A couple weeks back, the good folks at Motor Trend offered up a new “Everything We Know” article with the focus being on the Corvette E-Ray, rumored to be an all-wheel-drive C8 hybrid vehicle. In the article, the author runs through some of the current discussions on the rumored model, and they also included these fun new renderings which I believe are a first for the E-Ray!
We wanted to add our own 2-cents to the conversation as there really isn’t much solid information known about the E-Ray variant, and the Motor Trend article was rather light on specifics.
We saw the first of these camouflaged prototypes with the battery cut-off switches and other connectors appearing through the bodywork just after the reveal of the Stingray in 2019. GM insists that these are not hybrid models, simply some older prototypes still doing work. That may be the case, but further bolstering the case for a future hybrid in the lineup is the 2020 Corvette Owner’s Manual which shows a fuse block that includes a “Power sounder module/Pedestrian friendly alert function” and a Lithium-ion battery module. And let’s not forget that the Corvette engineering team was shifted to the Autonomous/EV programs back in August.
The rumored powertrain for the E-Ray is that it will retain the Stingray’s 6.2L LT2 V8 engine. The car will utilize one of the new GM Ultium drive motors that will reside in the frunk and will help power the front wheels “on demand.” The battery pack believed to be needed to power the system is smaller than conventional hybrids due to the on-demand nature of the car. We’ve seen the inside of the C8 Corvette’s center tunnel which could hold a number of batteries inside it and we’ve seen some estimates that a battery pack weighing in between 50-100 lbs could be sufficient to drive power to the front wheels.
Drivers of the E-Ray would see faster launch times thanks to the all-wheel-drive set-up and we wouldn’t be surprised if GM engineers found a way to engage the system on the track for help with cornering and acceleration. We would also expect to see some sort of minor fuel economy adjustments, especially if the car is able to provide electric-only motivation at low speeds.
That’s pretty much what the major talking points are for the E-Ray model as we know, however, there is still some speculation on the direction of the E-Ray program. Our friends at GM-Trucks.com said last year they saw documents that referred to the hybrid drive as “eAWD” and they are even confirming the RPO codes of “XFD/XRD” for the system.
It’s quite possible that the E-Ray set-up isn’t a model unto itself, but a hybrid drive system for the C8 Corvette that could be utilized by various models. Photos of the current Stingray show that the Corvette’s front knuckles contain a pass-through cover where the Ultium drive motor’s axle shaft could pass through to the hub to provide the eAWD.
More good news comes from Jalopnik and Bozi Tatarevic’s great breakdown on the E-Ray is that weight of the drive motor will make the balance of the car more neutral which will help compensate for the Stingray’s tendency to understeer based on the current 40/60 weight distribution. As the drive unit will sit low in the front chassis, it’s also highly likely that there will still be a frunk storage area, just not as large as the current Stingray.
We’ve been hearing that the E-Ray will slot between the Stingray and Z06, just as the Grand Sport model was previously, and there is also talk of a top of the line ZORA/ZR1 model that would utilize a twin-turbo V8 with the front eAWD hybrid drive to create a sportscar with 1,000 horsepower.
As for the Grand Sport model, we’ve mentioned previously that we weren’t sure if the E-Ray model would supplant the Grand Sport for the C8 Corvette lineup, and there’s always a chance that the Grand Sport might still arrive as a combination of the Z06 widebody/suspension/brakes combined with the Stingray’s 6.2L naturally-aspirated V8.
Motor Trend Renders the Corvette E-Ray
The magazine recently rendered the E-Ray using an Accelerate Yellow Corvette Stingray as the starting point. The front fascia has a new design with a body-color panel right in the middle that reminded us right away of Ford’s Mustang Mach E, while the corner radiator grills are now gone. Vertical daytime running lights extend from the headlights down the front corners. If you look on the driver’s side just behind the blue hash marks there appears a round door that would be for plugging in and charging the car’s battery pack. On the rear, things are certainly interesting as there are no exhaust ports for the LT2 V8!
It’s a pretty safe bet that the E-Ray will still need its exhaust ports so take these pics for what they are…
Most Corvette watchers that we have discussed the E-Ray with are still believing that the model is slated for a 2023 model year introduction. But we’ve also heard of possible delays in the C8 development program due to COVID, and so it’s possible that it could take a bow in 2024. The best clue if that’s true will be the C8 Z06 roll-out that is expected sometime this year.
So that’s all we have currently on the rumored E-Ray Corvette at this time. We have a strong interest in this model and we believe it could be one of the most game-changing Corvettes that GM has ever offered. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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