What Do You Mean There Will be a Hybrid Corvette Called the E-Ray?
Just when you think you’ve seen it all this year, Corvette flew in under the radar with an announcement that caused waves in the car world. From electric Mach-E Mustangs, re-designed Tundra’s, and the sheer volume of news we’ve soaked in this year, we’ve almost become numb to this type of content. That’s until Corvette went peak 2020 and told us that they’ll be joining in the race of odd releases by granting a C8 E-Ray Hybrid. The car is set to take the place of the Grand Sport model.
If you’re like us, we’re still adjusting to the latest innovation at Chevrolet – the mid-engined supercar. At one time, Corvette boasted an engine in the front and had an appealing in-between performance trim. The C7 Grand Sport came with suspension upgrades, fender flares, and a format of the more potent Z06 with an entry-level LT1 V-8 engine. That is until they decided to let us know they’ll be skipping the C8 Corvette Sports Version altogether.
The Corvette E-Ray is the latest project in the works at General Motors, and the model is a front runner for a widebody Corvette to follow the Z06 in 2022. The variant is expected to be all-wheel drive and will have electric motors in place of the current “frunk,” which will be responsible for powering the front wheels.
The E-Ray’s “spine” will contain a cluster of GM Ultium battery packs. Don’t think because they’re releasing a hybrid that Corvette has gone soft – they plan on pairing the batteries with a 6.2L LT2 V-8, which is the same engine found in the current C8 Stingray. The earliest reports put the hybrid Corvette producing nearly 600-horsepower and 500-pound-feet of torque, but these are purely speculative figures. The E-Ray will also feature a widebody design set for the 2022 Corvette Z06.
Although it’s still possible that a Stingray could be produced, all signs point to this particular vehicle wearing the E-Ray badge. At this stage, we’ve heard nothing about a Grand Sport in development, but there are some E-Ray’s being tested. Perhaps, at some point, Chevrolet will re-visit its roots with a Grand Sport name and put together a track-only package to pay respect to the original cars, but right now, it’s not likely.
A Little Friction to this Point
Before the news was released, Corvette sought to name the car “Manta Ray.” In June 2015, General Motors filed trademark applications for this specific name in the United States and Canada. However, while the patent was subsequently granted for both applications, it was not fully approved. After too much friction, GM decided to abandon the trademark applications for the Manta Ray names and decided to move forward with the E-Ray instead.
GM has used the Manta Ray name in the past, just not for a customer car. Manta Ray was used in a 1965 Mako Shark II concept car that made its debut at the Paris Motor Show. It was given many updates in 1969, causing the concept to change its name to reflect the changes. The car still exists and lives at the GM Heritage Center Collection in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Purist Enthusiasts Sticking with the Original
Car companies continue to make radical changes that purists ware already scrutinizing. Although a Corvette hybrid might attract a new audience, the old school enthusiasts have spoken on car boards and stated they’re sticking with the traditional models. The current C8 Corvette Z06 rocks a mid-mounted, naturally aspirated 5.5L V-8 LT6, containing a DOHC, 32-valves, and flat-plane crank.
Although we anticipate a tough ahead when it comes to out with the old and in with the new, American car companies are doing their best to approach these topics delicately and make their car lines more efficient. Still, it’s going to be a hard sell for those who expect brute muscle and no gimmicks like extra batteries. What are your thoughts on the “E-Ray?”