Ask people what they think of when they hear the term “electric car,” and they’ll surely tell you about the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. Both vehicles represent milestones in automotive technology and offer their owners instant green cred, but neither set the heart of the performance car aficionado aflutter.
The performance/luxury EV market, quite frankly, doesn’t exist yet – that is, unless you’re a Google founder and can get your hands on a Tesla Roadster. In the next few years, though, things are going to change. A host of mainstream luxury and performance automakers are looking to draw in the green hedge funders and captains of industry with their emissions-free offerings. From the looks of these cars, drivers will not be disappointed.
The standard-bearer for sport EVs. Tesla was among the first automakers to crack the performance electric market and its Roadster is still one of the best and fastest out there — prototype or not. The Roadster can go from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and it has a top speed of 125 mph at a maximum output of 215 kilowatts. Even though it is in production, there are still only a few of them out there
Like the Volt, the XJ is a plug-in hybrid electric, but that’s where the similarities end. According to Autocar UK, the XJ will have a 145 kilowatt electric motor and a 1.2 liter, 3-cylinder range-extending internal combustion engine designed by Lotus. This combination will give it a range of up to 600 miles, allowing drivers to zoom from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back with miles to spare. Photo/Courtesy Jaguar
Why settle for one electric engine when you could have two? The Boxster E offers a total of 180 kilowatts of power, roughly the same output as the celebrated Boxster S. This Wunderkind can zoom from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.3 seconds and can reach a top speed of 170 mph. The battery pack still offers a respectable 100 miles of range. It’s perfect for an afternoon of emissions-free driving on “ze Autobahn,” if you can get your hands on one of only three prototypes.
The new offering from the vaunted German automaker has a 125-kilowatt engine that will reach speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
It also promises a range of 160 kilometers (100 miles).
Perhaps the best thing about the ActiveE is that it will be available for field testing with a $499 per month, 24-month lease. But there will only be 1,000 vehicles available.
Rolls Royce is finally Building Their Own Electric Vehicle. It is only a prototype and there are no plans to bring it to market, it’s still a marvel to contemplate: the 71-kilowatt hour battery, likely the largest ever installed in a car, weighs 1,410 pounds and takes eight to 20 hours (!) to charge. It also boasts an impressive 125-mile range and costs $3 million to make. As the Autopia blog raved: “It is the most extraordinary EV yet.”
More from The Green Living Guy:
1. Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman and Bob Brandt
2. Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman
3. Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel