Daydream: Could Corvette E-Ray become the new base model?

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

corvette e-ray

After months of rumors and speculation, the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray finally broke cover at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Brutal acceleration, the first-ever all-wheel drive system in a ‘Vette, and exclusive styling elements set the insanely quick American supercar apart. Its days are already numbered, however, as General Motors has firmly committed to transforming itself into an electric automaker by the middle of the next decade.

That made me curious. If the massive price difference could be neutralized – and it’s a very big “if” – could the E-Ray replace the Stingray as the entry-level Corvette before GM ditches gas altogether? It’s worth saying again before we proceed: The E-Ray is significantly more expensive than the $64,500 Stingray. Still, stick with me as I (try to) make the case that a more-than-$100,000 car could be considered a good value once the dust settles.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

corvette e-ray

Exclusive Corvette sub-brand

Loads of reports suggest that Chevrolet is knee-deep in its plans to split the Corvette name into its own sub-brand, similar to the way Hyundai did with Genesis almost a decade ago. With three available powertrain configurations, two body styles, and several trims, the ‘Vette catalog is already expansive and growing, and with electrification, Chevy’s got plenty of runway to develop new body styles and performance variants on GM’s Ultium platform, too, so you can expect to see a Corvette SUV at the very least, and possibly many other oddballs wearing the iconic Corvette crossed flags. 

The $104,295 Corvette E-Ray is just shy of the absolutely raging Z06 on price and manages to shave a tenth off the gas-powered track smasher’s 0-60 mph time. It’s four-tenths quicker to 60 mph than the “base” Corvette Stingray, though at nearly twice the price, comparisons can be difficult to make.

corvette e-ray

Hybrid boosts performance and green street cred

Yes, hybrid powertrains save fuel. Until recently, hybrid cars existed for the sole purpose of saving fuel, but racing series like Formula 1 and high-end performance cars have proven that a small battery and electric motor can make a remarkable difference in acceleration and responsiveness. 

In the case of the Corvette E-Ray, the electric motor lives on the front axle tucked away without impacting storage space or packaging. Turning the front wheels, the electric motor gives the E-Ray all-wheel drive, a first in the Corvette world. With a proper set of tires, the car was already surprisingly capable and confident in snowy, slick conditions, so it will be exciting to see the E-Ray perform in winter.

The E-Ray’s electric motor alone delivers more than many mainstream passenger cars. Its 160 horsepower adds to the V8’s 495 ponies for a combined 655 horsepower. An eight-speed dual-clutch transmission sends the gas engine’s fury to the rear wheels. The hybrid Corvette is Chevy’s quickest ever, making the run from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. That’s quicker than Ferrari 812 Superfast and the Lamborghini Aventador – cars that cost roughly four times the E-Ray’s price.

corvette e-ray

Potential Corvette E-Ray fuel savings

The EPA hasn’t rated the E-Ray’s fuel economy yet, but we expect a slight improvement over the Stingray and Z06. The government agency rated the entry-level Corvette Stingray at 16/24/19 mpg city/highway/combined. Stepping up to the Z06 reduces fuel economy to 12/21/15 mpg, thanks to its massively powerful 5.5-liter flat-plane crank V8.

Corvettes have always been a lower-cost alternative to flashy exotic cars from Europe, and that continues with the E-Ray. The coupe starts at $104,300 and the convertible at $111,300. We already listed the Vette’s competitors’ pricing, but let’s cover it again for dramatic effect. Here’s a small sample of the Chevy’s rivals:

Dealers don’t receive tons of Corvettes to sell, and many cars are spoken for before they even hit the lot. The ones that do show up in sales listings are often marked up to a high degree or come with some other borderline delusional added-cost surprise. Even so, the eighth-generation Corvette represents a massive value in a segment where nickel-and-diming customers is the name of the game. 

We can argue heritage and “how it’s always been” until we’re blue in the face, but the reality is that the Corvette E-Ray is a step in the right direction. Not only that, Chevy built a car that does not appear to be a gimmick and looks to be a rightful, legitimate addition to the storied sports car’s product line. 

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