As a celebration of the Corvette’s 70th birthday, Chevrolet released the Corvette E-Ray, the first-ever hybrid Corvette. The e-AWD E-Ray features both an electric motor and a 6.2-liter small block V-8 gasoline engine. When combined, the hybrid powertrain is capable of producing an impressive 655 horsepower and 595 lb-ft of torque, although this is split in a rather unique way. The vehicle’s front axles are exclusively powered by the electric motor, producing some 160 horsepower, while the rear receives the other 495 horsepower directly from the internal combustion engine. 

Chevrolet says the main advantage of the e-AWD system in the E-Ray is better handling in adverse weather and spirited driving on clearer days. The electric motor also gives Chevrolet an opportunity to expand the vehicle’s capabilities in unique ways by tuning just how much power and torque is delivered to which axle. Perhaps the most novel feature that owes its existence to the electric motor is Stealth Mode, which operates the vehicle in electric-only mode for a short period of time in order to avoid waking the whole neighborhood when leaving early in the morning. 

A mode for every mood

While the E-Ray’s all-electric Stealth Mode is interesting, its three-to-four-mile claimed electric range and 45 mph speed limit make it relatively limited in scope. Fortunately, Chevrolet took the liberty to add six more useful drive modes to the E-Ray. The drive modes in question change the driving dynamics by shifting power delivery between the front and rear wheels, regulating traction control, and changing the way the Active Fuel Management system operates the cylinders, using only four cylinders when necessary to increase efficiency. 

In the E-Ray, drivers can select between Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, My Mode, and Z-Mode. The various driving modes, as part of managing the power and traction to the wheels, will also adjust how much electric assist is delivered to the front axle. While Chevrolet has not shared much regarding the power split or details about each individual profile, it’s safe to assume the Weather mode will have a healthy dose of electric assist and probably a softer throttle response. According to Chevrolet, Z-Mode on previous Corvettes allowed drivers to customize a wide range of performance dynamics, from the throttle, transmission, and engine response to braking dynamics, suspension stiffness, steering feel, and even exhaust sound on the fly. It’s safe to say we’ll see similar levels of customization and options in the Corvette E-Ray.