Sports cars have redefined the automotive industry since the 20th century by attracting consumers everywhere for their sleek designs and astonishing speeds. Although automobiles were originally invented for more practical reasons such as transportation, the emergence of sports cars reshaped the industry into a modern-day art form. The capabilities of cars have been constantly pushed. As technology progressed, sports cars developed more power and speed over the years. Their outward appearance became more glamorous and appealing to consumers and quickly formed into a status symbol for society. Now with the wave of electrification, sports car fans are at a crossroads. While many dismissed EVs early on, electric sports cars today can easily compete with traditional gas-powered ones and even top them.
New Horizons With Electric Sports Cars
Front three quarter shot of Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
If you were to ask a car enthusiast back in the early 2000s if an EV could ever beat out a sports car, they would have thought you were crazy. Yet as electric vehicles continued to develop over the years, they have unlocked a whole new world for performance and handling in the automotive world. Although they were known to often lack the iconic feel and thrill that traditional sports cars brought, electric cars today can not only bring the same sensation and handling, but can even outperform the top ICE sports cars in the world. The sensory experience people feel behind the wheel is what makes the driving experience in a Lamborghini Aventador that much different than a Toyota Prius. Unfortunately, EVs lack the sounds and vibrations from an internal combustion engine causing companies to find a solution fast to combat this turnoff. Startups such as ShoutVox created a method to add realistic exhaust sounds to any electric car. Other manufacturers like Tesla and Porsche have added «engine» noises to their own models to make the driving experience more authentic. Companies like Hyundai are expected to go the extra mile and add artificial vibration seats to make it as similar to gas cars as possible.
But, what ignited this revolution for electric sports cars? The growing popularity can be attributed to the Tesla Roadster back in 2008. It was the world’s first time hearing about an EV that wasn’t associated with a boring hybrid, but rather an attractive sports car-like appearance. Originally produced on a Lotus-sourced chassis and body, it featured a full range of 244 miles on a full charge and had 248 horses. It had a top speed of 125 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. This was revolutionary at the time and put Tesla on the map as the company’s first production vehicle. Today’s Roadster is quite impressive given the major improvements in its performance. Still accepting reservations before its release by the end of 2024, it boasts a top speed of 250+ mph and accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 1.9s. This feat alone was something traditional sports car manufacturers could only dream of achieving. Additionally, it will feature a range of 620 miles fully charged, lasting longer than almost any other car on the road today. This alone demolishes the common misconception about EVs’ ability to travel long distances.
Revolutionary Tech In EVs
Pininfarina Battista Hyper GT record-breaking track run in India.
The technology behind these massive improvements displayed by EVs such as the Roadster is cutting-edge. For starters, the powertrain for electric cars offers capabilities that internal combustion engines dream of achieving. Electric powertrains decrease the mechanical complexities found in traditional cars and simplify the number of moving parts to just a few. The electric motors are able to power the wheel axis directly so most all-wheel drive EVs have one electric motor on the front axis and another on the rear. Engineers are able to deliver maximum torque instantaneously to each wheel, resulting in quicker launches from a standstill compared to ICE models. Companies like Rimac have taken this concept to a whole new level by powering its EVs with quad motors. With one electric motor per wheel, the rapid acceleration is uncanny and only made possible because of the electric powertrain.
Another technological advantage EVs possess is regenerative braking. Since these vehicles run solely on battery energy, regenerative braking systems are able to capture the kinetic energy released during the braking process and convert it into electrical power. This energy can then charge the EV’s battery allowing the car to drive greater distances. It also allows the car to be highly efficient saving up to 70% of the energy usually lost during traditional breaking. The brake pads and rotors in these cars last much longer, saving consumers tons of money on maintenance costs. More importantly, since less wear and tear is evident on these brakes, the handling in many of the new electric sports cars is unlike anything before. Drivers can now accelerate and decelerate quicker than any gas-powered car on the road.
There has recently been a rise in a new technology called Artificial Intelligence (AI). Unlike traditional vehicles, EVs can act like a large computer allowing for the integration of this technology into their sports cars optimizing their performance. Artificial intelligence assesses the performance data from the vehicle during operation and wisely manages the distribution of power and torque. Many new electric sports cars feature track mode and use AI to provide a thrilling driving experience based on the driver’s skill level. If the AI detects a more experienced driver, it is able to alter the torque and power distribution to give the driver better performance and control over the car. Some companies like Rimac use AI to assist in teaching their drivers optimal racing strategies. After gathering data on the driver’s ability on the track, it provides optimal routes and speeds around the course to help instruct the operator. This gives the consumer an all-new racing experience and thrill that normal sports cars don’t offer.
Future Of Electric Sports Cars
Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo driving in the snow.
With these exciting innovations, there is no doubt EVs have made massive leaps in the sports car industry. Specifically within the last couple of years, newer electric sports cars have been able to win over the hearts of many long-time ICE fans. Of course, Tesla is one of the top producers of world-class electric sports cars, but there are three cars that have recently emerged that make EVs more exciting. Porsche was one of the early luxury car companies to release an EV model in their lineup. The Porsche Taycan, starting at $90,900, comes in three different body shapes and has gained massive popularity. Maintaining the beloved feel that Porsche fans all love, many compare it to the infamous 918 Spyder in terms of performance. Yet with the environmental benefits the Taycan offers, several have been making the switch to electric, paving the way for other luxury car companies to follow.
Another car pushing the boundaries in the EV world is the Rimac Nevera. Although classified more as a hypercar, it displays high-tech features never seen before such as quad motors powering each wheel making it the fastest electric car in production. After beating several world records including an impressive 1.74 seconds 0-60 mph, Rimac is so far ahead in terms of electric tech that it is taking over both Bugatti’s and Porsche’s electric sectors. Sharing similar technology, the Italian-based company Pininfarina decided to produce its own electric hypercar coined the Battista. With a top speed of 217 mph, it is faster than Formula One cars and continues to show how electric sports cars are surpassing the abilities of traditional ICE vehicles. As EVs continue to improve at a remarkable rate. there is no telling what the future holds. If there is anything car enthusiasts can agree with, the popularity of electric sports cars is not going to slow down and will continue to outperform internal combustion engine automobiles.