would be used on a future vehicle. I wondered if I was looking at that future vehicle.
When I had the opportunity to talk with Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, I shared my observations about the shape of the C8’s central tunnel and asked him straight out if there was going to be a Hybrid Vette. Juechter stared at me with a blank look on his face and was silent for five or six seconds, which was an uncomfortably long pause, then replied “I can’t comment on future product.”
Successor to the Volt
Tadge Juechter’s long pause confirmed the Corvette E-Ray is the unlikely successor to the Chevrolet Volt. The E-Ray utilizes GM’s Voltec powertrain technology. Voltec is GM’s strategy to standardize the integration of a variety of propulsion technologies. GM invested heavily on developing a sophisticated controller that seamlessly manages electric motors with gasoline engines. Anyone that’s driven a Chevy Volt can attest that the system works beautifully. Where the E-Ray departs from the Volt is in performance. Whereas the Volt was optimized for economy, the E-Ray is optimized for high performance.
GM’s new Ultium EV platform is not being used on the E-Ray. The Ultium platform is being reserved for a future all-electric Corvette, likely a crossover SUV. Now that SUVs are being offered by prestigious performance car makers such as Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and even Ferrari, a Corvette SUV does not seem so absurd. There’s also a rumor that GM may spin off Corvette as its own brand.
Visually, the E-Ray looks similar to the Z06 and even shares the Z06’s side air intake design. The E-Ray also shares the Z06’s wide body. Unique to the E-Ray are revised front and rear fascias, a rear lip spoiler, new wheel designs, and three new colors — Riptide Blue Metallic, Cacti, and Sea Wolf Gray Tricoat.
Quickest Corvette ever
The electric motors give the E-Ray an extra 160 horsepower and 125 lb ft of torque for a total of 655HP and 595 lb ft of torque, slotting it in just below the Z06. All that power being delivered by all four wheels makes the Corvette E-Ray the quickest Corvette ever, with 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds and the quarter-mile in 10.5 at 130 mph!
Expect the E-Ray to begin hitting dealer showrooms in the summer of 2023 as a 2024 model. The E-Ray will be available as a coupe or convertible. The 1LZ coupe has an MSRP of $104,295.
This story was revised on 2/2/23 to update technical specifications.
John Berg is the Automotive Editor of the Alameda Post. Contact him via [email protected].