By Jody McCutcheon
As drivers (and passengers) in this slice of time and space, we tend to want vehicles that are faster and more luxurious, right? And we’re aware, of course, that there’s a price tag affixed to these desires.
Forgetting for a moment any of its potential troubles, Tesla has been the gold standard for electric vehicles these last few years. But it’s faced its share of competitors – for example, these three electric supercars below, which may far surpass the luxury EV pioneers. But while this excellence may benefit drivers (and passengers), does it benefit the planet? Put another way, what exactly is the full cost affixed to these desires?
Swiss automotive and design company Classic Factory is collaborating with several other automotive firms to produce the Elextra supercar. Set to launch in 2019, the four-seater, four-door electric supercar is being billed as a Tesla rival. Yet only 100 units are planned. Exclusive, or merely market-testing?
The Elextra’s specs are superlative. The racer does 0–100km/h in under 2.3 seconds, making it the world’s quickest street legal car. (Previously, Tesla’s Model S P100D proclaimed itself the world’s fastest production car, with its Ludicrous Mode allowing for an acceleration of 0–100km/h in 2.5 seconds.) Dual electric motors offer a claimed, combined maximum output of 507 kilowatts (680 horsepower) and a governed top seed of 250km/h (155mph). Driving at 100km/h, the Elextra has a claimed range of 600km; although until the company provides more battery information, that claim remains somewhat murky.
The dual-motor electric drivetrain offers a big improvement over conventional all-wheel drive systems. With the Elextra’s four-wheel drive system, torque is electronically and independently distributed to both front and rear wheels, providing superb traction under any type of road situation or condition. Essentially, it grips the road like a hawk grips its prey, resulting in safe, efficient driving.
The Elextra’s body is crafted from a stiff, extremely durable carbon fibre shell that’s twenty-five percent lighter than conventional aluminum constructions, facilitating its superior acceleration. Visually reminiscent of the Lamborghini Aventador, the Elextra’s sleek aesthetic signals the supercar’s inherent speed and power. According to company CEO Robert Palm, “The idea behind ELEXTRA is to combine pure lines reminding of the most exciting Italian super cars of the past, whilst being resolutely forward looking thanks to its low, sleek and beautiful design, paired with today’s most advanced technology.”
Palm has said a prototype will be ready by the spring of 2018. The price tag, if you’re wondering, will land somewhere between a whopping €400,000 to €500,000.
Leave it to the Italians to create the supercar with the most extravagant yet elegant name. Another collaborative effort, the Scalo Superelletra pairs the advanced engineering of German car manufacturers Artega with the automotive panache of Italian design firm Touring Superleggera. As per Artega CEO Klaus D. Frers, the word “Artega” derives from the Italian “arte” (meaning “art”) and translates, unsurprisingly, as “the art of sportscar manufacturing.”
The Superelletra’s aesthetic design—credited to Touring Superleggera—owes a nod to the original petrol-guzzling Artega GT that came out in 2009. In 2015, the company decided to focus exclusively on electric cars, introducing an electric version of the GT called the Scalo. While the Scalo never made it into production, Artega promises that the Scalo Superelletra will do so. It premiered at this year’s Geneva Auto Show and made a big impression with its beauty and power.
A 120kWh lithium-ion battery powers four electric motors, two on each axle, offering a total of 760kW (1,020hp), with a peak output of 940kW (1,278hp) and 1,620Nm of torque. It accelerates from 0–100km/h in 2.7 seconds, with a governed top speed of 300km/h (186mph). A full battery charge offers a range of about 482km (300 miles). The range decreases, of course, if one drives the Superelletra the way supercars beg to be driven. Seventeen minutes of charging will provide the battery with an eighty-percent charge, while a fast-charging system adds an extra 100km in just four minutes.
A lightweight carbon fibre tub and body panels of aluminum and carbon fibre help offset the battery weight while maintaining durability and ensuring occupant safety. The three-seater cab will achieve space efficiency through a central driving position, similar to that of the McLaren F1, which also ensures sales in both left- and right-side–driving markets.
But wait, there’s more eco-friendliness! The Superelletra’s manufacturing process will be carbon dioxide–neutral; furthermore, the car will be fully recyclable, with natural materials comprising as many of the vehicle’s parts as possible.
Artega says production will begin in 2019, with only fifty being built to start. That makes it more exclusive than the Elextra, as does the price, which will run somewhere between €500,000 and €1,000,000.
Coming out of Croatia, you can see it, but you can’t hear it. To paraphrase Rimac Automobili CEO Mate Rimac, the Concept_One aspires to be the supercar of the twenty-first century. It certainly is exclusive, with only eight having been produced. The production model that first appeared at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show turned heads, of course, as much for its beauty, power and speed as for some interesting added touches.
Advertised as the world’s highest power density motor system, the Concept_One’s four high-powered permanent magnet electric motors are distributed one per wheel. This allows for a full 1,600Nm (1180ft.-lb.) of torque that’s available from zero revs in track mode, providing unmatched acceleration off the line. During acceleration, the battery pack delivers one megawatt of power, while absorbing 400kW with its regenerative braking system.
According to Rimac’s press release, the Concept_One does 0–100 km/h in 2.6 seconds, 0–200km/h in 6.2 seconds and 0–300km/h in 14.2 seconds. It maxes out at 912kW (1224hp), with a top speed of 355km/h (220mph) and a range of up to 350km (217 miles).
If that’s not enough, the Concept_One offers some interesting frills. Besides LED lighting, a plastic-less interior and an onboard infotainment system with 4G connectivity, there’s something called All-Wheel Torque Vectoring, which uses the quad-motor powertrain system’s independent wheel drive for improved grip and flexibility, stability and braking. Also, the driver has a choice between four driving modes, including a drift mode (enabling extra-aggressive driving styles through corners) and the aforementioned track mode. There’s even an option for a customized driving mode. Take that, Tesla.
The Concept_One’s price hasn’t been specified. Perhaps it doesn’t need one, as it’s unlikely to be mass-produced.
And that right there’s the problem with these exclusive supercars. Undoubtedly, they’re well-crafted, luxurious and beautiful, and they’ll outrun a Tesla and just about any other car, too. In a nutshell, who wouldn’t want one? But they’re basically opulent toys for about one percent of the one percenters. Simply put, they’re not very accessible. So, in the grand scheme of things, while these are fab, eco friendly, low emission electric cars, there just aren’t enough of them on the road to help reduce emissions on the necessary scale to make an environmental impact.
Compared to most electric vehicles, Tesla may be somewhat exclusive. But compared to many of the electric supercars Eluxe has recently introduced you to, Tesla and other (less exclusive) EV’s will always have the upper hand, with non-prohibitive prices, plans for mass production and release dates long before 2019.