NEW YORK—Seventy years ago today, Chevrolet unveiled its first Corvette sports car in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Fast forward seven decades and January 17 sees another Corvette debut, this time the 2024 Corvette E-Ray. A new variant of the mid-engined eighth-generation (or C8) Corvette, the E-Ray brings a couple of new tricks to the party: namely, all-wheel drive and a hybrid system.
The hybrid Corvette has been some time coming. For starters, way back in 2015 we discovered that General Motors had filed a trademark on the E-Ray name. And when we got our first look at the new C8 in 2020, the central tunnel running the length of the cabin seemed superfluous for a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive car but did look like a good spot to stick a bunch of batteries.
“You were one of the people that may have figured that out early on that this car was always in the plan of record. And this structural transom, although it also has structure benefits for stiffness, makes a great place to put a lithium-ion.” 1.9 kWh battery pack,” explained Cody Bulkley, a Corvette performance engineer at Chevrolet, as he drove me around Manhattan’s West Side Highway in a bright-red E-Ray prototype.
Visually, the main clue that you’re looking at an E-Ray, other than the badging, is the fact that it wears the same wide body as the Z06, but with body-colored accents (although these are available in optional carbon fiber). , too).
Behind the cockpit, as with other C8 Corvettes, you’ll find a small-block V8, in this case the naturally aspirated 6.2 L LT2 engine also found in the Stingray. This generates 495 hp (396 kW) and 470 lb-ft (637 Nm), all of which is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Again, just like the Stingray.
But no Stingray can also boast a 160-hp (119 kW) electric motor at the front axle, giving the E-Ray a combined output of 655 hp (488 kW) and 595 lb-ft (807 Nm). That’s slightly less power but way more torque than the fire-breathing Corvette Z06, and it shows in a straight line, where the E-Ray beats the slightly more powerful ‘Vette to 60 mph by 0.1 seconds (2.5 seconds for the E-Ray). versus 2.6 seconds for the Z06). Chevy says that the E-Ray dispatches the standing quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds.