Five cars that show EVs are obscenely cool
There are some majorly exciting developments in the supercar world and there isn't an internal combustion engine in sight...
Let's get it out the way - electrified powertrains are now dominant in terms of performance. The fastest accelerating supercars in the world now almost all have some form of electrical assistance and share the sub-3 second club with numerous cars that have opted to take the fully-electric plunge.
The problem is the natural shape of the internal combustion engine's power and torque curves - it takes time for an engine to build up to its maximum power and torque outputs to the wheels, leading to relatively laggy performance. Electric motors however take fractions of a second to spin up to maximum torque, producing acceleration that can melt your face into a g-forced mess.
It's time to take stock then of the current industry leaders in the EV supercar game, considering that they're now tasked with demolishing every high end supercar placed next to them on a drag strip. Without further ado, here are the new kings of performance, whether you like the electric motor or not.
Rimac Concept S
Known as the 'evil twin' of the Concept One, the Concept S has turned up the voltage across the board in an effort to bring an even more ballistic supercar to the market. Power has been increase by 218kW (296bhp) over the Concept One and torque has also been bumped by 148lb ft (200Nm), bringing each total to 1384bhp and 1328lb ft.
To put those numbers into perspective, that's more grunt than a Koenigsegg Agera RS, the current production car speed record holder - not bad for a start-up from the lesser known automotive nation of Croatia.
Developed from Rimac's Pikes Peak racer, the Concept S uses torque vectoring at all four wheels, managing the titanic grunt on tap to produce a 0-62mph time of just 2.5 seconds. Weight is probably its achilles heal (a common trait in the electric supercar industry), with the hunkered missile coming in at 1800kg. It still brings a power-to-weight ratio of 768bhp/tonne to the table, a number that only a hypercar should even think about challenging.
Tesla Model S P100D
Possibly the most famous drag strip shredder of this electric era, the cream of Elon Musk's stable has been dominating any and all competitors in the shape of a cutting edge family saloon. Although the Model S comes in numerous different states of tune, it's the P100D that has even LaFerraris quaking in their Pirellis.
Sporting a 110kW battery pack that translates to a power output in the region of 762bhp, the Tesla has had update after update that has led to its 'Ludicrous Mode' producing a barely believable sprint to 60mph in 2.4 seconds. Currently a Porsche 918 Spyder is just about the only road car featuring internal combustion that can achieve a similar time.
All-wheel drive comes in the shape of a 'high efficiency' front axle motor coupled with a 'high performance' equivalent at the rear. And along with all the creature comforts that make it a rival to the top end executive saloons, it's no surprise that Tesla's flagship model is starting to establish a serious foothold in the modern car market. Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar will probably catch up to Musk's creation in the next few years but - until then - the Model S is the saloon acceleration benchmark.
Launched at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, this striking supercar is Japan's latest contribution to the EV performance market. It ticks all the supercar boxes - two seats, carbon fibre everywhere and a design that takes inspiration from everything from the Nissan R390 GT1 to the McLaren F1.
The Owl (will that name ever seem normal?) tackles the EV problem of weight through a minuscule set of motors that produce 429bhp and 563lb ft of torque. The company has said that it utilises its power-to-weight ratio to achieve 62mph in just two seconds, a stat that would make it the current production car acceleration record holder.
If Aspark can bring its creation past concept level is yet to be seen, as only one working prototype currently exists. But if these stats can be achieved by the 850kg supercar, there's nothing that Ferrari or McLaren have in their stable just yet to match this Japanese oddball.
The main headline from this car is its top speed - an all-Ferrari-beating 235mph. Most EVs run out of puff due to the way the cars are geared and the way that electric motors output their torque, but the Lucid Air blasts past all supposed boundaries until it is nipping at the heels of speed legends like the McLaren F1.
Available for pre-order in America, the Air can have its relatively docile 400bhp single motor layout swapped for an eye-watering 1000bhp twin motor powertrain, ascending the saloon over and above Tesla in the power stakes. It will only hit 235mph with the limiter removed and with alterations to the air suspension system, but if you've ever asked yourself what electric car is currently the fastest, this is your answer.
The automotive industry is still hugely obsessed with the Nürburgring in terms of testing and as a lap time benchmark, and yet all of the hypercar/supercar manufacturers all have to bow down to the NextEV NIO EP9, a fully electric supercar from China. NextEV is also a leading light in Formula E and is currently the only team to have exploited the racing technology into a road-going supercar.
The EP9 has been around the Nordschleife in 6min 45.9 seconds, a full 2.1 seconds clear of the nearest internal combustion competitor (Radical SR8LM) and a massive 6.1 seconds faster than the current internal combustion road car record holder (Lamborghini Huracan Performante, unofficially beaten by the 911 GT2 RS). Developed in tandem with the engineers at RML in the UK, the NIO EP9 has a motor for each of its wheels, each producing 335bhp which all contribute towards a 1341bhp total.
Only six were originally made, each costing £1.15 million, and the Nordschleife attempt was apparently plagued with battery overheating issues, but there's currently no IC engined road cars that can touch it around the coveted German tarmac.
There's no getting away from the fact that all of these cars are heinously expensive at the moment. None of them can be had for under £100,000, making the electric performance car market exceedingly exclusive as it stands. This will inevitably change as technology progresses and EVs begin to dominate the car market but it's quite startling to see just how far electric cars have come.
The supercar stalwarts of the industry currently have little to nothing that can rival some of the stats created by this new electric breed. And with McLaren now confirming that a fully-electric hypercar is currently being developed (along with the other cornerstone firms following suit soon after), it seems the electric motor is firmly set on rendering the spark plug completely obsolete.
The question is, would you look forward to a twin test between a NIO EP9 and a Rimac Concept S? Or does the electric vehicle industry still have a long way to go until it captures the imaginations of regular petrolheads? Tell us what you think below!