What started as a rumour and then was confirmed by GM president Mark Reuss became very real today with the official debut of the first-ever gas-electric Chevrolet Corvette.
The new model, called Corvette E-Ray, combines the Stingray’s 495-horsepower V8 engine with a front-mounted, 160-horsepower electric motor drawing energy from a 1.9kWh battery located under the centre console. The end result is 655 horsepower, good enough to sprint from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 2.5 seconds.
- Also: This Stranded Corvette is Your Reminder Not to Fool Around in a Snowstorm
- Also: New Report Adds Fuel to Corvette Spinoff, Would Include Electric Sedan and SUV
To be clear, the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray is the quickest-accelerating production Corvette of all time, running the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds and eclipsing the latest Corvette Z06 (670 hp) in the process. The main reason for this is the initial grip delivered by the all-wheel drive system (the electric motor drives the front axle), contributing to more explosive acceleration and sharper handling.
We Go Inside
A few days before the introduction of the new Corvette E-Ray, Chevrolet invited The Car Guide to attend a short presentation at GM’s Milford Proving Ground in Michigan. In the span of an hour, we managed to take a close look at the car, talk to members of the engineering team and ride shotgun during a dynamic showcase on what is known as “Black Lake”—a fully paved, 16-acre site where the automaker conducts all sorts of performance tests.
A seasoned driver who was involved in the development of the Corvette E-Ray first did a demo run in Stealth mode, which allows the car to operate as a pure EV up to about 6 km at a maximum speed of 70 km/h. This is great for drivers who want to leave their driveway silently in the morning without waking up the neighbours. In this particular mode, only the front wheels drive the Corvette since the V8 engine is turned off.
As mentioned earlier, the motor is fed by a 1.9kWh battery. Chevrolet explained to us that the latter can lose as much as 78 percent of its charge before the gasoline engine kicks in. Once the V8 is up and running, drivers can’t go back to Stealth mode since energy will be preserved for the next start.
The Corvette E-Ray’s hybrid treatment emphasizes performance, which became abundantly clear during another demo with launch control activated. The AWD system can send up to about 80 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels. One of the most impressive and unique things about the car is the simultaneous combination of e-motor and V8 sounds.
The display of power and handling that we witnessed a few moments later also proved exhilarating. It was unlike anything we’ve ever felt in a Corvette. While you can go a bit sideways on a track, the car tends to bite the tarmac with amazing ferocity and never suffers from understeer, not even when attacking corners super aggressively.
At this point, it’s important to note that the Corvette E-Ray has wider tracks than the Stingray and matches those of the Z06. It also shares its carbon fibre wheels and carbon-ceramic brakes with the Z06, which is a good thing given the 135 kg of excess weight it carries.
Colour Us Impressed
The new E-Ray further stands out from other Corvette models in the styling department. It sports a distinctive front fascia with larger air intakes, an exclusive set of wheels and a dedicated instrument cluster where the transition from EV to gasoline is beautifully illustrated. There are 14 different body colour options to choose from along with unique graphics.
Interestingly, designers found a way not to compromise front storage capacity (the frunk is the same size as that of the Stingray and Z06), which is quite a feat considering the location of the electric motor on the front axle.
What about pricing? We already have the answer to that. The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray will start at $128,798 including freight and PDI. A convertible variant will follow at some point.