It’s a 37-degree January afternoon in Michigan at General Motors’ Milford Proving Ground. The “black lake” sea of asphalt test area wears a sheen of moisture on a day that threatens rain but doesn’t deliver, and yet the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray spins its front and rear tires just for a beat before it hooks up and rockets forward.

Exhilarating acceleration

The shock of a hard launch is my first impression from the passenger seat while Corvette Chassis Development Engineer Bill Wise takes the wheel. The greatest leap the mid-engine C8 Corvette took versus the front-engine C7 was its ability to transfer its power efficiently to the pavement because moving the engine over the rear axle greatly improved traction. Now, the 2024 Corvette E-Ray improves upon that improvement by adding power at the front axle.

The first-ever hybrid Corvette and the first with all-wheel drive, the Corvette E-Ray enhances the Stingray’s 495-hp 6.2-liter V-8 with a front-axle-mounted electric motor that spins out 160 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. The duo combines to make 655 hp. While that’s 15 hp shy of the 2023 Corvette Z06, the E-Ray sprints from 0-60 mph 0.4 second quicker at just 2.5 seconds. It also covers the quarter mile in 10.5 seconds, a tenth quicker than the Z06.

An 8.16:1 torque multiplication on the front motor gives it about 1,020 lb-ft of torque at takeoff to help the power arrive earlier than it does in the Stingray. A 1.9-kwh battery pack is mounted in the center tunnel and weighs a little more than 100 pounds. Chevy uses a little more than half of that to add and accept power quickly, or to drive the car on electricity alone.

“Our mental model was this is all about performance. We don’t want to try to get long EV range. We want to enhance the capability of the car,” noted Tadge Juechter, the Corvette’s executive chief engineer in a meeting with Motor Authority after the ride-along.

The battery and hybrid system’s inverter take up all usable space in the center tunnel, so a larger battery is highly unlikely. The battery consists of four modules of 20 pouch cells, and according to Josh Holder, the Corvette’s chief engineer, the C8 was designed to fit this battery from the start.