In November 2019, back-channel automotive sleuth Bozi Tatarevic scoured GM documents to piece together info on what was thought to be a Corvette hybrid closer to the base model than the rumored 1,000-horsepower hybrid supercar that could be called “Zora.” Intel this year is finally beginning to paint a picture that could put us in the ballpark of an identifiable production car potentially called E-Ray. Spy shots from earlier this month uncovered a fleet of Corvettes testing with the only similar hybrid performance car on the market now, the soon-to-be-departed Acura NSX. The camo’ed Corvettes were assumed to hide electric motors, overall output thought to level out around 550 or 600 hp. Muscle Cars and Trucks reports the E-Ray will get a little more muscle than that, total output clocking in at “closer to 650 horsepower.”
That figure would come courtesy of an unmolested LT2 6.2-liter V8 with 495 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque. An “electric front axle” will contribute the remainder via its electric motor. MCT doesn’t specify the number of motors, but if the E-Ray takes its cues from related hybrid performance powertrains such as on the NSX, BMW i8, and Ferrari SF90 Stradale, there will be two motors up front. MCT says the system in front was described as an “e-booster” by engineers, a Motor Trend report from earlier this year putting its output at around 215 hp. That would be plenty to satisfy a combined 650 hp from the system. The front axle would be decoupled when not needed and called into action when performance demands it, similar to the how the Audi E-Tron uses its single motor on its front axle. According to the report, the front wheels will be able to pull the E-Ray between 25 and 35 miles on electric power alone. The small battery running down the car’s spine isn’t expected to be recharged by a plug, but by regen.
Considered a replacement for the Grand Sport, the E-Ray as presented puts a lot more capability in this section of the lineup. The Grand Sport slotted above the entry-level Corvette, below the Z06, with the same horsepower as the standard car wedded to performance parts from the Z06 and a price in between the two. The E-Ray throws out that calculus, as an electrified all-wheel driver rumored to have more horsepower than the Z06 — the Z06 lately pegged at about 617 hp. If all of this is true, it seems inevitable that the E-Ray will best the Z06 in straight-line acceleration. However, the E-Ray is said to be aimed at grand touring like the Grand Sport. The Z06, as the track-focused monster with perhaps the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 to reach production, will be sharpened to beat the E-Ray at the track. The E-Ray and the Z06 will get the same wider bodywork and larger rolling stock, but the E-Ray doesn’t get the Z06’s center-exit exhaust, nor does it get the super-glue Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires. MCT says the hybrid will stick to Pilot Sport All Season 4 and Pilot Sport 4S hoops available on the base Stingray.
The well-known delays afflicting all industries could have shifted the E-Ray’s debut. It’s thought to arrive either late next year as a 2023 model, or in 2023, with a starting price under $100,000.
And if whispers in a Motor Trend Confidential report can be believed, 2024 will mark an even bigger first, when Chevrolet debuts an electric Corvette crossover on the Ultium platform as “a four-door, four-seat, performance-tuned crossover with key design cues lifted from the mid-engine C8,” and perhaps comes clean on a four-door electric Corvette car to challenge the Porsche Taycan.