While India prepares to move towards electric mobility, the beginnings will definitely be humble, starting with utility-oriented family hatchbacks, and compact crossovers. Earlier this year, at the Auto Expo, manufacturers like Tata, Mahindra, Maruti, Kia, Renault, and MG took the lead with electric cars, showing a range of new e-cars boasting respectable range, and adequate performance. In the West, however, things have already moved up a few levels. Electric cars are moving on from utility to performance.
The good old internal combustion engine, which mixes air and fuel in a series of controlled explosions and produces power in delightfully extroverted rasps and growls, knows it’s on its way out. The electric motor may not produce the aural histrionics of a V8 or V12, but knows it can not only match but also exceed petrol power. We take a look at some of the most impressive electric and hybrid supercars in the world that are pushing the automotive performance envelope into the next century.
AUTOMOBILI PININFARINA BATTISTA
Backed by India’s own Mahindra Group, Automobili Pininfarina recently unveiled the Battista, an electric hypercar that promises to outdo anything else on the road, anywhere in the world. Named after the revered Italian coachbuilder who founded Carrozzeria Pininfarina, the Battista was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last year and boasts a 120kWh battery pack that feeds the car’s four electric motors, for a combined power output of 1,900 horsepower and 2,300Nm of torque. It can accelerate from zero to 100kph in less than two seconds (even a current-generation F1 car can’t keep up) and top speed is in excess of 400kph. The car can be driven for up to 500km on a full charge, which is as impressive as its acceleration, and top speed numbers. With its beautifully designed carbonfibre bodywork and exuberant styling, the Battista not just goes like a bat out of hell, but also looks like it just stepped off a catwalk in Milan. Just 150 units will be built, and estimated price is in the region of Rs 18 crore. Fifty of these cars have been earmarked for the Middle East and Asian markets, so getting your hands on one may not be impossible if you have your own bank vault.
PORSCHE TAYCAN TURBO S
This is Porsche’s bet for? Yes, you guessed it — a sustainable future. The Taycan is a very impressive sports sedan, which just happens to be an electric vehicle. The German manufacturer is said to be investing close to seven billion dollars in electric mobility, and it surely looks like the money is being put to good use. The Taycan Turbo S features two electric motors –— one each on the front and rear axles. There’s as much as 750 horsepower on this car, allowing it to sprint from zero to 100kph in 2.6 seconds, and hit an electronically limited top speed of 258kph. Unlike most electric cars, this one even has a two-speed transmission that’s been installed on the rear axle. The Taycan Turbo S has a system voltage of 800 volts (instead of the more common 400 volts for most other electric cars), which makes for quicker charging — an 80 per cent charge takes under 23 minutes. Interesting bits include an adaptive air suspension system, an optional electromechanical roll stabilisation system, all-wheel drive and four driving modes for optimal performance under various driving conditions. At Rs 1.30 crore, the Taycan is the ideal Porsche for those who want 911-spec thrills but without the emissions.
The upcoming (2021 model) Tesla Roadster is a strikingly good-looking car, but rather than dwelling on styling, let’s start with a few numbers. 10,000Nm of torque and, no, that’s not a printing error. Zero to 100kph in less than two seconds, zero to 160kph in 4.2 seconds and a driving range of 1,000km on a full charge. The two door, 4-seater, allwheel-drive Roadster can, according to Tesla, cover 400m from a standing start in just 8.8 seconds and its top speed is more than 400kph. Prices will start at Rs 1.42 crore but the first 1,000 units will be priced higher, at Rs 1.78 crore. The car boasts of a removable glass roof (which can be stored in the trunk) for open-air motoring, and there’s comfortable seating for four adults. There’s a monstrous 200kWh battery on board, three electric motors — one at the front, two at the back, and four-wheel drive. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has gone on record to say that the Tesla Roadster exists ‘just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.’ But we’ll note here that Tesla is yet to put this Roadster into production, so it’s pretty much wait and watch for now.
Croatia is hardly the first place you’d go looking for an electric supercar and yet, that’s exactly where Rimac Automobili is based. If numbers are anything to go by, the C_Two is going to be totally insane. With its 120kWh battery and four electric motors, the Rimac C_Two packs 1,887 horsepower and 2,300Nm of torque. That’s apparently sufficient to propel this car from zero to 100kph in less than two seconds, from zero to 300kph in an astonishing 11.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 413kph. The rumoured price tag is Rs 14.22 crore and deliveries are expected to start later this year
British car manufacturer, Lotus, has gone completely mad with its new electric hypercar, the Evija. With 1,972 horsepower (that’s three times as much as a Ferrari 488) and 1,700Nm of torque, the Evija is capable of accelerating from zero to 100kph in less than three seconds, from zero to 300kph in less than nine seconds, and can hit a top speed of over 320kph. It features carbonfibre monocoque construction, can be driven for up to 400km on a full charge and has laser headlamps for illumination. Production is scheduled to start later this year, and will be limited to just 130 units. The Evija’s all-electric powertrain has been developed with Lotus’s technical partner Williams Advanced Engineering, which is well known for its successful forays into F1 and Formula E. The car’s 2,000kW lithium-ion battery pack is mid-mounted, and supplies energy directly to four electric motors. The best part is, a full charge takes just 18 minutes, using a 350kW charger. With 4WD and active torque vectoring, the Evija’s chassis can handle whatever you throw at it and the car handles, like a true Lotus. Prices start at Rs 16.13 crore and bookings are now open.
LAMBORGHINI SIÁN FKP 37
If Ferrari and Porsche are building electric and hybrid supercars, can Lamborghini be far behind? Witness the Sián FKP 37 hybrid, which is due to be launched later this year. This Italian wild child is powered by a 6.5-litre V12 that produces 774 horsepower, which is complemented by an additional 34 horsepower from its 48V electric motor. Incidentally, ‘Sián’ means a flash of lightning and ‘FKP 37’ is a reference to the VW’s Group’s former chairman, the late Ferdinand Piëch, who was born in 1937. With 720Nm of torque, a 7-speed semi-automatic transmission, and electronically controlled all-wheel-drive (with mechanical self-locking differential at the rear), the Sián FKP 37 is an all-out Rambo Lambo that hits zero to 100kph in 2.8 seconds, and goes on to do an electronically limited top speed of 350kph. The FKP’s typically outlandish, unrestrained styling takes design cues from the wedge-shaped Lamborghinis of yore and mixes up slashes, scoops and splitters like no other supercar can. Production of the Sián FKP 37 will be limited to 63 units and all have already been sold
The absolutely stunning, beautifully streamlined Speedtail is, according to McLaren, its first ‘hyper GT,’ a super-luxury high performance car that has a top speed of 403kph, and a price tag of Rs. 16.18 crore. And that’s before including taxes. The car features a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain (4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, mated to electric motors) that sits in a lightweight titanium-carbonfibre body, with a three-seat cockpit. Yes, the driver sits in the centre, the way it was in the groundbreaking McLaren F1 of the 1990s. With 1,036 horsepower from its hybrid powerplant, the Speedtail is capable of accelerating from zero to 300kph in 12.8 seconds. The Speedtail is immensely powerful and fast, but not brutish. In fact, this McLaren is elegance personified. Its interiors feature the best of materials, including expensive aniline leather, and 18-carat white gold. This is a noexpense spared showcase for McLaren’s engineering and craftsmanship, and the Speedtail exists in a stratospheric layer of luxury and performance where few can even dream of venturing. It’s just as well, then, that just 106 units of the car will be produced. (McLaren-obsessed anoraks will remember that the British car company also sold exactly 106 units of the 1990s F1 supercar.)
The first-generation Honda NSX was around from the early1990s up until 2005, and in these 15 odd years, this Japanese supercar established a strong name for itself. It offered Ferrariesque styling combined with high-revving performance, longterm reliability and everyday practicality. And now, the NSX is back, reincarnated as a performance hybrid. In keeping with the times, the new NSX is powered by a twin-turbo V6 along with a three-electric motor ‘sport hybrid’ system, mated to a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission. Honda says this is a ‘human-cantered’ vehicle that’s been designed for exceptional driver control, and one that meets the extreme performance expectations of a modern supercar. With 573 horsepower and 645Nm of torque, the NSX is no weakling. In addition to its hybrid powerplant and sharp, aggressive styling, other notable bits on the new Honda NSX (known as the Acura NSX in the US) include the use of advanced torquevectoring technology and an all-wheel-drive system that’s designed to enhance handling. Twin, independent, high-output electric motors drive the NSX’s front wheels, and deliver instant response, while dynamically altering torque distribution between the front wheels for maximum grip. Priced at Rs 1.35 crore, the NSX is the smarter, more practical alternative to some of the more expensive European electric and hybrid supercars.
The Jaguar I-PACE is not only a world-class all-electric SUV that looks fabulous and offers high levels of performance and luxury, it’s also — unlike the other cars mentioned here — slated for an official launch in India towards the end of this year. So, in a few months from now, you might be able to walk into a Jaguar showroom near you, and actually buy one of these. The I-PACE is priced at the equivalent of about Rs 65 lakh in Europe, though Jaguar is yet to announce the pricing for India. The I-PACE is fitted with a 90kW lithium-ion battery that feeds two synchronous permanent magnet electric motors, which deliver 395 horsepower and 696Nm of torque. The 4WD I-PACE can accelerate from zero to 100kph in 4.8 seconds, hit an electronically limited top speed of 200kph, and on a full charge, has a driving range of 470km. Using a DC rapid charger, an 80 per cent charge takes 40 minutes, which is not too bad. Sure, the Jaguar doesn’t have the outrageous, headline-grabbing figures of some of the Italian exotics here, but it’s definitely a stylish, classy and practical real-world relevant electric car that some will actually be able to buy.