Almost 7 years ago, the first Model S rolled off of Tesla’s Freemont, California based production line. Only 6,500 cars were delivered in 2012, but despite these small numbers, the Model S proved to be extremely disruptive to the car industry, redefining performance and luxury boundaries for car manufacturers worldwide.
Prior to the Model S release, the US electric vehicle market was dominated by Nissan and Chevrolet, who offered the Leaf and Bolt, respectively. Both of these cars offered between 70-100vmile ranges, near 10 second 0-60 times, and top speeds of 90 mph. They were not attractive, luxurious, or practical cars – but they were 100% electric.
When consumers finally got ahold of Tesla’s Model S later in 2012, public perceptions and standards for EV’s were completely blown out of the water. The Tesla Model S was a futuristic, luxurious, and most importantly, practical car. With ranges of over 300 miles, supercar-like 0-60 times, and extremely advanced technology, the Tesla Model S proved to the world that EVs have the capability to directly compete with traditional combustion vehicles.
As Tesla continued to single-handedly grow the market over the years, competing car manufacturers have begun to realize the benefits provided by EVs that combustion vehicles cannot achieve. Many high-profile supercar manufacturers such as Porsche, Koenigsegg, and BMW began to realize the benefits not only for the environment, but for performance, that EVs can provide. Combustion engines develop max power & torque at certain RPM’s, due mainly to limited air intake. Therefore, at high and low RPMs, combustion engines are not producing maximum power and therefore are not fully efficient. Electric motors, on the other hand, are able to produce full torque and power at 0 RPM due to the simple equation of more current = more power. As a result of this, EVs are able to produce insane power off of the starting line and outperform nearly every supercar when comparing 0-60 speeds – a metric highly valued by car enthusiasts and supercar buyers.
To put this into perspective, the Tesla Model S P100D is capable of going 0-60mph in 2.28 seconds while the Lamborghini Aventador SV, Bugatti Chiron, and McLaren P1 are all somewhere in the range of 2.4s to 2.6s. Although not much of a time difference, it must be considered that the Tesla is a 5-seater luxury family sedan costing 1/10th of the price of any of these extremely impractical supercars. After realizing the incredible performance potential of electric motors, these supercar manufacturers had only one option – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
The rise of hybrid supercars has been adopted by nearly every major high-end performance car manufacturer. In 2014, Porsche introduced their 918 Spyder, an 887-horsepower hyper car that holds the current 0-60 record of 2.2 seconds. This car uses an electric motor to accelerate the car off the line extremely fast such as Teslas, but then a combustion engine at higher speeds where electric motors become less efficient.
Ferrari (RACE), which has been experiencing incredible stock growth over the past year, has finally announced its first plug-in hybrid car – the SF90 Stradale. This 985-horsepower hybrid will be able to go from 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 211mph - the fastest 0-60 production Ferrari in history. Lamborghini has also announced a hybrid model that they will be releasing soon – the Terzo Millennio. Engineered similar to the SF90 Stradale and 918 Spyder, this car will utilize both electric and combustion motors in order to achieve maximum power at all speeds.
As Porsche CEO North America Klaus Zellmer said, “Porsche thinks you’ll want your next car to be electric”. Although these high-end companies are using electric power to add even more performance to their already ultra-fast supercars, nearly every car manufacturer is implementing electric vehicles to their fleet simply because of the benefits provided from these vehicles. Whether it be GM, VW, Mercedes-Benz, or Audi, manufacturers worldwide are working on electric vehicles for the future. And with constant technology improvements, who knows how fast hybrid or even fully electric supercars will be able to go in the future…
Written By Dominick Ronan, Edited by Matthew Durborow & Alexander Fleiss
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