Ever since General Motors pulled the cover off of the C8 Corvette, we knew that it was inevitable that a hybrid variant would arrive at some point. In fact, MC&T has been reporting that more than one hybrid variant of the mid-engined sports car are slated for production for over a year now. And while there has been a bit of confusion as to where the Corvette E-Ray and Zora fit in the lineup, a new report from SAE looks to clarify the future of the performance car. This is what you need to know about the upcoming variants of the C8, as well as what you can expect from a performance standpoint for each of the hybrid Corvette new models.
The report comes by way of Don Sherman, who is an industry veteran and a sleuth of all things related to the Corvette. As a result, we have every reason to believe this report is as accurate as one can expect. Sherman notes that the first electrified C8 Corvette will arrive for the 2023 model year, and that the car will wear the E-Ray nameplate that GM trademarked some six year ago. According to his source who cannot speak publicly on the matter, this C8 Corvette E-Ray model will take the place of the Grand Sport trim in the lineup. The car is slated to be powered by the same 6.2L LT2 V8 engine as the Stingray, though it will be assisted by two electric motors making at least 50 horsepower each. The car will utilize an Ultium battery pack located in the center tunnel to provide juice to the motors, while the hybrid system will enable all-wheel drive and active torque vectoring.
Output is slated to exceed 600 horsepower and 500 ft-lb of torque.
Like with a typical plug-in hybrid, the C8 Corvette E-Ray will return better fuel economy than its gasoline-powered siblings, while offering some full-electric driving range. This will be a massive plus in Europe, where several major city centers have banned the use of gasoline.
Unlike the $625,000 Ferrari SF90 Stradale however, the E-Ray is expected to cost less than $100,000. This puts it in line with the Acura NSX, though expect a higher performance ceiling.
As MC&T has reported in the past, the Corvette E-Ray won’t be the only electrified model coming during the C8 generation. Sherman says that the Corvette Zora is expected to land in the 2025 model year, and will represent the pinnacle of GM performance. The Corvette Zora will utilize the same hybrid powertrain as the E-Ray, but will ditch the LT2 in favor of a twin-turbocharged version of GM’s new 5.5L flat-plane crank V8. Internally known as the LT7, this engine combined with the hybrid system is expected to arrive with a total output of over 1,000 horsepower.
Make no mistake about it, this tribute to Zora Arkus-Duntov will be the most extreme vehicle General Motors has ever created.
Speaking of the LT7 V8, GM hasn’t entirely ditched the concept of high-performance Corvettes powered by fuel. After the 600+ horsepower C8 Corvette Z06 makes its debut for the 2022 model year, it will be followed up by the Corvette ZR1 in the 2024 model year. By adding twin-turbos to the LT6 V8, GM expects the LT7-powered ZR1 to crank out at least 850 horsepower without any electrified assistance.
Corvette enthusiasts have a lot to get excited about in the near future. That said, there is one part of Sherman’s report that might ruffle a few feathers. That is because he makes it clear that GM hopes to expand the Corvette nameplate beyond the typical two-seat sports car. More specifically, he states that the automaker is indeed working on creating an electric Corvette SUV, just as we suggested following GM’s appearance at CES 2021.
Despite the amount of backlash that Ford received for naming their electric SUV the Mustang Mach-E, this move actually does make business sense. The Corvette SUV is expected to arrive in 2025, and will carry design cues from the sports car.
While this is surely going to upset a lot of folks, we would urge you to look at Porsche. Ever since the automaker started cranking out SUVs, their lineup of sports cars has benefitted from better funding. We’ve reported on the idea of a Corvette brand before, and believe that it could help to save the sports car we know and love. For now however, you can take solace in the fact that GM clearly hasn’t given up on America’s Sports Car in this age of electrification.