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2024 Chevy Corvette E-Ray first ride: iconic sports car look with an electric surge

It only took 70 years for the Corvette to find a little space for an electric motor. The new E-Ray is the first hybrid version of the eighth-generation sports car and the first to feature all-wheel drive. 

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Chevy Corvette E-Ray in blue
Photo by Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge

It’s been 70 years since the first Corvette made its debut at GM’s Motorama in New York City, and to celebrate, Chevy is giving its flagship sports car a unique makeover: its very first hybrid gas-electric motor. 

The 2024 Corvette E-Ray — heavily teased and accidentally leaked over the past year — was revealed today in Manhattan, just a stone’s throw from where the first model, then known as the EX-122, made its first public appearance while dressed in polo white with a red bucket seat interior trim.

In contrast, the E-Ray presents more as an undersea submersible than a weekend cruiser, with a metallic blue exterior and a body shape reminiscent of its aquatic namesake, the Stingray. You could hunt sharks in this thing.

Photo by Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge

This is by design, of course. The E-Ray is meant to usher in a new era for Corvette, including an all-electric version sometime later this year. GM is barreling toward its goal of electric-only sales by 2040, and Chevy is leading the charge, with electric versions of the Silverado, Blazer, and Equinox coming soon — and now the Corvette. 

GM is barreling toward its goal of electric-only sales by 2040, and Chevy is leading the charge

But rather than go full-electric right out of the gate, Chevy decided to ease its customers into the world of battery-propelled propulsion with the E-Ray. Sports car customers are a bit finicky, placing a premium on loud exhaust noise and the digestive rumblings of a V-8 engine. An all-electric Corvette may have generated similar bouts of existential dread as Ford did when it decided to slap the pony logo on its Mustang Mach-E

But times, they are a-changing, or so I’m told. And Chevy sees an opportunity, especially in surging demand for electric vehicles. 

Photo by Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge

“I think it’s really timely for the market right now,” said Harlan Charles, product marketing manager for Corvette. “The demands that a sports car has, both for the street and track capability, this is really the best solution.”

When the E-Ray goes on sale later this year, it’ll start at $104,2954 for the 1LZ coupe and $111,2954 for the 1LZ convertible model. Both prices include delivery charges. And production will take place at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly facility in Kentucky.

“I think it’s really timely for the market right now”

We’ve already gotten the broad strokes about what makes the E-Ray unique. In addition to the first hybrid engine, the E-Ray is also the first Corvette to get all-wheel drive. Coupled with a set of all-season tires, a brand-new wheel design, and Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, Chevy hopes that the E-Ray will be the first Corvette to avoid going into storage during the winter months.  

Photo by Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge

You’re going to need those brakes when putting the E-Ray to the test. The front-axle electric motor will put out 160 horsepower, while the 6.2-liter small block V-8 engine will produce 495 horsepower, giving the sports car a total of 655 hp and 585 pound-feet of torque — enough to propel the E-Ray from 0–60 mph in a little more than two seconds. That front-axle motor gets its electrons from a 1.9 kWh battery pack which is located in the structural tunnel between the seats. 

And while that’s not enough battery capacity for any meaningful electric-only driving, the E-Ray still offers a Stealth Mode for street driving. (Chevy hasn’t said what the range of Stealth Mode is, but it likely won’t be more than a couple miles.) The E-Ray isn’t a plug-in hybrid, which means its battery regains energy through regenerative braking, as well as coasting and normal driving.

There are six drive modes: Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, My Mode, and Z-Mode — all of which feature a tailored amount of electric assist. Drivers can also select the Charge Plus feature to maximize the battery’s state of charge.

Photo by Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge

Inside, the instrument cluster and infotainment displays have been adapted to provide a range of useful information related to the e-motor. Chevy has added three new display layouts: Gauges, which conveys dynamic power output from the electric motor and V8 engine; Dyno, which provides a graph of the vehicle’s power / torque across selectable time intervals; and Data, which showcases the electrical system’s performance and efficiency.

Other than that, most of what you’ll find inside the E-Ray is comparable to the current, gas-only Corvette, also known as the C8, a reference to this being the eighth-generation version of the sports car. “You know, the C8 portfolio had a really nice interior so we didn’t see a need to redo it,” said Cody Bulkley, Corvette’s performance engineer and the amiable driver of the cherry red E-Ray I got to ride in last week. “We just complimented it,” he added. 

“You know, the C8 portfolio had a really nice interior so we didn’t see a need to redo it”

The all-wheel-drive system applies additional power to the front wheels during “spirited driving” or low-traction conditions. That’s sure to give drivers an extra boost of confidence, not only while driving during inclement weather conditions but also on the racetrack. This was a goal of the Corvette design team when engineering the E-Ray, Bulkley said. 

Photo by Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge

As we drove over a cobblestoned street to demonstrate the suspension tuning, he warned me that I was about to feel the “exhilarating” combination of gas and battery-powered propulsion. There was just enough room on the busy West Side Highway for a burst of acceleration, and, boy, did it. The E-Ray roared to life — the V-8 was not shy about letting its presence known — and I let out an involuntary cackle while swallowing several curse words. 

The E-Ray roared to life

The E-Ray has a wider stance than the Stingray (about 3.6 inches in total) while retaining the tire sizes found on the current Z06, which will be indispensable in delivering all that torque put out by the hybrid powertrain. But it’s not all borrowed: the lightweight alloy wheels have a twisted five-spoke star design that is exclusive to the E-Ray.

“If people wanted to move up from, say, the Stingray, we kind of forced them into more track-oriented motorsports style cars,” Charles said. “This is still a Corvette, so people are going to want all the performance, but this is a more high-tech, refined way of getting there.”

Photo by Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge

Interested buyers will have 14 exterior colors to choose from, including a trio of colors brand new to Corvette: riptide blue, seawolf gray, and cacti. They can also opt for a body-length racing stripe in Riptide Blue if they want to indulge their sportier side. 

A peek under the hood will reveal a surprisingly spacious frunk, complete with one power outlet. There’s further storage in the rear, but let’s be real: as much as Chevy wants this to be your daily driver, this is not the car you take out for a grocery run. This is for carving up canyons or doing laps at the local track. 

Or, as Bulkley put it, “The ultimate car that people can get into and not be scared of.”

This is a sports car in every sense. The Corvette name has been synonymous with performance for 70 years. And with the arrival of the E-Ray, an interesting new chapter in that story has just begun.