Last week, we covered a story revealing that the National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) updated its 2022-23 competition handbook and placed a ban on all EVs and hybrids containing lithium-type batteries from competitive events. The rule also stated that the vehicles in question must be “parked 30 feet minimum from structures or other vehicles.” But the NCCC has reversed course on its ban of the 2024 Corvette E-Ray from competitive events.
Keep in mind that the E-Ray isn’t even out yet, and yet rules were being put in place to ostracize the first-ever AWD, hybrid production Corvette.
Corvette E-Ray Ban Lifted: Hybrid AWD C8 Welcome To Events
According to Corvette Blogger, the National Council of Corvette Clubs stated that the ordeal was just a misunderstanding. As a result, the first performance hybrid Corvette is welcome to participate in its track events. Deb Murphy, President of the NCCC, sent an update late Friday evening stating the rule was only intended to apply to fully electric vehicles, and the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray will be allowed to compete. So, if you’re planning on purchasing or have already purchased a Corvette E-Ray, there’s even more reason to be happy about the car, as you’ll be able to put it on the road course during an NCCC track day.
It’s easy to imagine a stern email or phone call from somebody at GM to the NCCC. But that detail hasn’t been confirmed officially.
Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles spoke with the NCCC before Friday’s reversal, which was a misunderstanding. The rule change was passed before the E-Ray was revealed, and Chevy’s engineers maintain that the battery packs in the E-Ray are very safe for competitive events. Harlan also points out that these performance hybrids are racing in the top classes at IMSA and Le Mans.
Corvette Chief Engineer Josh Holder also touched on the safety aspects of the E-Ray during the annual NCM Bash, which happened last week. Since the battery pack size is minimal compared to that of fully electric EVs, and since the pack is stored in the tunnel of the aluminum frame structure that runs through the middle of the car, there shouldn’t be much the customer has to worry about. Adding to this, Holder also stated that the GM engineers purposely damaged the battery packs by driving nails through the cells and then charging and discharging the battery multiple times without causing a thermal event to ensure safety.
Why Are People Mad At Hybrid And Electric Vehicles?
Culturally, hybrid and electric vehicles appear at odds with the popular V8 engine. Especially when it comes to domestic marques like Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge. For instance, we see the erosion of the muscle car market to the point where only the Ford Mustang will be left by next year. In place of the Chevrolet Camaro there will be nothing for a while, while Dodge has to parlay its Hellcat brand cachet into electric vehicles such as the Charger Daytona SRT Banshee concept. V8 engines that are otherwise surviving are charging a hefty premium. For example, the 2023 Corvette Stingray starts at nearly $66,000 with destination, while the new Ford Mustang GT comes in at $43,090 – some $5,000 more than the previous generation. Performance trucks and SUVs with V8 engines ask even more, with the Jeep Wrangler 392 demanding roughly $80,000 or more, and the 700 hp Ford F-150 Raptor R coming in over $100,000 USD. The Cadillac Escalade-V? Over $150,000.
Would there be less fervor around hybrid and electric vehicles if affordable V8 cars and trucks weren’t going away? Let us know what you think in the comments.