Chevrolet Mi-ray Concept is a Sexy Hybrid Speedster
Ever since its launch in 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette has been a protected species of sorts within GM. Every other two-seat sports car project undertaken by other GM divisions has been either neutered (such as the Pontiac Fiero and Cadillac XLR) or kept out of production outright (most infamously John DeLorean’s beloved Pontiac Banshee) due to Chevy playing the political game, constantly working to ensure that its halo car was the corporation’s halo car, at least in terms of outright performance (Bowtie lifers no doubt prefer we’d all forget about the 1987 Buick GNX, which would thrash a Vette of the same vintage in a straight line.).
This is not to say, however, that Chevrolet hasn’t considered adding its own sporty models (other than the Camaro, of course) beneath the Corvette. In the early 1960s, Chevy toyed with the idea of a sports car based on the rear-engine Corvair compact, building concept cars like the 1962 Corvair Super Spyder (which was basically a restyled Corvair convertible) and the 1963 Monza SS and Monza GT (a fiberglass-bodied roadster and coupe, respectively, that inspired the styling of the ’68 Corvette). Now, Chevy is toying with a sub-Corvette two-seater once more, but the philosophy is very different.
It’s called the Mi-ray, but the name is not a nod to Stingray; rather, it’s the Korean word for “future,” which seems appropriate when you consider this concept car is making its world debut at the Seoul Motor Show. But the name and location of its premiere aren’t the Mi-ray’s biggest breaks with tradition; that’s found under the stylish silver skin.
A pair of 15-kilowatt electric motors power the front wheels, drawing juice from a 1.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. That powertrain is primarily used for initial acceleration and low-speed urban driving. For faster, more spirited motoring, there’s a turbocharged 1.5L inline-four sitting behind the passenger compartment and sending its power to the rear wheels through a dual-clutch transmission. As a result the Mi-ray is capable of running as a front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive vehicle, though there’s no word on whether or not the drive wheels can be manually selected.
We do know, however, that many of the controls that are found inside the fighter-jet-inspired cockpit reside on the center touchscreen, while data like vehicle performance, driving range and fuel consumption (as well as the navigation system display) appear as readouts that are back projected onto the instrument panel, rather than using conventional dials or displays. The exterior is also suitably futuristic, with active aerodynamics that aid in cooling the electric half of the powertrain, ambient lighting along the carbon fiber body’s character line, and aluminum-carbon fiber composite wheels measuring 20” across in front, 21” in back.
Do we expect the Mi-ray to eventually show up at your local dealer with a Monroney sticker? No. But between the hybrid system with separate drivelines for each axle, the back projection “gauges” and other out-of-the-box ideas, it would be foolish to bet against at least some of its technology rolling off an assembly line in the coming years. In other words, a glimpse at the Mi-ray provides at least a partial glimpse at the Mi-ray.