Best electric sports cars: The most exciting electron-powered speed machines

Best electric sports cars: The most exciting electron-powered speed machines

Electric cars have a tendency to polarize opinions for many reasons, but one of the main gripes gearheads have is that they can just be plain dreadful to look at. Cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i might put in efforts worthy of champions when it comes to fuel economy, but they’re not even title contenders when it comes to style and performance. That’s why we’ve come up with our list of the best and most exciting electric sports cars out now or on the horizon. For those looking for a bit more bite in their battery-powered vehicles, any of the following easily warrant a place in your fantasy garage.

Lighting GT

Lightning GT

Built by Britain’s the Lighting Car Company, the Lighting GT is yet another battery-powered electric supercar looking to battle it out with the likes of electric sport car makers Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors. Visually, the Lighting GT is striking in a much more conventional manner than some of its counterparts and forgoes any real obvious electric styling cues one might typically find on a car of its kind.

Of course breaking successfully into the elite supercar scene (and staying there) is difficult enough for even the sportiest and finely crafted gasoline chuggers, let alone battery-powered models. But LCC believes that the Lighting GT will be able to deliver the goods thanks to the car’s advanced Lithium Titanate battery, 150 mile range (225 with optional range extender pack), and claimed recharge time of 10 minutes. Rounding out the Lighting GT’s performance specs is a 300kW (400hp) twin motor powertrain that provides the GT with an estimated 0-60 time of just under 5 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 125 mph.

For those interested in purchasing the Lighting GT it remains in development, but LCC is taking pre-order sign ups on its website.

Audi R8 e-tron

Audi R8 e-tron concept

Not all the cars on this list have the luxury of being based off of an existing platform. Some purists argue that’s a good thing, while others say nay. But when that platform happens to be the oh-so-sleek Audi R8 you’ll find few complaints from us.

Visually the R8 e-tron is very much the same car as its gasoline-powered cousin, albeit a little smaller in stature. Instead of a beastly 4.2-liter V8 or 5.2-liter V10, the R8 e-tron is packing four electron-fed motors producing a combined 230 kW and 500 lb-ft of torque with an estimated 0-63 mph sprint time of 4.8 seconds. According to Audi, top speed for the R8 e-tron can theoretically reach as high as 155 miles, but has been electronically limited to 124 mph in order to protect the charge of the car’s battery.

Audi says that the R8 e-tron’s lithium-ion battery is capable of 124 miles on a single charge with a full charge taking 6-8 hours on a conventional household outlet. Thanks to the R8 e-tron’s ceramic brake discs, the sporty electric can receive an additional boost to battery power through the car’s regenerative breaking system.

Production forecasts for the R8 e-tron suggest a limited launch with the car’s sticker price expected to run as high as $200,000.

Rimac Concept One

Rimac Concept One

If the Rimac Concept One has taught us anything it’s that you don’t need to hail from a country with a rich automotive history in order to build one of the most stunning examples of automotive engineering, electric or otherwise.

For power-purists the Rimac Concept One ticks all requisite boxes making it one of the most (if not the most) powerful electric cars in the world.

The brainchild of automotive designer and successful entrepreneur Mate Rimac, the battery-powered Croatian super-car is capable of churning out the equivalent of 1,088 horsepower thanks in large part to its 92-kWh battery powering four sets of electric motors planted at each wheel. What we’re left with is a car that is capable traveling 372 miles on a single charge, can hit 0-62 mph in less than three seconds, and effortlessly reaches a top speed just below 190 mph.

For those that dare to dream: the Rimac Concept One will wage a silent — electric motor driven — war on your wallet with a sky-high sticker price of $1 million, assuming of course that you can get your hands on one of the 88 models that are said to be up for grabs. Good luck.

PG Elektrus

PG Elektrus

Providing a decidedly more eccentric (or is that electric?)  approach to the electric sports car market; the Eleketrus is a Lotus-based EV currently in the works from German manufacturer PG. After having earned its stripes by primarily producing carbon-fiber electric bicycles, the company has decided to take a stab at building an electric sports car with the PG Elektrus, marking its first foray into the growing electric sports car market.

Much like the Tesla Roadster before it, the PG Elektrus is based off the Lotus Elise chassis with a healthy helping of carbon fiber utilized throughout its bodywork.

Details regarding the Elektrus powertrain are limited, as are any specifics relating to availability. But according to PG, the Elektrus will be surprisingly swift and nimble with total curb weight of less than 2,000 pounds, a 0-62 time  that clocks in at under three seconds, and a top speed of 155 mph. And like virtually all the cars on our list it won’t be cheap: think somewhere north of $350,000 and you’re on the right track.

Fisker Karma

2012 Fisker Karma

If mo’ money equates to mo’ problems, shouldn’t the opposite hold true? Well, sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case with Fisker Automotive and the company’s beleaguered Karma extended-range plug-in hybrid. But we digress, and despite Fisker’s very public trouble with finances and the Karma’s reported mechanical issues what we have in the Karma is an attractive plug-in with just enough style and performance to make it one of the better looking plug-in hybrids today. Why else would Justin Bieber drive one, right?

For those still unfamiliar with the Karma, the sporty plug-in utilizes both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. The electric makeup of Karma consists of two 120 kW electric motors that derive power from a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery. The Karma’s engine is comprised of a GM-sourced 2.0-liter direct-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder engine capable of producing 260-hp. The Karma carries a top speed of 125 mph and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds.

As far as sports cars go, the Karma is a bit of a porker with curb weight of over 5,000 pounds.

When compared to all-electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf, the Karma’s all-electric range is rather low, but on par with other plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt. According to Fisker, the Karma can go 32 miles on its battery alone while the vehicle’s  total overall range increases to 230 miles when used in conjunction with its gasoline engine.

The Fisker Karma is available nationwide with a base price of $102,000.

Fisker Atlantic

Fisker Atlantic

We don’t know all the ins and outs of the Fisker Atlantic just yet, but we know we like it based off its windswept design alone. The Atlantic, formerly known as Project Nina, will serve as the California start up’s second extended-range plug-in hybrid behind the Fisker Karma and look to carve out a space for itself in the small luxury car segment.

Concrete details regarding the Atlantic remain thin: how much will it cost; when will it make it to production; and what exactly will be powering this beautiful pile of sheetmetal? At this point all those questions remain unanswered. But it’s rumored the Atlantic’s MSRP will fall between $50,000 and $60,000 greenbacks, and employ a four-cylinder BMW-sourced engine.

Fisker is currently taking pre-orders for the Atlantic with a minimum $5,000 deposit required.

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