Talk about bringing a gun to a knife fight. “Let’s race a Tesla and a Ferrari!” was likely at least part of the conversation that preceded a this drag race. E-car startup Atieva raced an electric van affectionately named Edna against a Tesla Model S and an unspecified Ferrari. The race “was an opportunity for the team to have some fun,” according to Atieva’s blog.
Edna, the van, is used by Atieva as a powertrain testbed because it has lots of interior room to test components and, presumably, room for engineers to check things out and, on the occasion of full-out acceleration, hang on for their lives.
It turns out Edna is packing. “Under Edna’s skin are two electric motors, two sets of power electronics, two gearboxes, one battery capable of storing 87kWh of energy and outputting over 900 horsepower, plus all of the software to make the components play nicely together. With Edna we are able to test various aspects of the powertrain system, including motor control algorithms, regenerative braking behaviors, accelerator pedal feel, and cooling strategies, to name a few,” according to the blog.
The electric van isn’t a production design or even a planned model for eventual sale. Atieva’s first commercially released vehicle will be a luxury sedan planned for release in 2018, followed by two luxury crossovers in 2020 and 2021, as reported on Electrek. Atieva is likely following Tesla’s game plan of producing and selling high-end cars to help fund the development of more mainstream vehicles.
The demonstration makes the point that even a heavy vehicle can trot provided it has enough electric power onboard.
The drag race is fun but the only results displayed are a 0 to 60 time of 3.01 seconds for Edna. The Tesla Model S P90D with Ludicrous mode is rated at 2.8 seconds in the same test, but according to Electrek the car in the video doesn’t appear to have that setup. And the Ferrari model isn’t specified.
And besides, who really needs a 900-horsepower van? Maybe a minivan for soccer moms and dads with lots of kids to drop off and pick up under a tight schedule could use that power, but plumbers, painters, and florists likely wouldn’t want to drive a 1-plus G-force-capable work truck.