Doncha get tired of cringing? First, Dodge kills its Hemi cars, and now we have a hybrid Corvette. Isn’t anything sacred anymore? But your shrink would suggest embracing what you cannot control, so count to ten slowly with measured breaths and enjoy the Corvette’s 70th anniversary as we discuss the 2024 eAWD Corvette E-Ray.
This Corvette has not been a secret, though it may seem like it has hit you on the side of the head. Imagine this: all-wheel drive, 6.2-liter LT2 and an electric motor. You still get the thunderous roar of the classic small-block V8 while achieving the quickest acceleration times ever for a Vette. What’s not to like?
“In 1953, the enthusiastic reaction to the Chevrolet Corvette concept kicked off seven decades of passion, performance and American ingenuity,” says Mark Reuss, the prez of General Motors. “E-Ray, as the first electrified, all-wheel-drive Corvette, takes it a step further and expands the promise of what Corvette can deliver.”
Horsepower is rated at 495, with 470 lb-ft of torque to the rear axle. Enhancements include a 160-horse electric motor with 125 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels thanks to a 1.9kWh battery pack that’s located between the seats. Combined, the E-Ray produces 655 horsepower. Zero-sixty times are 2.5 seconds. The 400-meter sprint takes 10.5 seconds.
“Corvettes must provide an exhilarating driving experience on backroads and tracks, and E-Ray nails it,” adds Tadge Juechter, the big kahuna of Corvette engineers. “The electrification technology enhances the feeling of control in all conditions, adding an unexpected degree of composure.”
Chevrolet claims the E-Ray’s eAWD system “is constantly learning the road surface, seamlessly adapting to meet traction conditions and driver needs.” When needed in low-traction situations, the system uses the electric motor to apply power to the front wheels, aiding in vehicle stability.
Keep in mind that the E-Ray Is not a plug-in hybrid. The battery is charged thanks to regenerative energy from coasting and braking, if not normal driving. It’s even possible to sample pure electric momentum — select Stealth Mode at start-up and you can enjoy acceleration up to 45 mph without a drop of gas being used; the V8 will take over at speeds over 45, if more torque is needed in a particular driving situation or if the battery pack is out of juice.
The electric motor also aids in the E-Ray’s Active Fuel Management system, which complements the engine’s operation when deactivated to a fuel-sipping four cylinders. In fact, the driver can tailor the amount of electric assist via six selectable modes: Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, My Mods and Z-Mode.
E-Ray styling leans towards the Z06’s, sharing the wide-body proportions. The lightweight alloy five-spoke wheels are an E-Ray exclusive. Other E-Ray design highlights include four aluminum wheel finishes, 14 colors, carbon flash badging and available carbon fiber options throughout the body, among other items.
“There’s never been a Corvette like E-Ray and its sophisticated design reflects that,” says Phil Zak, executive design director for Chevrolet’s global operations. “It starts with the body color trim which draws your full attention to the exotic proportions of the E-Ray. The interiors allow customers to reflect their individual personalities with their choice of color executions that provide a refined or dynamic sport look and feel.”
So you see, hybridization is not the death knell of the Corvette. It’s simply using the technology that we have at hand to see how Chevrolet can make the Corvette a better car. Of course, all this comes at a cost: the coupe starts at $104,295 and the convertible will cost you at least $111,295. However, what’s great about this is we have choices so if you’re still feeling curmudgeonly, Chevrolet still has a traditional Corvette to scratch your itch.