Electric and hybrid vehicles have come a long way since the early 1990s, when the first serious attempts at producing such a vehicle were made. The Chrysler TEVan, the Toyota RAV4 EV, the General Motors EV1 and the Nissan Altra EV were among the first electric vehicles, but only a few of them were a true success. Since then, electric and hybrid vehicle technology has made some significant progress and these types of vehicles have become cleaner, faster, and more efficient. With the sophisticated technology they have at their disposal today, the next challenge for automakers is to make an electric vehicle that will be able to reach the top speeds that some of the world’s fastest gasoline-powered cars achieve. That’s no easy task, however, and so far, only a couple of electric cars have been made that can go over 100 mph. But, the Detroit Electric SP.01 and the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid are two good examples that a car can be pretty fast even if it uses electricity as a source of energy.
The Anderson Electric Car Company, based in Detroit, Michigan, made an electric car as early as 1907. It’s a quite astonishing piece of information, and probably most people have never heard of this fact. But, this company was able to deliver 13,000 electric cars until 1939, that could achieve a top speed of 15 mph, and could go over 80 miles per one charge. Now, the company is going through a renaissance of some sort, working on a new car that is thought to be pretty similar to the famous Tesla models, when it comes to performances.
It’s the Detroit Electric SP.01, that was unveiled in April 2013, and is supposed to go on sale in August 2013. The SP.01 is a sports car, that is powered by a 150-kW electric motor, providing 201 horsepower, delivering 166 lb-ft of torque. There is a 37-kWh lithium polymer battery, which can be fully recharged in 4.3 hours. The range of the SP.01, as advertised by Detroit Electric is 180 miles. This two-seater is capable of reaching 155 mph, and it can go from 0-60 mph in only 3.7 seconds. It comes with a four-speed manual transmission, which is surprising, considering that almost all electric vehicles have a single-speed transmission. This high-performance electric sports car is expected to cost at least $135,000.
Porsche executives are claiming that the S E-Hybrid will be a plug-in hybrid that will provide performances similar to those of the gasoline-powered, V8-engine Panameras. It had its world premiere at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, and consumers in the U.S. will be able to buy it in late 2013. It will be powered by a 3.0-liter, V6 engine, accompanied by an electric motor that provides 95 horsepower. The total output is 416 horsepower, and it delivers 435 lb-ft of torque. It’s an incredibly fast vehicle, with a top speed of 167 mph, which is an amazing accomplishment for a plug-in hybrid, and it goes from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds. You can recharge it in 2-and-a-half hours, and the electric-only range is 22 miles, while the overall fuel economy is rated at 54 mpg. It’s equipped with a triptonic S 8-speed transmission, and it’s a rear-wheel drive car. This is definitely an amazingly fast, fuel-efficient, eco-friendly vehicle, that will also be incredibly expensive, with a $99,000 starting price.
To sum up, the Detroit Electric SP.01 and the Panamera S E-Hybrid are proof that vehicles powered by alternative fuels can be as fast as gasoline-powered cars, with the added benefit of being environmentally friendly.