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

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Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder

Only a few cars on our list can claim the kind of sports car pedigree Porsche posseses, which is why the 918 Spyder is shaping up to be one of the more exciting plug-in hybrids on the horizon.

While a lot of electric sports cars can be limited by their electric drivetrains, heavy battery packs, and restricted range, Porsche seems to have all that covered with the 918 Spyder. Porsche’s plug-in will sport a thunderous 4.6-liter V8 engine that easily spits out a fly-by-the-edge-of-your-seat 500 horsepower. Not content with 500 galloping horses? Neither is Porsche, which is why the 918 Spyder will see another 280 hp added to the mix courtesy of its twin electric motors for a combined output of 780 hp.

Needless to say the 918 spyder is going to be fast. Estimates echoing out of Stuttgart place the plug-in supercar’s top speed at 210 miles per hour with a 0-60 time of just 2.9 seconds.

Of course half the fun of tearing up the asphalt in a suped-up green machine is the fuel economy right? As it turns out, Porsche estimates the 918 Spyder’s fuel economy should sit nice and tidy at 78 mpg. Throw in a regenerative breaking system, a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic monocoque, and a curb weight of less than 3,300 pounds and we just might have a breakaway winner in the plug-in supercar segment.

Deliveries for the 918 Spyder are expected to take place by the end of 2013, and will reportedly command $845,000. 

Porsche Panamera Plug-in

Porsche Panamera Plug-in

Porsche’s Panamera plug-in remains somewhat of a mystery. Whether the automotive gods are heeding our prayers for a “greener” version of the German automaker’s four-door sporty sedan remains to be seen, but if our “Spyder” sense has taught us anything it’s that there’s no limit to what can happen in the build up to a new automotive offering, especially one sporting a plug-in powertrain.

With that being said, it’s looking likely that we’ll see the Panamera plug-in as the car is said to share the same modular setup that is being developed for the entire Volkswagen Group. Other than the fact that the Panemera plug-in will utilize a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric drive system, we can’t speak to any specifics regarding range or performance.

Scuttlebutt surrounding the car suggests that we should see the Panamera plug-in enter into production sometime in 2014.

Jaguar C-X75

Jaguar C-X75

They say money can’t buy happiness, but we disagree. We’d be pretty darn happy with enough scratch to jump into Jaguar’s upcoming supercat and formerly jet-powered C-X75.

Making it’s bow at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the C-X75 is in many ways the spiritual successor to Jaguar’s previous concept-turned-reality XJ220. Unlike the XJ220, the C-X75 will pack a 1.6-liter turbo engine paired with an electric drive system consisting of four 145 kW (194 hp) electric motors – one at each wheel – which will produced a combined 780 hp. Total torque output for this thunderous cat will purr at 1,180 lb-ft with an all-electric range said to be in the region of 31 miles.

The production version of the C-X75 will feature an ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber chassis helping the innovate Jag reach tops speeds in excess of 200 mph and a 0-60 mph in less than three seconds.

BMW i8

BMW i8

With production of the BMW i8’s internal combustion engine set to commence at the company’s Hams Hall plant located near Birmingham, England the i8 edges ever so closer to reality.

Originally debuting at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show as a production bound concept car, the BMW i8 is an extended-range plug-in electric and slots in alongside the Bavarian automakers all-electric i3 city car, with which it will share an electric drive system.

Built from the ground up as the German’s production-bound, plug-in performance offering, the BMW i8 will employ a three-cylinder gasoline engine alongside dual electric motors powered by a 7.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Top speed for the i8 will be limited to 155 mph, while the car is said to scoot from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds. Combined, the i8 will be capable of producing 393 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.

Fuel economy should be equally respectable with the i8 able to travel 20 miles on a single charge of its battery while its gasoline engine should see mileage returns somewhere in between 33 and 47 mpg. However, BMW indicates that figure can jump as high as 87 mpg when driven with more fuel-minded frugality.

Production for the BMW i8 is believed to begin in 2014. And while an official price point has yet to be released, all signs point to very expensive.

Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

Making a case — and a rather compelling one at that — for a future filled with electric cars, the Tesla Model S, the second vehicle from California start up Tesla Motors (the first being the Lotus-based Roadster) is an ever-so-sleek electric vehicle capable of traveling up to 160 miles on a single charge.

Technically more luxury sedan than sports car, the Model S warrants its place on our list by virtue of its unabashed nod to performance and style. Apart from being hypnotically easy on the eyes, the top of the line Signature Performance version of the Model S is able to hit 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 130 mph.

Starting price for the standard Model S is set at $56,500, while subsequent battery upgrades (the base Model S features a 42 kWh lithium-ion battery) to 60 kWh or 85 kWh — which can increase total driving range to 230 miles and 300 miles respectively — will see that figure rise north of $100,000.

The Model S is available now, but those looking to purchase will need to get in line as there is currently a rather long waiting list.

DeLorean DMC-12 EV

DeLorean DMCEV-12

Great Scott! After slipping away into the automotive nether realm, the iconic gull-winged Delorean DMC-12 is back thanks to Humble Texas’ reborn DeLorean Motor Company. But instead of packing the original’s hefty V6 engine and running on dredged up dino-juice, it’s now kitted out with fresh new 149 kW motor pumping out 200 hp that would make Doc Brown proud.

Dubbed the DMCEV-12, the all-electric version of the original car, which went into production back in 1981, is said to reach 60 miles in 4.9 seconds and hit its full stride at 125 mph. Total range for the car is unavailable, but estimates place it somewhere between 75 and 100 miles on a single charge depending on driving conditions.

According to the DeLorean Motor Company, the DMCEV-12 will go on sale in 2013 and is expected to sell for $100,000. Now if only we had Marty McFly’s almanac from the future we could easily scrape together the funds to purchase one for ourselves.

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