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WHEN I WROTE “WHY NOT HYBRIDS?” I suspect Corvette engineers were thinking along decidedly different lines. Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Vette, they’ve revealed the 2024 hybrid E-Ray. Here are tidbits gleaned from old pal Don Sherman’s article in SAE International’s Automotive Engineering, March 2023.
Part of the Original C8 Plan. “E-Ray,” Don writes, “has a compact 160-hp (119 kW), 125-lb-ft (169 Nm) electric motor located between the front wheels, just beneath its front trunk. A coupling attached to the motor’s output accommodates wheel speed differences in corners. Rather than plugging in to charge the battery, the AC motor serves as a generator during deceleration and cruising to perform that function.”
Rear Wheel Contribution. Don notes, “The standard Stingray’s 6.2-L LT2 V8 hammers E-Ray’s rear wheels with 495 hp (369 kW) and 470 lb-ft (637 Nm) through a carryover Tremec TR9080 8-speed dual-clutch transaxle.”
It’s an automatic, of course.
Six-Mode Operation. “Electrical assistance,” Don writes, “varies according to which of six drive modes is selected by the driver. Various data details, such as the AC motor’s instantaneous output, are available for display on cockpit instruments.”
Stealth mode, Don says, “enables virtually silent driving in the E-Ray up to 45 mph (72 km/h) via the electric propulsion motor. [Range is not cited.] Active Fuel Management, which allows 4-cylinder operation of the 6.2-L V8 during highway cruising, carries over to maximize E-Ray’s fuel economy. Final EPA mileage ratings are not yet available.”
Quickest Vette in History. Don cites Chevrolet figures that the E-Ray takes only 2.5 seconds to reach 60 mph and matches the 670-hp Vette’s 10.5-second quarter-mile posting. To put this in (a bit humbling) perspective, zeroto60times.com lists 28 cars—including five Tesla BEVs—that do 0-60 in less time.
Which, of course, prompted my “Enough Electron Guzzlers?”
Niche Marketing. Don writes, “Strategically sandwiched between the base Stingray and the Z06 street/track racer, the Corvette E-Ray is offered in both targa and convertible body styles. Deliveries commence later this year at a suggested retail price of $104,295 for the base coupe.”
A Zora Tribute Coming. “To prove their commitment to electrified Corvettes,” Don says, “Chevy engineers will subsequently introduce a second hybrid called Zora (in honor of long-time chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov with combined horsepower topping the 1000 hp/746 kW mark. Further, speculation is rampant that an all-new, all-electric C9 Corvette will arrive by the turn of the decade.”
A Modest Point. About the only thing that’s not a superlative is the E-Ray’s modest 1.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack: It provides about 1/7 the energy of the battery in a 2023 Toyota Prius. Instead, think of the E-Ray’s as being akin to a Formula 1 propulsion unit, only with electrical propulsion dedicated solely to the front wheels. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2023