2024 Chevy Corvette E-Ray: The Last Stop Before a Full EV Supercar?
It seems like only yesterday that General Motors (GM) shocked the world, birthing the Zora-inspired mid-engine Corvette. Add in the Z06’s 670 naturally-aspirated horsepower in something under six liters, and it finally trumps all criticism from supercar makers overseas. GM quickly released the next iteration, the hybrid Corvette E-Ray, which has left many speculating. Is it the last Corvette with an internal combustion engine?
A Corvette of many firsts
Chevrolet’s hybrid supercar presents the first Corvette with a six-figure base MSRP. Nearly $40,000 more than the base Stingray coupe, it’s about as pricey as the track-focused Z06, which is roughly $5,000 extra. Otherwise, without including the destination fee, the three trim levels of the Corvette E-Ray are as follows:
- 1LZ Coupe: $102,900
- 2LZ Coupe: $108,400
- 3LZ Coupe: $113,850
|Engine||HP||Torque (lbs-ft)||0-60 mph||1/4-mile||Top speed|
|6.2-liter LT2 V8||Engine: 495|
Electric motor: 160
Electric motor: 125
|2.5 seconds||10.5 seconds||180 mph|
But wait, there’s more. The Corvette E-Ray is also the first all-wheel drive version of the car, the most technologically advanced, and the quickest. It’s even the first time the public has a third option for America’s premier supercar. The E-Ray is focused on being a balanced package nestled between the entry-level Stingray and the high-performance Z06.
Is the Corvette E-Ray all-electric?
With its measly 1.9-kWh lithium-ion battery, no. In comparison, the Hummer EV has a 212-kWh battery, but the added weight—2,102 pounds to be exact—means it needs a “weighted” license plate in the Tarheel State. Nevertheless, the Corvette E-Ray, despite the name, isn’t all-electric but a hybrid. And you can use the electric propulsion by itself in temporary conditions.
If you don’t want to bother your neighbors by cranking up the high displacement V8, “Stealth Mode” enables all-electric driving for three or four miles upon start-up. Chevrolet says the function is designed for quietly exiting a neighborhood. It will disengage once the vehicle hits 45 mph, if the battery pack is depleted, or drivers push the accelerator pedal too far down. For reentering the neighborhood, the E-Ray’s standard active fuel management system uses the electric motor to facilitate quieter four-cylinder operation.
The Corvette E-Ray’s front axle-mounted electric motor preserves space in the front storage compartment. Its battery is also mounted low down and along the car’s spine for better weight distribution. The electric motor will help it grip in the bends, though it will only last so long in straight-line speed runs. Chevrolet says drivers will have the V8 and rear-wheel drive only after 150 mph.
How much does the Corvette E-Ray weigh?
Benchmark supercars typically get as close to 3,500 pounds as they can, or 1,587 kilograms in Roman Catholic, give or take a few grams here or there. The Corvette E-Ray has more moving parts in general with the electric and all-wheel drive systems. Given its standing as America’s premier supercar offering, it’s also well-trimmed. All of this means the E-Ray will be a little past the industry yardstick, though not as much as expected.
Chevrolet says the coupe version of the Corvette E-Ray has a dry weight of 3,774 pounds and the convertible 3,856 pounds. The addition of the hybrid system adds less than 300 pounds over the Stingray. But we’re taking dry weight here. Just gassing up the car adds another 153 pounds with its 18.5-gallon tank. And let’s not forget the driver.
Overall, the coupe, with the driver at the wheel, is a two-ton car. To manage the increased power and weight Chevrolet equipped the E-Ray with carbon-ceramic disc brakes at all four corners as standard. Regardless, the first-ever all-wheel drive Corvette is the heaviest ever made, but critically, the most capable.
Did Corvette copy Ferrari?
Chevrolet’s 2024 Corvette E-Ray comes standard with the fourth version of its magnetic ride control system with three distinct suspension settings. Ferrari enthusiasts love to postulate that the Corvette stole the suspension technology from the carmaker’s barn somewhere just outside the Tuscan hills. However, there was neither stealing nor GM licensing it to the heritage brand.
GM used to have a subsidiary called Delphi Automotive, which invented magnetorheological shock absorbers—the same ones that have appeared on nearly every Ferrari since the 599. Nonetheless, it was first employed by GM on the 2002 Cadillac Seville STS. So, there wasn’t really stealing or copying, but know that GM used it first.
Speaking of Ferrari, the company just released its first PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) in the SF90 Stradale. This is on the heels of the news its first full EV supercar is set to debut in 2025. But guess who else plans to release an EV supercar in the same year? That’s right, GM, with the upcoming Corvette EV.
Upcoming bans on internal combustion engines
California, America’s largest car market, has put a threshold on automakers moving forward. By 2026, 35% of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the Golden State must be EVs. Those targets rise to 68% in 2030 and 100% in 2035, The New York Times reports. Failure to comply results in a $20,000 fine for each vehicle sold in violation, and tagging the fee onto the MSRP would put a standard C8 Corvette closer to a Ferrari in price, and no one wants that.
Apart from the fact that California is nowhere near having the infrastructure to support already crowded battery charging stations, it does mean that automakers could acquiesce to EV-only strategies. Five states—Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington—have signaled that they are prepared to also move forward with the 2035 ban on internal combustion engines. That is, if the public demands and allows it. Yet, we’ve seen public opinion change before, for example, in the controversy surrounding the eighth-generation Corvette’s birth.
Many thought moving the Corvette’s engine behind the seats would have destroyed decades of history and tradition. But following the release of the C8 and its unbelievably brilliant Z06 variant, we found that it wasn’t just New Balance-shod early-morning breakfast enthusiasts that loved them. We all did.
Is the Corvette E-Ray the final internal combustion American supercar?
It’s tough not to speculate on the eventual C9 Corvette. After all, where do you go from here? More power; more downforce; less weight; less emissions?
The Corvette EV, which will use the C8 platform, is set to send the Chevrolet to the 1,000-horsepower holy grail. Building off the advancements made with the E-Ray, GM is determined to conquer the developing world of all-electric supercars. Given the immense popularity of the C8—now spanning the globe—the Corvette E-Ray and EV could be just options built around the Stingray, bringing the selection to four. The accountants aren’t running things at Detroit’s Renaissance Center anymore, so the pent-up dreams of engineers can be fulfilled.