First drive of the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray: Jekyll and Hyde
Will all-wheel drive and electric power — a first for a Corvette — destroy the American sports car?
People are callingCorvette all-wheel drive For decades. Of course, these voices belong mostly to baby boomers who like to drive in the snow, but the feelings still remain. Now, the electric revolution in the automotive industry is coming together with the C8 team realizing that all-wheel drive would be the logical way to achieve another performance boost.The first mid-engined Corvette. Chevrolet also hopes the first hybrid Corvette will start to get the public thinking about an all-electric vehicle that will eventually be rolled out at the Bowling Green, Kentucky, assembly plant.
What is this?
Designed to be equally at home on the road and track,2024 Corvette E-Ray The split personality comes from an attractive package: it uses the chassis and engine of the standard Stingray;Z06 wider body and wheel/tire packages. The Z06’s massive Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are also standard, as are Chevrolet’s latest generation Magnetic Ride Control and Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires.
This is not the hybrid you would expect. The Corvette team says the biggest misconception about E-Ray is its electric purpose. Instead of using an electric motor to reduce fuel use like most traditional hybrids, the E-Ray uses a primarily electric motor to increase performance. The 6.2-liter V-8 handles most of the propulsion duties unless electric driving is taken over by one of the vehicle’s two electric drive modes. During normal operation, the car is never completely dependent on electric propulsion. No, it’s not a plugin.
Instead, the E-Ray uses a high-voltage lithium-ion battery to power the front wheels. The batteries are located in a structural tunnel that runs through the passenger compartment. Electronic all-wheel drive manages the flow of power, using an electric front motor to boost performance when needed, such as during hard acceleration and hard cornering. The battery drains quickly during aggressive driving; However, the system never drops below the minimum buffer level to ensure you don’t accidentally end up using only rear-wheel drive. However, the system can only operate at speeds up to 150 mph, at which point the front motors are disconnected.
Although electric driving is not the primary function of the E-Ray all-wheel drive system, Chevrolet engineers saw fit to equip the sports car with two silent driving modes: Stealth and Shuttle. Stealth mode allows you to drive the car at speeds up to 40 mph on battery power alone. The relatively small 1.9 kWh battery lasts 3 to 4 miles, depending on the terrain. In stealth mode, the gasoline engine kicks in when you need more torque than the electric motor can provide or when accessories like your HVAC system require it. Meanwhile, enabling Shuttle Mode limits the car’s speed to 15 mph and completely disables the gasoline engine.
In reality, these are nothing more than partisan tricks. The two EV modes are selected by turning the console-mounted drive mode selector after entering the vehicle but before pressing the start button. In this case, the order of operations is important. The subtle driving feel is very similar to that of any regular hybrid sedan. As long as the throttle input remains soft and the road has no inclines, the E-Ray will cruise merrily while playing the government-mandated siren, which sounds like a funky mixture of a variety of sounds.Planes AndWave field.
Although it’s simple, the dual electric mode makes it a bit confusing. Because the system is activated with the vehicle turned off, there is no practical way to use Silent Drive once started. This means that if you want to be a good neighbor and calmly return your car to the garage at the end of a long day, you need to stop at the end of the block, turn the car off completely, and start over. It would be more useful if it could be engaged at speed like the standard driving mode.
How it is driven
On the road, the E-Ray is every bit as comfortable as the Stingray, with standard magnetic dampers that absorb road undulations and expansion joints with ease. Not much has changed inside compared to the “regular” Corvette, except for a new set of E-Ray information displays and a Charge+ button on the driver’s right knee, which switches the electronic all-wheel drive system into energy-saving mode. A head-up display is also available as standard across the E-Ray range.
Wind and road noise are still present, and the car’s wide all-season tires add more bulk than the Stingray’s narrower rubber. The artificial feel of sci-fi whine added to the house soundtrack was not appreciated, ultimately leaving us wondering if we were experiencing a sudden onset of hum. Interestingly, the cabin feels quieter when driving on the highway with the convertible top retracted.
Our time behind the wheel was greeted with beautiful late-summer weather, but Chevrolet says the E-Ray can be a competent four-season car, even on snow-covered roads, if equipped with the right tires. Something dramatic will happen. For this purpose, Michelin will offer snow tires suitable for the E-Ray wheel size.
There are big shoes to fill when anything is billed as the fastest ever, especially when it’s a Corvette. Corvette E-Ray maker estimates 0-60 mph in just 2.5 secondsBeyond the Z06 brothers 0.1 sec. This is no small feat when you consider that the Z06 is lighter and more powerful while wearing stronger rubber. The new model’s quarter-mile time of 10.5 seconds is enough to get you into trouble on test night at most tracks. To experience this firsthand, we headed to Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colorado, where we had time to play on the track’s inland roads and traditional off-road stock car tracks.
E-Ray is very fast in a straight line. Using the fire control (after finding it in the menu) can produce repeated 2-second blasts up to 60 times with little to no mental intervention. One of the main reasons a car goes faster is the increased traction provided by the all-wheel drive system. Even with the Corvette’s excellent traction control, the Stingray and Z06 experience some wheel spin during hard acceleration. However, with the E-Ray’s front tires striving for more grip, getting the rear tires to turn in a straight line was difficult.
While the car’s straight-line speed is impressive, cornering is where the E-Ray really shines. The vehicle’s electronic all-wheel drive and traction management systems take into account surface friction, tire traction and driver intentions in real time to dynamically adjust torque distribution for optimal chassis balance, corner exit speed and stability. This provides a very natural torque feel without feeling too much torque steer through the front axle. This means you can get back on the throttle more quickly when exiting corners, allowing for impressive exit speeds without disturbing the car or chasing its tail. Shedoff speeds are also low thanks to E-Ray paired with the Z06’s Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes.
Contrary to logic, this car also drifts. Part of the cyclocross experience is a board that encourages us to start drifting and keep it up for as long as we feel like it. Roasting someone else’s thousand-dollar tire? No need to ask us twice. Getting the car to turn at the right speed and letting the rear tires free themselves from traction is the easy part. Once the rear end begins to slide, the driver instinctively calls for countersteer while tapping the accelerator to continue the slide. However, best practice with the E-Ray system is to keep your foot firmly on the gas and maintain the smoke effect with simple steering corrections. Even if you lift off the throttle a little, the front tires will stick and the fun is complete.
There are no doubts remaining
After two days and hundreds of miles behind the wheel of the new E-Ray, we’re confident in saying that this may be the perfect real-world Corvette. The car’s discrete character seamlessly blends the highway charm of the Stingray with the Z06’s aggressive performance on the track. The E-Ray is a comfortable road cruiser that performs almost as well on the track as its spirited cousin. The new E-Ray starts at a lower price than the Z06, and with the Stingray’s ladylike appearance, it’s an option not to be missed.