Corvette E-Ray gains battery power to become quickest of all time
Chevrolet has celebrated the Corvette's 70th birthday in a huge way, introducing the first-ever electrified Corvette. It eases the iconic sports car into the electric era by giving it an AWD mix of V8 and electric motor power that makes it the quickest Corvette of all time, its 0-60-mph (96.5-km/h) sprint landing at 2.5 seconds. Who says you can't teach an old septuagenarian new tricks?
The very first Corvette made its debut as a concept car on January 17, 1953 at General Motors' Autorama event in New York City. Exactly 70 years later, GM has breathed new life into the Corvette C8 by giving it an extra drive unit.
"In 1953, the enthusiastic reaction to the Chevrolet Corvette concept kicked off seven decades of passion, performance and American ingenuity," said GM president Mark Reuss. "E-Ray, as the first electrified, all-wheel-drive Corvette, takes it a step further and expands the promise of what Corvette can deliver."
Extra output is always welcome in a Corvette, and this time Chevy adds it via a second power plant. It still starts with the same 495-hp 6.2-liter LT2 small block V8 that's found amidships the 2023 Stingray, but this time around it adds a 160-hp electric motor to drive the front wheels and complete the high-performance eAWD layout. That e-motor also grinds out 125 lb-ft (170 Nm) of torque with power from a 1.9-kWh lithium-ion battery mounted between the seats. Total available power from the V8 and e-motor checks in at 655 hp (481 kW).
Chevy makes clear that the Corvette E-Ray is the quickest Corvette in history. After sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, about a half-second faster than the 2023 Stingray, it completes the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 130 mph (209 km/h). The additional output of the e-motor can also be used to generate a boost for overtaking or powering out of corners.
"The electrification technology enhances the feeling of control in all conditions, adding an unexpected degree of composure," promises Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer.
The E-Ray's small battery pack does not require plug-in charging, instead relying solely on regeneration during braking and coasting. Despite its small size, it does provide enough energy for a "Stealth" all-electric drive mode that operates at speeds up to 45 mph (72 km/h). It sounds like that mode will be welcomed with open arms by the likes of teenagers sneaking out at night, as the all-electric operation available at startup is meant specifically for quietly exiting the neighborhood. The V8 automatically kicks in once the battery is drained, the driver exceeds 45 mph or more torque is required.
Along with Stealth mode, the E-Ray manages V8 and electric output via six other selectable modes: Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, My Mode and Z-Mode. A Charge+ feature allows the driver to maximize the battery's state of charge.
Beyond e-power, the E-Ray gets specced with a host of other high-end equipment, including standard Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, standard Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, and staggered 20- and 21-in wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires. The car stretches 3.6 inches (9.1 cm) wider than the Stingray and shares driver-assistance technologies like lane keeping assist and forward collision alert with other 2024 Corvette models.
The 2024 Corvette E-Ray will launch later this year at a starting price of US$104,295 for the 1LZ coupe and $111,295 for the convertible. Options will include carbon fiber wheels and ground effects, black exhaust tips and bright badging. The new models will be manufactured at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly facility in Kentucky from US and global components.
Enjoy the first E-Ray action in the video below.