What We Know About the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray
The Grand Sport isn’t coming. Instead, we’re reportedly getting an all-wheel-drive C8 hybrid.
The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette. It's a mid-engined masterpiece that is so far pretty great in both base and Z51 flavors. And it will have even more variants in the future. That much is almost certain. What exactly these variants are, however, remains an open question until Chevy makes it official. That said, intel that we've gathered suggests a Z06 is on the horizon. While the C8 Z06 is an extremely exciting proposition, it's the so-called "E-Ray" that truly has our attention.
What Is the Chevy Corvette E-Ray's Name All About?
To be very clear, nothing's official until Chevy tells us so. And at this early date, we have only rumors and a few scant firm details to work with. Still, this combination gives us a reasonable idea of what to expect from the gasoline-electric hybrid Corvette. For one, General Motors has held the "E-Ray" trademark since 2015. It renewed it in August 2020. Automakers hold trademarks for lots of reasons, and it doesn't always mean they intend to produce a vehicle so named. However, with the latest GM push toward electrification, the stars are aligning for an electrified C8.
Will the C8 E-Ray Be a Hybrid?
That's the rumor at the moment. We've heard the E-Ray will adopt a pair of front-mounted electric motors, which will provide low-speed motivation, as well as an extra kick in various performance scenarios. The layout would be loosely reminiscent of the recently-departed BMW i8: an internal combustion engine aft of the cabin, and two electric motors powering the front wheels. That means the E-Ray would be all-wheel drive.
What Gas Engine Will Power the Corvette E-Ray?
The E-Ray is anticipated to use the stock 6.2-liter V-8 engine found in the regular C8 coupe and convertible. For such a large engine, the V-8 returns reasonable fuel economy thanks to a bevy of advanced fuel-saving features, such as Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation). GM could detune the engine slightly for better economy, considering the E-Ray's electric motors will likely add a good deal of power to the powertrain stable. We're confident that if an E-Ray comes to market, it'll best the stock C8's 495-hp and 470 lb-ft of torque (when equipped with the performance exhaust). We envision power numbers that slot it firmly in between the regular C8 and the high-zoot Z06.
E-Ray May Not Be the Only Hybrid C8
We've heard that the E-Ray's electric motors could be paired with a twin-turbocharged version of the Z06's flat-plane crank V-8. The resulting all-wheel-drive hybrid monster could be called the "Zora" to honor the "Father of the Corvette," GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. We expect it to have more than 900 hp. In other words, it'll be a true monster of a Corvette. It'd be a smart way for GM to re-use some of the development dollars spent on the E-Ray, too, giving the C8 a variety of mix-and-match powertrain components to dial in several performance price points. Again, GM hasn't confirmed the Corvette Zora, so things may change in the future.
When Will the E-Ray Arrive?
As soon as we find out when the E-Ray is due, we'll let you know. The C8's been out for a while, and after GM's recent EV and electrification announcements, the time is certainly ripe for the company to announce the addition of the E-Ray. Unfortunately, with most auto shows canceled due to the pandemic, we can't point to a particular show that might serve as the likely reveal date. Stay tuned.