With battery technology improving all the time, it’s clear this race for supremacy isn’t over yet…
The debate over whether an EV can be a true ‘driver’s car’ is likely to rage on for quite a while yet, but what’s not in doubt is that going electric has delivered some spectacularly fast and powerful machines. In fact, when it comes to head-spinning horsepower figures, few internal combustion-engined models get close to matching their battery-powered rivals.
With as many as four motors driving their wheels, it’s easy to see how the latest crop of scorchingly hot EV models serve up such sizzling pace. What’s more, this performance is on tap instantly from the first revolution of the motor so these high-voltage hypercars often feel even faster than the numbers suggest, which is quite something when you consider many claim the 0-62mph sprint in under two seconds.
Of course, manufacturers will claim that these wild power outputs aren’t just about straight-line pace, because the bigger and more muscular the motor, the greater the energy it can return to the battery during regenerative braking. So not only are these some of the fastest cars on the planet, but in many ways they’re also the most efficient.
With battery technology improving all the time, it’s clear that this race for supremacy isn’t over yet. For our top 10 (okay 11, but it was the only way to make it fair with so many sharing the same output), we’ve listed the most powerful models that are either currently on sale or soon to hit showrooms, which means we’ve not considered GMC’s electric Hummer of the various Rivians.
Most powerful EVs
1. Lotus Evija – 2011bhp
While the numbers have yet to be finalised, Lotus claims that its first-ever EV will deliver 2011bhp (1500kW), which will make it comfortably the most powerful road car seen so far. As you’d expect, that kind of power delivers some eye-widening and kidney-crushing performance figures, with 0-62mph claimed to be well under the 2.0sec mark. Yet because this is a Lotus, the emphasis is on handling elan, with each wheel getting a 503bhp motor to serve up the ultimate in torque-vectoring agility. And while the kerb weight of 1700kg is hefty for car from Hethel, it’s not bad considering it’s hauling all those motors and a 70kWh battery that gives a range in excess of 200 miles.
2. Aspark Owl – 1985bhp
The low-slung Aspak Owl takes the runners-up spot in this list courtesy of its monumental 1985bhp power output. As with the Lotus, there are four electric motors – one for each wheel – that spin at up to 15,000rpm and also generate 1475lb ft of torque, which is probably enough to reverse the earth’s rotation. Clocked at 1.72sec for the 0-60mph sprint, the Japanese machine is officially the fastest-accelerating production car in the world. The top speed is claimed to be 245mph. Electrical energy comes from a surprisingly compact 64kWh lithium ion battery, yet the brand claims a range of 280 miles. Other impressive numbers include the £2.5 million price. Just 50 examples will be built.
3. Rimac Nevera – 1887bhp
Few cars have created such a stir as the Rimac Nevera. Almost out of nowhere, the Croatian company has gone from cottage industry to a fully fledged high-performance EV class leader that has been successfully courted by the likes of Porsche and Bugatti. The brand’s current crowning achievement is the 1887bhp Nevera, a high-tech carbonfibre showcase of Rimac’s capabilities. Featuring four motors that deliver torque-vectoring and stability control functionality, the two-seater can slingshot from 0-62mph in just 1.85sec and on to a top speed of 258mph. It also features a 120kWh battery that acts a stressed member of the chassis for extra rigidity, as well as delivering a claimed range of 340 miles. Rimac plans to build 150 examples of the Nevera, each with a starting price of around £1.8 million.
4. Pininfarina Battista – 1876bhp
Over the past 90-odd years, Pininfarina has been responsible for some of the most beautiful car designs ever, penning everything from Ferraris to the Ford StreetKa. It’s also helped mainstream manufacturers engineer and build some of their more niche offerings, including the Cadillac Allante and Peugeot 205 convertible. However, Battista is the iconic Italian firm’s first foray into building its own cars. Well, that’s not strictly true, because peel back the eye-catching carbonfibre bodywork and you’ll find a Rimac Nevera lurking underneath. That said, the four motors have been pegged back slightly to 1876bhp and the Pininfarina is pitched as a slightly softer grand tourer, which is reflected in its leggier, 311-mile range. Yet it’s still sharp to drive and serves up sensational performance, with 0-62mph in under two seconds and a 217mph top speed.
5. Lucid Air – 1096bhp
Another set of ludicrous performance figures and another brand name many people have barely heard of: welcome to the rule-defying EV revolution. The Lucid brand isn’t familiar to UK buyers just yet, but it’s gaining recognition almost as quickly as its bold Air Dream Edition executive saloon gets from 0-60mph (for the record, it’s just 2.4sec). Developed by Welshman John Rawlins, who was the brains behind the Tesla Model S and has had stints at Jaguar and Lotus, the twin-motor machine serves up 1096bhp in its most potent setting. Despite its size and interior space, the Lucid features biddable handling and the air suspension provides a cushioned ride, while the 118kWh battery promises up to 520 miles. If all this isn’t enough, then a tri-motor 1600bhp version is in the works.
6=. Tesla Model S Plaid – 1006bhp
After nearly two years away, the Tesla Model S is back with a bang. Supply chain issues and the introduction of a long-awaited mid-life refresh were the cause of the hiatus, but now the pioneering EV executive saloon has arrived in showrooms and is joined for the first time by the flagship Plaid model that packs 1006bhp. Using a three-motor layout (one at the front and two at the rear), the five-door machine is claimed to achieve 0-60mph in 1.99sec, a 200mph top speed and a range of up to 396 miles. Externally, the Model S looks very similar to the old car, but the interior has received a complete overhaul, with improved materials and (naturally) an even larger infotainment touchscreen that now measures 17in. There’s also the option of the brand’s, ahem, bold yoke-style steering wheel.
6=. Tesla Model X – 1006bhp
Like the Model S, the high-riding Model X has been absent from Tesla price lists for the past couple of years. Given it shares essentially the same running gear, it’s no surprise that the space-age SUV suffered from the same development delays, or that its Plaid range-topper has an identical 1006bhp output. If anything, this thumping power figure is even more outlandish here because the seven-seater Model X is more suited to family-friendly duties than being flung down a twisting back road. In fact, it’s difficult not to giggle at the thought of you and six friends being fired from 0-60mph in just 2.5sec, which is exactly as fast as it takes a Bugatti Veyron with just two on board. However, it’s arguably the Model X’s trademark ‘Falcon’ gullwing rear doors that attract the most attention.
7=. Maserati Granturismo Folgore – 751bhp
Maserati is the latest legacy brand to join the EV party but it wasted no time in making an impact. Based on the all-new Granturismo, which is also available with ICE power, the all-electric Folgore uses a trio of motors (two at the back, one at the front) to deliver an impressive 751bhp. Moreover, the Maserati is actually running in a heavily detuned state because of the power demand limitations of its 83kWh battery. Without restrictions, the Folgore would generate an incredible 1200bhp. Even so, the Maserati is still quick, clocking a claimed 2.7sec for 0-62mph and running all the way to 199mph. The two rear motors deliver torque vectoring, so the Granturismo feels remarkably agile, adjustable and engaging on the move. A range of 280 miles is good but if great, but the clever layout of the battery in the transmission tunnel means there’s just enough space for four inside the classy cabin.
7=. Porsche Taycan Turbo S – 751bhp
Unlike many new battery-powered machines, the Porsche Taycan doesn’t require any praise to be caveated with the phrase ‘for an EV’. As ever, the German brand has pulled out the R&D stops when it was developing its first all-electric offering, and the result is a car that sets new standards for driver involvement and dynamic excellence. Yet while the Turbo S is brilliant to drive, it’s no longer the most powerful high-performance electric EV, boasting ‘just’ 751bhp from its two motors – and that’s a brief overboost figure, with 616bhp being the ‘everyday’ maximum. Still, the Porsche is no slouch, zapping from a standstill to 62mph in 2.8sec despite a kerb weight the wrong side of two tonnes. Don’t forget there’s the Sport Turismo if you need a little more boot space and the Cross Turismo if you really must have an SUV styling vibe.
7=. Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ – 751bhp
In many respects, it’s no surprise to find an AMG-fettled Mercedes in a list of most powerful electric vehicles, given that its ICE offerings are some of the most muscular on the market. In fact, with 751bhp, the Performance Pack-equipped EQS 53 has bragging rights over almost any internally combusted model wearing the three-pointed star. Even so, it’s still one of the slowest cars here, its burly 2575kg kerb weight pegging the 0-62mph time to ‘only’ 3.4sec. And while it’s more capable in the corners than you’d think, there’s a sense of detachment that suggests this car isn’t up for a good time. That said, the EQS is more luxury limo than rubber-burning road racer, which is reflected in its cosseting cabin, hushed refinement and a hefty 107.8kWh battery, which promises a range of more than 360 miles.