Some of the fastest cars on the planet are now powered by electricity. These are the best ones right now, along with the most anticipated
You might wonder what, in this relatively new world of high-performance motoring, enthusiasts with bottomless pockets should set their sights on.
Wonder no more, because here are our 10 favourite ultra-EVs, ranging from historic conversions to cutting-edge hypercars to simply very well-sorted driver’s cars that don’t actually break the bank. There’s even the odd off-roader in this list, too.
Of course, the scenery in this portion of the car world is constantly shifting. Some of these cars you can drive today, while others are only currently available to order. One or two might be even a little further away than that, but they’ve all got potential – realised or otherwise – and give us something to get excited about.
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Porsche has hit the electric car market with exactly the sort of impact you’d hope that an industry powerhouse of its stature might make.
The Taycan is a four-door fast grand tourer that’s slightly smaller than the company’s existing Panamera model but is certainly not the lesser car of the two. In fact, it’s no stretch to say that Porsche has infused its first electric car with all the hallmarks of its best mid-engined efforts, and the Taycan possesses fine body control, rare balance, superbly calibrated operating controls and palpable steering precision. That the car rides extremely well on its air suspension only adds to its appeal and was a key factor in our decision to award the Taycan the full five stars after an exhaustive road test.
There are now several models in the range, although the best elements of the package are evident even in the 532bhp 4S, which despite its entry-level status is still supercar-grade accelerative. The top-ranking Turbo S musters 751bhp, costs almost £140,000 and is surely one of the quickest real-world cars on the planet, especially when you factor in its 2.6 second 0-60mph time. There are also Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo versions, which add estate and off-road flavours respectively to the Taycan recipe.
The first electric car to wear Audi’s RS initials is, deep down, the Porsche Taycan in a different suit. It uses the same powerful electric motors – one per axle – and the same three-chamber air suspension and, of course, the underlying architecture is shared. As such, the battery pack is also carried over, meaning a WLTP range of 283 miles with the potential for 350kW ultra-rapid charging.
What this all means is that, firstly, the RS E-tron is enormously quick. When it goes on sale in 2021, the flagship version will develop 612lb ft and 637bhp and will accelerate to 62mph in comfortably less than 3.5sec.
Better still, the RS E-tron handles well, albeit not with quite the same level of panache and engagement as its Porsche cousin, particularly in terms of steering. Yet it’s not far off, and the trade-off is a more relaxed gait than the Taycan when you’re mooching, which considering the refinement benefits of an EV makes the Audi an equally appealing proposition.
3. Lotus Evija
All the recent Lotus headlines have been about the Emira, the British brand’s pretty much all-new Porsche Cayman-chasing sports car. Yet this machine is also being heralded as the firm’s last to feature an internal combustion engine, with future models favouring ultra-rapid charging over unleaded. The first hint of what we can expect has already been given by the Evija, an all-electri hypercar that’s been knocking around for a couple of years but not yet started production.
However, the £2 million Evija is now expected to be officially launched during the summer of 2022. The bald statistics are somewhat mind-numbing. Lotus itself was recently surprised to find that the car’s four motors together deliver more than 2000bhp, rather than the 1973bhp previously quoted. That will act against 1680kg, which is relatively light in EV terms, and so performance will feel like freefall, we imagine.
However, Lotus is tuning the car for handling and dynamism more than raw statistics, and so the power delivery is said to crescendo, rather like any naturally aspirated engine would. Just how much the Evija bottles traditional Lotus traits remains to be seen, but if any of the upcoming electric hypercars can truly appeal as a driver’s car, Hethel’s effort is probably our best bet.
4. Rimac C_Two
You may not have heard of Rimac (equally, if not, how?), but if you want to understand the stature this young and innovative company has already gained in the automotive industry, consider the following: Porsche took a 10% stake in the Croatian business in 2018, then increased that to 16% in 2019, and then in 2021, Rimac acquired Bugatti, wish is one big fish to land.
The C_Two is the follow-up to the Concept One, which in 2017 was arguably the first machine to kick-start the electric hypercar trend, with its 1073bhp output, 220mph top speed and £670,000 asking price. Just 150 examples will be made – almost all of which are apparently spoken for – and deliveries are planned for 2022. In the UK, sales have been through established dealership group HR Owen.
The hardware is compelling, if somewhat eye-watering. The car is built around a composite tub, and there’s an electric motor for each wheel, with independent single-speed gearboxes at the front and two two-speed dual-clutch ’boxes for the back axle. The aim is to ensure the C_Two can make the most of its 1888bhp and, more important, its mountainous 1696lb ft.
With double-wishbone suspension, torque vectoring, and the potential for level four autonomous driving, the car has the works. Just don’t expect it to be cheap.
Much like the relationship between the Porsche Taycan and the Audi RS E-tron GT, the Pininfarina Battista shares much hardware (and software) with the Rimac C_Two but will present as the more outwardly luxurious, more GT-oriented machine of the pair.
In the metal (and carbon fibre, obvs) the Battista is beautifully wrought, both inside and out, and largely Italianate, despite the fact that the company is now based in Munich and the parent company – Mahindra Group – is Indian. The engineers and trimmers themselves, however, include alumni from Pagani and the Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar.
On the move the car is sensational, as you’d expect with 1900bhp, 1696lb ft, 0-186mph in less than 12sec, 217mph all out and an asking price of around £2 million. Yet there’s more to it than the raw numbers, because the Pinninfarina handles with delicacy and poise too, feeling every bit as thrilling through the corners and it does down the straights. It even manage to squuze a smile from our normally inscrutable Editor at Large, Matt Prior, when he sampled it on track, which says a lot about the Battista’s considerable abilities.
6. BMW i4
BMW is no stranger to electrified sports cars, its ill-fated i8 plug-in hybrid combining daring supercar looks with a powerful hi-tech powertrain and a genuinely entertaining driving experience. However, the i4 is the firm’s first stab and a proper high performance all-electric machine – and it’s not a bad effort.
Unlike the i3 and iX, the i4 isn’t built on a bespoke EV platform, but instead uses a version of the firm’s CLAR architecture (in essence, this is an electrified 4 Series). There’s an entry-level rear-drive eDrive40 model that’s brisk enough, but for true bar room bragging rights you need the M50, which features a twin-motor set-up that packs a hefty 536bhp punch for a M4-baiting 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds.
Despite a kerbweight that’s 300kg the wrong side of two tonnes, the BMW handles with surprising agility and control, its powerful motors and clever software allowing some tail happy action if you’re in the mood. It’s not as fun as an M4 Competition, but it feels just as fast and what it lacks in outright poise and precision it gains in comfort and refinement.
As a first attempt at a fully electric driver’s car, the M50 is pretty much on target, but bear in mind that the cheaper and slower (but lighter and with less adhesive tyres) eDrive40 actually has the sweeter and more approachable handling balance, plus it will go further on a charge at 367 miles .
7. Kia EV6 GT
You probably weren’t expecting to find a Kia in this list, but the Korean firm has been on a mission to shift perceptions recently. It started a few years ago with the Stinger GT-S, an upmarket four-door coupe that packed a thumping V6 engine and expressive rear-wheel drive handling, but it’s the brand’s warm embrace of electrification that will allow it to really make its high performance mark.
The rakish EV6 has already impressed in its cooking versions, with good looks, plenty of pace and biddable handling making it a surprisingly satisfying steer. So expectations for the flagship GT model are understandably high – not surprising when you consider the specification. The raw stats show that it’s twin motor set-up (one at the front and another at the back for four-wheel drive) packs 577bhp and 546lb ft, which makes it good for a 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds and a 161mph top speed. And thanks to its 77.4kWh battery, it can travel a claimed 263 miles on a charge, while 800 volt architecture means ultra rapid charging is on the menu.
There have also been chassis tweaks, with an enhanced Sport mode delivering more focussed damper settings at the touch of a button, while an electronic limited slip differential at the rear hints and some handling playfulness. We’ve already had a passenger ride in the car, which revealed a fast, composed and grippy EV that aims to live up to its GT name with agility and long distance comfort. Better still, we should be getting behind the wheel later this year so we can deliver our definitive verdict.
There are many out there still reeling at Ford’s decision to smack the famous pony logo and Mustang badge on the rump of an all-electric SUV. Yet these are the times we’re living in and, like it or not, the resulting car is actually pretty good, pouring distinctive style, a strong range and decent practicality into a car that’s got just enough the Blue Oval’s trademark chassis magic to keep drivers interested.
Curiously, the flagship GT version probably isn’t the most satisfying of the lot to steer, but it is the quickest and, in some respects, most exciting. A twin motor set-up delivers a healthy 480bhp, which is very Mustang-like and helps it gallop from 0-62mph in drag-strip quick 4.4 seconds. Clever tuning of the electronics also means there’s some muscle car-style tail-happy action if you’re in the mood, it’s just a shame the rest of the time the car isn’t quite as fun-loving.
There’s decent composure there, but the steering is inconsistent and the hefty kerbweight of more than two tonnes takes its toll when you’re looking for quick direction changes. Then the there’s the price, which at the best part of £70,000 is writing premium-sized cheques its well-equipped but rather cheaply finished cabin can’t cash.
Another electric throwback, although this time from an exceptionally well-known name. Revived British sports car brand AC Cars is losing the big-displacement V8 for its range-topping model and replacing it with a 617bhp, 738lbft electric powertrain. In light of this, perhaps the most eye-watering figure is that the thing will weigh just 1190kg, which isn’t just light by the standards of the electric performance cars but also implies a power-to-weight ratio that is stratospherically high. In fact, when it arrives in summer 2021, the Series 4 might just be the most unhinged Cobra to date. That is, since 1962.
The caveat is that the battery pack is just 54kWh, which won’t last long if you’ve got the bit between your teeth but should provide up to 200 miles range if you’re being sensible. The asking price, meanwhile, will be £168,000 before local taxes. Less expensive versions can be had, although they’re fitted with either a 2.3-litre Ford Ecoboost engine or a 580bhp 6.2-litre Chevy V8.
10. Aspark Owl
You know the drill. The Aspark Owl costs £2.5 million, accelerates to 60mph in 1.7sec and generates just under 2000bhp from four electric motors. Assuming you don’t ask for that level of performance on the exit of every corner, range is also said to be around 280 miles.
As for provenance, the slipper-esque Owl is Japanese in principle but is being built at Manifattura Automobili Torino in Turin. Italy. Deliveries were scheduled for early in 2021, but customers are still waiting in 2022. When the time does arrive, owners won’t merely have one of the fastest street-legal cars in the world in their possession but also one that will never have to pay multi-storey car park fees. From the tread blocks of its tyres to the top of its composite roof, the Owl is just 99cm tall.