General Motors president Mark Reuss has revealed why an electric C8 Corvette was, for now, avoided. The mild-hybrid Corvette E-Ray was revealed last week and received a largely positive reception. When it was first teased, many thought the E-Ray would be all-electric.
However, instead the E-Ray pairs the regular C8's 495 hp V8 with a 160 bhp electric motor - the result being 655 bhp and a 2.5 second 0-60 mph time. The E-Ray can also blast down the quarter mile in just 10.4 seconds and has a top speed of around 180 mph. And although it's almost $40,000 (approx. £32,300) more than a base C8, at $104,295 (approx. £85,350) the E-Ray is still considerably less than any other mid-engined 600 bhp+ supercar.
So, why didn't GM bite the bullet and make the E-Ray a full EV? After all, the automaker recently promised to go "all in on EVs" and avoid hybrids. Well, Mark Reuss explained a number of factors were at play when deciding the E-Ray's powertrain.
Firstly, it's important to note development of the C8 started 5+ years ago. Hence the C8's architecture was "planned and engineered for quite a few variants" but not necessarily an EV one. An all-electric C8 is undoubtedly possible, but it probably wouldn't perform up to standard and would also require extensive retooling at Corvette's Kentucky plant.
On the other hand, a mild-hybrid system was always intended for the C8. And it works pretty well - the E-Ray's 1.9 kWh battery gives you just enough range to cruise around town while also being light enough to ensure handling is not compromised.
A fully electric Corvette supercar will undoubtedly happen at some stage, however we aren't expecting to see it anytime soon. The C8 will probably be around for at least another 5 years. In the meantime, GM is reportedly keen to launch a standalone Corvette brand. Hence an electric Corvette SUV could arrive in 2025/26.