I was really trying to steer this article in a positive direction, but screw it, it goes where it goes. Chevrolet released details on the Corvette E-Ray. And all the automotive websites are saying the exact same things about it. You know… ‘specs’ & whatnot. But personally – I like a little bias in my automotive journalism, so here’s mine lol.
The Corvette was already a sports car for old farts..
So Chevy went & made a Corvette for even older farts with the E-Ray? Reading between the lines, GM gets a lot of old guys who want to spend as much money as possible on a new Corvette. And up until this point, that’s led them straight into a badass, uncomfortable, RWD Z06 or ZR1 that wants to vaporize you. But most old-timers don’t have the heart for that kind of monster on their daily trip to wherever they go for eggs, crispy bacon, and black coffee in the morning. So Chevy decided to offer these geezers an equally expensive Corvette, but with more civility. Still bonkers-fast when you put the pedal down, but a lot more predictable with all-wheel-drive. Give ‘em something they can handle, while still taking all their money, and while implementing some new ‘electrified tech’ into a flagship performance model. Basically… an Audi jk. It’s actually kind of brilliant.
The theory behind the Corvette E-Ray…
Is to use a hybrid system to power the front wheels, while letting the C8’s mid-engine V8 power the rear wheels. And then give it a really cringy name & embroider it all over dad hats & floor mats. But here’s the good part: The battery in the E-Ray is tiny. It only weighs about 100lbs, and can recharge itself almost instantly, either with power from regenerative braking, or power created from the V8. Chevy says, “It’s all about power in, power out.” Meaning, the battery doesn’t need to be big, because it doesn’t store power. It’s essentially just a hot-potato to grab & release that extra 160hp to the front wheels.
With the additional 160hp, the E-Ray generates a total of 655hp, making an AWD Corvette missile that absolutely rips off the line & sticks in corners. So bottom line: It gives gramps the ultimate acceleration he paid for… while hopefully keeping him between the ditches. I will say, even though the E-Ray doesn’t tickle my britches personally – it is encouraging to see GM implement EV tech in a performance-oriented way. And to do so with a smaller, lighter battery approach. It points to a more cost-effective, sustainable middle-ground for future models perhaps. A way to do more with less – GM is thinking like racers here. In other words, not like they were thinking when they built the 9,000lb Hummer EV with a 3,000lb battery.
Even though the E-Ray is impressive from an engineering standpoint…
Is it what the Corvette nation really wanted? Chevy promised a sub-$60,000 price on the C8. They lied. Now it’s been 3-4 years, and you still don’t really see Corvettes at dealerships, or even on the road too much. Not like you did with previous generations. The Corvette was always America’s sports car. And now Chevy builds an E-Ray at over 100k? Who is this for exactly? It seems like Corvette is straying off-course from its fanbase. There were only about 34,000 Corvettes sold last year. Maybe that’s because Corvette buyers want an iconic ground-pounder. I think most of them want a sense of performance purity, not hybrid technology. But what do I know? Maybe Chevrolet sees a customer that I don’t.