Speculation surrounding the upcoming high-performance versions of the C8 Corvette have been swirling since long before the standard car debuted this summer. Try as they may, the team over at Chevrolet haven’t been able to keep these projects totally under wraps, as a number of leaks have continued to come out about these models. While we were treated to information potentially displaying all of the upcoming powertrain options for the C8, there is now video evidence of what could be two electrified Corvette E-Ray supercars.
Thanks to the guys over at the TFLnow YouTube channel, there is now video footage (just below) of two Chevrolet Corvette C8 prototypes with orange electrical cords protruding from their front trunk areas.
(Update: We now understand these orange cords to simply be easy-access jump ports, as these C8 prototypes are constantly in accessory mode, which exhausts their standard batteries.)
Rumors about the electrified C8’s have stated that the electric motor would find its way to the frunk in order to power the front wheels, similar to the current Acura NSX.
Rumors of a supercar-esque hybrid Corvette has been floating around ever since Chevrolet began twisting up C8 frames during their powertrain testing earlier this year.
General Motors has trademarked the name Corvette E-Ray for use with their automobiles as recently as 2017, which obviously is akin to the Stingray name found on the entry-level C8. And thanks to an alleged engine and powertrain system spreadsheet leak, we also know that an electrified version of the 6.2L LT2 small-block V8 engine will find its way into the C8. These prototypes then are likely pre-production examples of the Corvette E-Ray, which should hit the market before the more extreme hybrid examples. The Corvette E-Ray will of course deliver higher output and fuel economy than the Stingray thanks to the aid of electrification, but at the expense of the C8’s “frunk” front storage area. Pricing is not yet known, but we do understand that the E-Ray will be a conventional hybrid, and not a plug-in hybrid.
Despite speculation from others, this simply isn’t the 1,000 horsepower C8 Corvette Zora – an upcoming American hypercar that’s farther ahead in the vehicle’s lifecycle. That said, the Corvette Zora is expected to also be a hybrid, but instead of the naturally aspirated LT2 small block V8, its propulsion system will feature a 5.5L twin-turbo LT7 DOHC V8 to go with a high-output battery pack. The batteries will power the front wheels, while the high-output internal combustion engine will deliver output to the rears. Below that will be the non-hybrid ZR1, which will be strictly rear-wheel-drive and non-hybrid (meaning it will be significantly lighter than the Zora, and could be the faster track car). Below that will be the LT6-powered, naturally aspirated C8 Corvette Z06 that we reported on earlier this week. Then below that, the Corvette E-Ray. Think of it as a baby Zora, if you will.
Say what you will about the proliferation of hybrid systems in sports cars, it is the most effective way for the naturally aspirated engine to stay alive in these troubling times where policy makers have fixated themselves with eliminating the internal combustion engine from this earth. We’ve seen these systems integrated extremely well in the past, though the question of weight gain always remains. If a hybrid Corvette is necessary for General Motors to push the envelope and create even more hardcore versions of the C8 Corvette, then we are all about it.