With the mid-engine 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 that the bowtie brand is far from done with radical changes. With all-wheel drive and a hybrid drive system, the E-Ray is the first production Vette of its kind.
To be clear, the E-Vette’s intentions are not to appease environmentalists or chase the trendiest new technology. Instead, the hybrid AWD variant is designed to do what the best Corvettes have always done: take performance to the next level. Although we have already covered the new E-Ray in detail, we now analyze its newfound technology further.
Small-block V-8 meets electrification
When Chevy unveiled the eighth-generation Corvette, chassis cutouts laid bare 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 gaps. In the center section is a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack consisting of 80 refrigerant-cooled LG Chem pouch-type cells along with a liquid-cooled power inverter. LG has designed the battery to discharge and charge quickly, with its thermal state monitored via new performance pages within the infotainment screen. Chevrolet says the entire assembly weighs about 100 pounds.
Relocating the regular Corvette’s engine paved the way for the E-Ray, as the front car would otherwise have no place to call home. The front axle drives an 80-pound permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor that produces 160 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. An additional heat exchanger in the Corvette’s nose keeps that car 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 recharging when driving, braking, or the Charge+ function while moving.
E-Fats 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 push of the throttle, the V-8 crackles to life and seamlessly joins the party. Although 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 possibly 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 up to about 4000 pounds), the E-Ray is equipped 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 about 1.0g. 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 remain 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 magic magnetorheological dampers, with an elongated yoke at the lower attachment point on the front dampers for the half axles to pass through. A raised shock tower elevates the top mount to maintain the same wheel travel as the Z06, and a redesigned crossmember connects the towers to increase structural rigidity.
The E-Ray arrives this fall and starts at $104,295 for the targa and $111,295 for the convertible. Are you ready to go E-Vette?
Senior Test Editor
David Beard studies and reviews automotive related things and pushes fossil fuel and electrically powered things to their limits. His passion for the Ford Pinto began at its conception, which took place in a Pinto.