The C8 Chevrolet Corvette has been out for a few years now. Seeing one on the road isn't exactly uncommon, and at a glance, this looks like a new Z06. That alone is interesting, because the Z06 debuted just a few months ago and doesn't go on sale until later in 2022. The manufacturer license plate tells us this isn't a production car, so it's just a Z06 test vehicle, right? That's exactly what Chevrolet wants you to think.

In reality, we believe this is actually the forthcoming Corvette E-Ray hybrid. It will become the first electrified production Corvette ever, and the fact that this test vehicle wears Z06 styling suggests it will certainly emphasise performance over efficiency. Its Z06 appearance also explains why this particular car isn't wearing any camouflage wrap, since that version of the C8 Corvette is already revealed.

Gallery: 2023 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray New Spy Photos

However, car buffs will immediately notice something very different at the back – a lack of centre-exit exhaust. That's a staple on the Z06, but this car retains the corner-exit exhaust of the Stingray. That's very important here, as we believe the E-Ray will keep the Stingray's 6.2-litre V8 in standard format, generating 490 or 495 horsepower.

The electrification comes through the addition of an electric motor turning the front wheels, making the first hybrid Corvette the first all-wheel-drive model as well. Allegedly anyway, as none of this information is confirmed. But we have gathered information from a few sources at it all points to this same conclusion.

How do we know this isn't just a Z06 prototype running the Stingray's exhaust? Honestly, we can't be completely certain without photos showing the engine and undercarriage, and that's not happening with fly-by photos like these. However, our spy sources did follow this car for a bit, and they tell us the exhaust sound was definitely not the telltale rasp of the Z06's high-revving DOHC V8. So either it's a Stingray wearing a Z06 suit, or it's an E-Ray. We're betting heavily on the latter.

We won't know for sure until later next year. That's when we expect Chevrolet to officially unveil the E-Ray, likely going on sale in 2023.