[UPDATE 2] Added video of the incident sent to Motor1.com by CarPix.
[UPDATE] Chevrolet has issued a statement regarding the fiery incident. In an e-mail to Motor1.com, Trevor Thompkins, Senior Manager, Chevrolet Passenger Cars, Performance and Motorsports Communications at General Motors, said:
"A Corvette development vehicle undergoing extreme testing by one of our suppliers this week had a thermal incident. All who were involved are safe as this is our top priority. We are investigating the situation with the supplier."
Whatever happens during the testing phase of a prototype, it's not indicative of the subsequent production model's reliability. Work-in-progress cars break down all the time, and ideally, all issues are ironed out before shipping cars to customers. In some unfortunate cases, the vehicle is well beyond the stage at which it could be rescued. Something went horribly wrong this week with a Chevrolet Corvette test mule believed to be the E-Ray, as the supercar went up in flames.
Scary images of the aftermath show it completely burned down, up to the point it's not recognisable anymore. Our friends at Motor.es obtained the photos and have been kind enough to share them with us. It's certainly not a pretty sight, but what matters the most is that no injuries have been reported. The fiery incident took place while the car was being tested in southern Europe.
2024 Chevy Corvette E-Ray prototype burns down
It certainly must've been a violent fire as it even partially melted the wheels. We know from Motor.es that it was one of the two prototypes in the custody of Bosch, and they were the ones who initially noticed it had some technical issues. A day before burning to a crisp, the mid-engined hybrid machine doing its best Ferrari impression had smoke coming out its rear. It was at that point the engineers noticed the car was leaking oil.
It didn't take too long for the prototype to lose the freshly added oil yet again. Some 24 hours ago later, things went south quickly as the C8 caught fire and it was too late to save it. Whatever the teething problems it may have, these should be ironed out before Chevy begins series production of the first-ever Corvette to have an electric motor.
E-Ray is expected to retain the V8 engine of the petrol-only 'Vette, but the LT2 rather than the new LT6 introduced with the hotter Z06. Throwing an e-motor into the mix should give the American supercar all-wheel drive. Reports state the car will actually have two of them, with both mounted at the front axle. There's a wild rumour claiming a Corvette "Zora" will get a twin-turbo version of the Z06's flat-plane crank V8 combined with the E-Ray's pair of motors, but we may be getting ahead of ourselves as nothing is official at this point.
Expect the Corvette E-Ray to arrive for the 2024 model year, which would mean an official reveal at some point next year. The Z06 is still hot off the press since pricing was announced only a couple of weeks ago, so the company with the bowtie emblem certainly doesn't want to steal its thunder anytime soon.