Like it or not, electric vehicles are becoming more common with every passing day. While they still aren’t anywhere near close to replacing the gas-powered cars we know and love, their huge range and penchant for quick acceleration help make your environmentally-conscious decision slightly easier.
While many of the most promising cars are still trucking down the long road toward production, there are a few awesome concept models that we hope to get behind the wheel of soon — all of which hint at the interesting future of automotive design. Below are a few of our favorites, from Tesla’s iconic machines to those that offer a unique design more akin to a supped-up lawnmower than the traditional sedan you’ll likely pass on your morning commute.
The Tesla P85D — the gold standard in electric vehicles — is more than just a car. It’s a blazing fast highway warrior and an icy-hill conqueror, one that boasts an extremely sophisticated drive computer and the ability to travel an estimated 300 miles on a single charge. It’s quick off the line, too, with the ability to go from 0 to 60 in a mere 3.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph.
The Tesla also packs all the luxuries you could imagine in a car at this price point, such as a full-sized tablet for keeping an eye on various diagnostics, along with an “insane mode” for impressing your friends. After all, 864 pound-feet of torque isn’t for the faint of heart.
Chevy wants to throw its hat into the EV ring, recently announcing it would bring its former concept car to production as the Chevy Bolt. The futuristic hatch boasts a range of more than 200 miles on a single charge, and unlike the concept, the production model will place greater emphasis on performance and range opposed to sleek branding and interior design. Either way, it’s likely to debut with an appealing price point of around $30,000, with a release slated in markets scattered across the United States.
If you’ve got money to spend and you want something really, really fast, Mercedes has got you covered with the SLS AMG Coupé. The sleek sports car touts all electric drive under the hood, with four electric motors designed to work together and provide the extravagant amount of power needed to take the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in a staggering 3.9 seconds. Even with an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph, the SLS AMG managed to set a new speed record skirting around the northern end of Nurburgring.
Mercedes isn’t the only high-end manufacturer working on a fully electric cars, as evident from Audi’s impressive R8 e-tron. The updated production model is able to travel around 280 miles on a single charge, and moreover, remains capable of going from 0 to 60 in a matter of 4.2 seconds. Not much else is known, other than the car is potentially slated for a 2015 limited release, but Audi has been clear that the R8 isn’t the only car within its lineup poised for the electric treatment. We can also expect electric SUVs and sedans sometime on the horizon.
Renault’s take on the electric car scene is a bit … different. What began as a compact electric vehicle built for city driving and small trips was given the F1 treatment, complete with a big spoiler on the back and a splitter in the front for increased air-flow. It looks a little silly, yes, but the build helps raise the top speed of Twizy to a face-melting 68 mph. The idea isn’t just to impress with speed, though, given Renault feels the F1 design has a place among road cars — and they might be right.