The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray represents many firsts for this iconic nameplate.
With the C8 now firmly in its mid-engine era, the Corvette itself celebrating its 70th anniversary, and fans still showcasing their trademark loyalty, the time was right to introduce two further departures from the traditional formula. The E-Ray is the first electrified Corvette, and the first one with all-wheel drive (AWD). But this isn’t some play for environmental salvation – electrification in the Corvette is meant to bolster performance, increase high-speed stability, and enable all-weather capability, bonuses that no one can argue with.
C8 With a Twist
Mounted midship, the Corvette’s 6.2L naturally aspirated V8 outputs a generous 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. The E-Ray adds an electric motor to the front axle that enables AWD and chips in an extra 160 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque via a 1.9-kWh battery pack located between the seats. The battery is charged via regenerative braking and regular driving. Chevrolet says the E-Ray is quicker than the mighty Z06, accelerating from a standstill to 96 km/h in just 2.5 seconds, an improvement of one tenth of a second.
While this isn’t an efficiency play, the E-Ray offers a so-called stealth mode where it can move under electric power using its front wheels only for a short six kilometres at speeds as fast as 72 km/h. The real purpose is not to annoy your neighbours when you’re creeping in or out of the driveway in the wee hours of the morning. The V8 will power up on its own when there’s not enough battery power.
Putting Power Down
We recently had an opportunity to drive the Corvette E-Ray briefly – not enough time to get in-depth driving impressions, but enough to confirm that this electrified supercar-hunter is wickedly quick. Selecting stealth mode before startup and creeping out of the parking lot before flooring the accelerator on an open stretch of road results in the V8 firing up and slingshotting the Corvette forward with thunderous energy.
In regular driving, the instantaneous torque afforded by an electrified setup pays noticeable dividends, providing a quick burst of acceleration with just a tap of the pedal, and no need to wait for the eight-speed automatic transmission to kick down a gear or two. The combination of V8 with electric assistance is fantastic.
While the E-Ray can be tracked, Chevrolet makes it clear that it’s tuned to be slightly softer to be more suitable for grand touring and long distance comfort. It still tackles a corner with confidence, and the way the standard adaptive suspension manages to be both comfortable and sharp is a masterclass in engineering. More feedback and feel from the squared-off carbon fibre steering wheel would be nice, but the turn-in feels sharp, even with the added weight over the front axle, and the E-Ray never once felt squirmy, displaying seemingly unshakable stability. The standard Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are strong without being twitchy, and even with standard all-season tires, the E-Ray gets power down convincingly to both axles – even when conditions aren’t ideal.
The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray is available as both a coupe and a convertible, and comes in the choice of three trims: 1LZ, 2LZ, and 3LZ. Canadian pricing starts at $150,316 before freight and tax.