First Look Review: The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray is special with many firsts

  • First-ever electrified Corvette brings all-season drivability with AWD
  • Hits 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds
  • Can be driven up to 5 miles silently as an EV
  • Priced from USD 106,595 (Coupe)/USD 113,595 (Convertible)

In January 2017, GM announced the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray as the first-ever hybrid Corvette and commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Bowtie brand’s halo sports car. Deliveries have just started but in limited quantities. Recently, I saw an Arctic White sample on display and spent some time properly exploring its design and features. Here are my first impressions of the Corvette hybrid:

Design

Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray front three quarter

The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray maintains the iconic design of the traditional gas-powered Corvette but adds a few unique styling touches. The E-Ray presents a more cohesive exterior with front and rear grille accents and side vent accents painted to match the body rather than the gloss black used on the Z06. Having seen both models up close, I prefer the E-Ray’s clean exterior.

Interestingly, the Corvette E-Ray has the Corvette Stingray’s bumper instead of the Corvette Z06’s. Thus, separated quad exhaust tips are located on the outboard ends, which I feel importantly adds to its understated styling. The staggered 20- and 21-inch wheels in the exclusive twisted five-spoke star design remind me of some early 2000s Ferraris like the 458 Italia and the 2013 LaFerrari. E-Ray inscription below the side vents and E-Ray badge on the rear deck add to the exclusive styling of the hybrid Corvette.

Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray rear three quarter

I’m told there are 14 color choices, and there’s an option to specify a unique body-length stripe package in Electric Blue, which is my favorite part of the car’s exterior. These include three new paint options, namely Riptide Blue, Seawolf Gray, and Cacti.

Available options include carbon fiber wheels as well, but in my opinion, the Riptide Blue with Electric Blue stripes looks stunning paired with the standard Pearl Nickel or the optional bright polished wheels. Then again, there’s a sea of exterior combinations that I haven’t explored yet.

Interior

The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray has a familiar sleek and modern interior, and its cockpit wraps around the driver in line with the C8’s aeronautic theme. E-Ray-branded door sills and a small E-Ray badge on the steering are the only visual cues on entering the Corvette E-Ray, speaking of which, as a six-feet fall person, I found the car’s ingress to be quite difficult due to the low-slung design.

Once positioned in the driver’s seat, I felt the steering was easy to reach. I also saw new ‘Charge+’ and ‘Stop/Start’ buttons, located within my arm’s reach on the center console and thus easily accessible.

Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray front seats

I also spotted changes in the electronics, basically updates to the instrument cluster and infotainment system. The driver display shows the power flow from the traction battery pack, and the central display presents the electric and engine outputs. These screens are sized perfectly, and I’d imagine that I wouldn’t be distracted at all by them.

The E-Ray introduces the green interior color option ‘Artemis Dipped’ to the Corvette, which may be a hit or miss for some customers. Initially, from the pictures, I was on the fence about its appeal. When I saw it in person, I felt its desirability factor was undeniably high! I felt no noticeable changes when I touched various trim pieces and other materials to look for quality improvements from the gas model.

Specifications

The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray has the LT2 6.2L V8 engine powering the rear wheels, complemented by an electric motor in the front. The electric motor, enabled by a 1.1 kWh (net) battery pack, spins the front wheels, making this the first-ever Corvette with an all-wheel drive drivetrain layout and all-season drivability.

The hybrid system produces 655 horsepower, enabling the Corvette E-Ray to hit 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and making it the quickest Corvette ever built. A new Stealth drive mode lets customers drive the hybrid Corvette quietly, only using the electric motor, for a distance of up to 3-4 miles at speeds up to 45 mph.

Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray side profile

The ‘Charge+’ button allows the driver to maximize the traction battery pack and save all that energy for later use. I can see this particularly being handy for extending time on the racetrack or for a peaceful, stealthy ride home through quiet neighborhoods after a late-evening car and coffee meet.

Driving Impressions

From what I gather, the Corvette E-Ray is pulse-setting from the word go, thanks to a healthy low-end torque generated by the electric motor, and more engaging than the Corvette Stingray, as well as easier than the track-focused Corvette Z06.

Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray front

The power delivery in the Corvette E-Ray is quick yet not so overwhelming as to be intimidating or give that neck-snapping sensation often associated with a quad-motor electric sports car. Apparently, there’s ample grip to keep the car focused on its path and it’s also easy to help it sway the tail and engage a drift. The electric motor in the front improves stability, so in the event of an unwanted slide or sideways trajectory, it can help bring the car back on track.

So then, the Corvette E-Ray appears to be the answer for customers seeking performance and driving dynamics akin to the Corvette Z06 but without the trade-off in practicality or the necessity of being a professional driver to enjoy the car fully.

Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray rear

Price

The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray’s prices range from USD 106,595 to USD 117,545 in the Coupe version and USD 113,595 to USD 124,545 in the Convertible version.

TopElectricSUV says

The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray pivots on electrification to boost performance, striking a sweet spot between the Stingray’s everyday practicality and the Z06’s exhilarating rush. Although the price tag leans towards the steep side, for those who can happily tear the six-digit figure cheque, it delivers an ideal mix: a Corvette with extra oomph that is well-mannered on the city streets, and as a bonus, is kinder to the environment.

Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray FAQs

What is the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray release date?

The Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray will begin arriving at U.S. dealerships soon.

What is the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray price?

Prices start at USD 106,595 (Coupe)/USD 113,595 (Convertible) and reach USD 117,545 (Coupe)/USD 124,545 (Convertible).