Disrupting the first hybrid AWD Vette

Disrupting the first hybrid AWD Vette

With the mid-engined C8 Corvette, Chevy showed the world it was ready 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 bow-tie brand is far from making a radical change. With all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain, the e-Ray is the first production VET of its kind.

To be clear, the E-Vette’s intentions are not to appease environmentalists or chase the cutting edge new technology. Instead, the Hybrid AWD variant is designed to do what the best Corvettes have always done: take performance to the next level. While we’ve already covered the new E-ray extensively, we’re going to dissect this new technology further.

Small-block V-8 meets electrification

When Chevy revealed the eighth-generation Corvette, chassis cutaways revealed the company’s intentions for the future. An empty tunnel filled the space between the driver and passenger. There were unused threaded holes in the center of the front subframe. Something was missing.

E-Ray fills those vacancies. Stuffed within the center section is a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack made up of 80 refrigerant-chilled LG Chem pouch-type cells as well as a liquid-cooled power inverter. LG has designed the battery to discharge and charge faster, along with monitoring its thermal status through 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 motor would have no place to call home. Driving the front axle is an 80-pound permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor making 160 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. An additional heat exchanger in the Corvette’s nose keeps that motor cool. The heart of the E-Ray is a 495-hp 6.2-liter V-8 carried over from the Stingray Z51. With the electric motor being added to the equation, total output is 655 horses. The E-Ray’s hybrid system kicks in extra power for acceleration and recharges when you move, brake or use the Charge+ function.

2024 Chevy Corvette E Ray Powertrains

The hybrid system of the Corvette E-Ray.

car and driver

E-VET Performance Requirements

The E-Ray’s pure-electric driving is limited, with Chevy estimating a range of barely five miles in Stealth mode. Above 45 mph or with a big whack of the accelerator, the V-8 crackles to life and basically joins the party. Although EPA numbers have yet to be finalized, Chevy expects the E-Ray to return the same 19 mpg combined as the Stingray.

Chevrolet claims 60 mph comes in 2.5 seconds and the E-Ray covers the quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds, making it potentially the fastest Corvette ever. Top speed is said to be above 180 mph. The electric motor stops contributing at 150 mph.

an impossible combination

To counter the hybrid system’s added mass (which boosts the curb weight to nearly 4000 pounds), the E-Ray is fitted 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 1.0 grams. This combination gives the E-Ray the unique distinction of being the first production car to come with carbon-ceramic rotors and all-season tyres. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires are optional for more dry grip.

The chassis and suspension remain largely unchanged apart from the addition of spring rates and a specific front anti-roll bar for the E-Ray, as well as some battery protection. Like the Z06, the E-Ray gets magic magnetorheological dampers, with an elongated yoke at the lower attachment point on the front dampers to allow half shafts to pass through. A raised shock tower raises the upper mounting position to maintain the same wheel travel as the Z06, and a redesigned crossmember connects the towers to increase structural rigidity.

The E-Ray will arrive this fall and will start at $104,295 for the targa and $111,295 for the convertible. Are you ready to go E-Vet?

David Beard's headshot

senior test editor

David Beard studies and reviews all things automotive and pushes fossil-fuel and electric-powered things to their limits. His passion for the Ford Pinto began from his conception, which took place in a Pinto.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *