Joe Biden isn't talking this time.
Changing the iconic Chevrolet Corvette to a mid-engine layout offers all kinds of interesting possibilities for GM engineers. A better overall weight balance contributes to improved handling and performance are just a couple of examples. Electrification is another. As we all know, the current Corvette Stingray is powered by a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 with 490 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, and those are excellent figures. However, electrification can push them even higher and it was in 2017 when we first learned that GM had trademarked the name "E-Ray" with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
And now, some three years later and only a few days following comments from former US vice president and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, comes word from GM Inside News that GM has refiled the name E-Ray with the USPTO. Is this definitive proof an electrified Corvette is coming?
Not necessarily, only because the automaker had until this past August 1 to either refile to keep the trademark or let it expire. It's not at all unusual for automakers to refile trademarks when they come up for renewal and never end up using them. In this particular case, GM originally filed for E-Ray back in late 2015 and, so far, hasn't done anything with it. Only now the C7 Corvette has been retired and the C8 is here. Again, electrification is more ideally suited to a mid-engine design. Bear in mind that a hybrid or plug-in hybrid Corvette is expected to arrive well before a fully electric one.
Heck, the upcoming Grand Sport and Zora versions are widely expected to have hybrid powertrains. If so, what could E-Ray be used for? Could it even be part of the C8 generation lineup?
There will be a C9, eventually. This is pure speculation on our part but we wouldn't be surprised to see GM renewing the E-Ray trademark again in five years' time. An all-electric Corvette might just not be in the C8 pipeline and it's far easier and cheaper to keep renewing a trademark rather than starting from scratch if it were to expire (which also carries the risk of a competitor acquiring the naming rights).
E-Ray would be the perfect name for the first all-electric Vette and GM intends to wait for however how long that'll take. But one thing is for certain: the C8 will receive electrification in some form in the very near future.