The Z06 is next in line, but a hybrid Corvette E-Ray is also imminent.
This generation has been a seismic shift for Chevrolet’s most iconic sports car, and this hybridized E-Ray continues the trend, if that’s what we’re looking at here. Word on the street — and naturally the E-Ray Forums — is that this is the electrified car. Packing an electric motor or two to complement the more familiar V8, folks are spotting this prototype left and right testing high up in the Rocky Mountains. We have a short clip of it up in the Colorado mountains, and it’s even been spotted at GM’s Nürburgring test facility.
So what do we know about the mysterious Corvette E-Ray at this point? The rumor mill is atwitter, but there’s little we have locked down with absolute certainty at this point. This is not an all-electric Corvette, although GM is planning in that direction. Here, you can see exhaust outlets in many of the spy shots, including ours.
Right now, the general consensus leans toward a front-mounted electric motor backing up the Stingray’s mid-mounted 6.2-liter V8. As with the straight gasoline-powered Corvette C8, that V8 will power the rear wheels. Power will naturally increase from 495 horsepower (with the Z51 package) to between 600 and 650 horsepower. If that’s true — again, nothing’s confirmed yet — that would put the Corvette E-Ray near parity with the upcoming Z06.
What else may we expect?
This time around, though, the front motor may just provide the Corvette some form of all-wheel drive capability. GM could also offer plug-in capability and all-electric drive on the front motor alone, depending on how large a battery we’re talking about in what is still, at its heart, an out-and-out sports car. I suspect the E-Ray may pack some different handling characteristics to the standard C8, taking into consideration the extra weight and an electric motor on the front axle. Mind you, I could be entirely wrong about that — we’ll have to wait and see.
How long will that wait be? It’s tough to say, though it’s quite possible we could see this car debut after the Z06 formally launches. That would likely mean a mid- to late-2022 reveal, followed by the first hybrid Corvette E-Ray possibly hitting dealers in early 2023. An even more powerful version, colloquially dubbed the “Zora”, may still debut sometime in the next couple years. Finally, we’ll likely also see the daddy of all Corvettes, the ZR1, make an appearance before GM finally transitions to a next-generation, all-electric model.