Last month, Edna dusted a Ferrari California T and a Tesla Model S in a drag race. This time, Atieva lined it up against a BMW i8 and a Dodge Viper. The results were the same, with Edna outrunning both cars. Atieva claims the van performed even better this time around, thanks to some tweaks to its powertrain.
Edna is a Mercedes-Benz Metris that Atieva uses as a powertrain development vehicle. It’s powered by two electric motors that generate a combined 900 horsepower, and an 87kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Since the first run, Atieva says its engineers have concentrated on tuning the motor-control strategy for higher speeds.
At the time of the previous drag race, Atieva said Edna did 0 to 60 mph in 3.08 seconds, but now claims the van can do it in 2.94 seconds. It also ran an 11.3-second quarter mile at 117 mph in the latest race. After multiple runs, the company says its test team even drove Edna more than 90 miles back to its Menlo Park, California, base, “with plenty of charge to spare.”
Atieva is one of a handful of startups looking to repeat Tesla’s success with electric cars. It was founded in 2007 by a former Tesla executive and the head of a networking company, and started out supplying control software for battery packs used in other companies’ electric vehicles. It now plans to launch its own electric car, with backing from Chinese carmaker BAIC.
The company plans to apply lessons learned from its electric van to a production model, but hasn’t offered any details on what that model will be. New car companies have a notoriously low record of success, so if you’re impressed by Edna’s performance, don’t get ready to put down a deposit just yet.