Chevrolet proved you can reinvent an automotive icon with the new mid-engined C8 Corvette. The supercar-on-a-budget Stingray and its odd-looking interior made our 50 Most Influential Cars list, and the upcoming Corvette Z06 will add some serious horsepower and race car-inspired features into the mix.
But the most revolutionary and futuristic Corvette to date — and the one that will truly show off the capability of the new mid-engined C8 platform — will be the E-Ray that follows after the Z06. It will be the first hybrid Corvette, and it should be the first Corvette to incorporate an all-wheel-drive system — two things that would have been sacrilegious in previous generations.
Now, Muscle Cars & Trucks is offering a few more details about what the E-Ray will look like. According to MC&T, Chevrolet will position the E-Ray as the lineup's grand tourer, a philosophical replacement for the Grand Sport. And the benchmark for the vehicle will be the Acura NSX — which won't be around to rival when the E-Ray enters production (because almost no one bought it).
The E-Ray will employ the 495-hp 6.2-liter V8 from the Stingray, but with auxiliary power from an electric motor. MC&T expects the total output to be around 650 horsepower. They have not heard whether the E-Ray will be a plug-in hybrid or traditional hybrid but have heard that it will "regen to charge." The hybrid E-Ray will use the same eight-speed dual-clutch automatic as the other C8 Vettes.
MC&T is reporting that the E-Ray will use a fully electronic front axle as an "e-booster." This system will allow the E-Ray to drive with zero emissions up to 25 to 35 mph. It will function similarly to the front-wheel-drive e-motor system in the Ferrari SF90 Stradale.
The hybrid E-Ray would undoubtedly be a leap for the traditional Corvette customer drawn to the gas-powered Z06. However, the E-Ray may be more of a global play, as Chevy is planning both left- and right-hand-drive versions — and the zero-emissions mode would be helpful for meeting tightening urban emissions restrictions.
All automotive timelines are in flux these days due to x-factors like COVID-19 and the microchip shortage; the Z06, for example, has been delayed. However, a good bet would be for the E-Ray to arrive in 2023 as a 2024 model year vehicle.