Corvette owners, fans and dreamers got let in on GM’s little a secret last year when it leaked that the name “Corvette E-Ray” was submitted to be trademarked in December of 2015 and later also trademarked the stand alone “E-Ray.” Does this mean we should be on the lookout for a hybrid or electric Corvette? What do you think about this classic American sports car going electric?
The Corvette brand is about as synonymous with being all-American as apple pie. With so many successful years under its belt, and arguably the biggest (and most passionate) fan base of any other sports car, the brand is also known to be rather set-in-its-way. Alex Kierstein of Auto Blog said that Corvette is “historically, and famously, resistant to change.” However, the completely revamped seventh generation Corvette Stingray and its new body style was released for 2014 and rumors say that the mid-engine Corvette Zora could be released sometime this year. So, maybe the brand is changing with the times.
The E-Ray Corvette: Would it Work?
Would an electric Corvette be as fast and powerful as the current stock or high performance models? The general consensus seems to have been that electric cars lack muscle and are only good for commuting in the city (i.e. the Smart Fortwo Electric Coupe with its 74 hp). In reality, though, electricity is the key to what will take sports cars to the next level. Electric and hybrid powertrains can be used to convert otherwise wasted energy into increased intensity and capability, making sport cars quicker and more fuel efficient.
While Car and Driver Technical Director Don Sherman discussed how a C7 Stingray might be modified into a hybrid Corvette, others in the industry think that the conceptual design of the mid-engine Zora Corvette is more suitable for the rumored E-Ray Corvette, arguing that the super compact design of the C7 doesn’t leave room for the addition of a battery. Either way, other brands are showing that electric sports cars do not equal less power.
Electric Sports Cars: Don of a New Era?
Since the Tesla entered the American market, electric sports cars and EV performance have gone mainstream. One of the latest models, the Tesla P90D, includes a Ludicrous mode that allows the battery and motors to transfer as much energy as possible without melting in order to get max acceleration. In this mode, the P90D delivers 762 hp. Another purely electric sports car now on the market is the Mercedes-AMG Electric Drive. This electric sports car was the brand’s most powerful model at 740 hp when it was released in 2014.
Porsche is currently working on an all-electric sports car model and is rumored to be spending up to $1 billion on its development. The Mission E, as Porsche is calling it, is expected to have 600 hp and a 310-mile battery life. Due to the extra space available by not including a gas engine and tank, designers have more liberty with the Mission E body style.
The Mission E isn’t expected to hit the market until 2020. GM has yet to comment on if and when drivers can expect to see the E-Ray Electric Corvette. What do you think about sports cars becoming electric? Do you think the rumored Crovette E-ray will ever hit the market? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter @HendrickVette.