For Corvette fans, we’ve grown accustomed to staggered reveals of different trim levels over the years. You know the drill, the base car is released, followed by higher performance variants that keep sales on the boil as the model goes through its life cycle. The Z06 model recently joined the base C8, and now (by either an electronic glitch or other trickery,) the latest mid-engine Corvette variant has been leaked to the world. The guys over at Mid-Engine Corvette Forum bring us the story. While we thought a Grand Sport model would the next salvo in the C8 saga, what we have instead is the new E-Ray, the first hybrid Corvette with all-wheel drive.
The electrification of the automobile, not to mention an electric Corvette, is a prickly topic around these parts, but hold off on the nasty grams until you hear me out. We think the new E-Ray will be another feather in the cap for Tadge Juechter, Harlan Charles, and the rest of the Corvette development team.
While we don’t have final specs, here’s what we can expect from this new-fangled C8. The car will retain the nearly 500 horsepower LT2 V8 behind the seats with two electric motors fitted at each front wheel in the frunk. We’d guess that the two motors will contribute roughly 100hp to the V8’s output, along with instant torque and some sort of four-wheel vectoring thrown in for good measure. An added benefit will be decreased gas consumption, although the electric-only range is unknown at this point.
Aside from the dual propulsion system, the ERay shares the Z06’s wide body panels and shows off new colors and wheel designs as well. There are 13 different color selections, including old standbys like “Accelerate Yellow,” “Torch Red,” but we think the new camo-esque “Cacti” is the most noteworthy. The E-Ray looks to include a brake regeneration as well, which will capture energy from braking and recharge the battery.
For naysayers, I have good news. The C8 Corvette will always be a gas-powered sports car. The mid-engine architecture that GM heavily invested in is obsolete in today’s brave new automotive world and doesn’t take well to complete EV retrofitting. There will never be an all-electric C8, period.
We’ll probably have one more C8 variant coming that adds twin turbos to the Z06’s DOHC, flat-plane crank 5.5-liter V8, and sport a rumored 1000 horsepower. It might be called Zora and will be the swan song for the gas-powered Corvette. The new C9 will be an Ultium-based, clean sheet design with a performance envelope that will probably dwarf anything offered by Chevrolet today.
Not only that, GM honcho Mark Ruess has publicly stated that the Corvette will be a multi-model franchise with the addition of an electric sedan and SUV added to the marque. Like Ford with the Mustang Mach-E, it looks like GM will follow suit and straddle both ICE and EV arenas in the near future.
In the meantime, if a gas-powered Corvette gets you hot and bothered, GM would love to sell you a current model. If new Corvette prices got you down, used C8s have started to come down with nice examples hovering around the $75,000-80,000 mark.