With the mid-engined C8 Corvette, Chevy showed the world it was more than willing to take America’s favorite sports car in a dramatic new direction. The 2024 Corvette E-Ray that broke cover earlier this year proves the bow-tie brand is far from finished making radical changes. With all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain, the E-Ray is the first production Vette of its kind.
To be clear, the E-Vette’s intentions are not to placate environmentalists or chase the trendiest new tech. Instead, the hybrid AWD variant is designed to do what the best Corvettes have always done: take performance to the next level. While we’ve already extensively covered the new E-Ray, now we’re further dissecting its newfound tech.
Small-Block V-8 Meets Electrification
When Chevy revealed the eighth-generation Corvette, chassis cutaways exposed the company’s future intentions. An empty tunnel filled the space between the driver and the passenger. The center of the front subframe had unused threaded holes. Something was missing.
The E-Ray fills those voids. Stuffed within the center section is a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack made up of 80 refrigerant-chilled LG Chem pouch-type cells along with a liquid-cooled power inverter. LG designed the battery to discharge and charge quickly, with its thermal state monitorable via new performance pages within the infotainment screen. Chevrolet says the entire assembly weighs roughly 100 pounds.
Relocating the regular Corvette’s engine paved the way for the E-Ray, as the front motor would otherwise have no place to call home. Driving the front axle is an 80-pound permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor making 160 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. An additional heat exchanger in the Corvette’s nose keeps that motor cool. The heart of the E-Ray is the 495-hp 6.2-liter V-8 plucked from the Stingray Z51. With the electric motor added to the equation, the total output is 655 horses. The E-Ray’s hybrid system kicks in extra power for acceleration and recharges when you’re coasting, braking, or using the Charge+ function on the move.
E-Vette Performance Expectations
The E-Ray’s pure-electric driving is limited, with Chevy estimating barely five miles in Stealth mode. Above 45 mph or with a big shove of the accelerator, the V-8 crackles to life and seamlessly joins the party. Though EPA numbers have yet to be finalized, Chevy expects the E-Ray to return 19 mpg combined, the same as the Stingray.
Chevrolet claims 60 mph arrives in 2.5 seconds and that the E-Ray covers the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds, making it potentially the fastest Corvette ever. Top speed is said to be above 180 mph. The electric motor stops contributing at 150 mph.
An Unlikely Combination
To counter the extra mass of the hybrid system (which pushes the curb weight to roughly 4000 pounds), the E-Ray is fitted with carbon-ceramic brakes. The standard 275/30ZR-20 front and 345/25ZR-21 rear Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 ZP tires (a tire size shared with the Z06) are said to be good for around 1.0 g. This combination gives the E-Ray the unique distinction of being the first production car to come standard with carbon-ceramic rotors and all-season tires. For more dry grip, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires are optional.
The chassis and suspension go largely unchanged, apart from spring rates and a front anti-roll bar specific to the E-Ray, as well as some battery protection. Like the Z06, the E-Ray gets the magical magnetorheological dampers, with an elongated yoke at the lower attachment point on the front dampers to allow for the half-shafts to pass through. A raised shock tower elevates the upper mounting location to retain the same wheel travel as the Z06, and a redesigned crossmember links the towers to increase structural rigidity.
The E-Ray will arrive this fall and start at $104,295 for the targa and $111,295 for the convertible. Are you ready to go E-Vette?
Senior Testing Editor
David Beard studies and reviews automotive related things and pushes fossil-fuel and electric-powered stuff to their limits. His passion for the Ford Pinto began at its conception, which took place in a Pinto.