Treehuggers and gearheads unite! Long viewed as primarily the green-car enthusiast's domain, electric vehicles can actually be just as satisfactory for pedal-mashers, provided that there's a charging system nearby, writes Blake Herrschaft for the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Herrschaft serves up five reasons the EV should be seen as the ultimate road-runner. For starters, the instant, off-the-line torque of an EV provides a quickness advantage that sports cars with a 1,500-rpm torque maximum can't match. The regenerative braking and KERS-like (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) systems give many electric-drive vehicles a little extra push coming out of the corners. For high-end plug-ins like the Mercedes AMG SLS E-Drive, independent electric motors in each wheel allow the driver to get independent torque levels (i.e. "torque vectoring") to provide better handling and safety (but who really cares about safety, here?).

And, sometime in the future, enthusiasts can dream about inductive, wireless-charging systems built underneath the roads' surfaces, providing so-called "boost zones" for EV drivers looking for more juice.

The fifth reason involves the Porsche 918 plug-in hybrid, but that model costs more than $800,000, so we're not going to go there (see the original list here). What we will offer is a video reminder below of how awesome a Tesla Model S looks when it's doing donuts. Yippee.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      You don't need to go all the way to the rev limiter. Halfway is more than sufficient, even less so for big displacement engines or newer DI turbos which have good low end torque. You just need to know how to drive. What you're saying is true. Driving skill is not required. An EV will go fast for a monkey.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      For ~$90,000, manufacturers can make a fast car with any tech they want.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave
        But can they do it in a car that can get 100 MPGe too? And not use imported Oil? And have Zero Emissions (other than the cloud of tire residue)? The beauty of the Tesla brand image... is that it can be Zero gas, Zero emissions... without compromising fun. Any car maker can make a car to achieve a single performance metric... but to meet several in one car... that takes skill.
        Dave
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Dave
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_N%C3%BCrburgring_Nordschleife_lap_times
      Roy_H
      • 1 Year Ago
      How to destroy a set of tires in short order!
      Mladen Kalinic
      • 1 Year Ago
      How sad it is when doughnuts are something used to push forward a technology into mainstream
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mladen Kalinic
        Traditionally, it has always been race tracks for promoting car brands. That's why Toyota races NASCAR...
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      If I could afford a model s I would buy one. Not because its electric, but I spite of the fact it's electric. The car is fast, handles well, is rear wheel drive (the world has enough FWD cars) and it' appears to be well built. As an enthusiast that is what matters to me. I would certainly enjoy the other benefits of an EV as well but just being electric is not why I would buy any car.
        SublimeKnight
        • 1 Day Ago
        @throwback
        Most of what you mentioned is because it IS electric. Fast, because of the instant torque and throttle response. Handles well because of it's insanely low center of gravity due to the battery pack. Well built because they didn't need to spend 80% of the engineering effort trying to isolate you from vibrations and sound of 100s of tiny explosions a second. Tesla could not have leapt on to the scene and dominated its class competition with such a refined car if it had a gas engine. The current car companies have decades of experience on them in that arena. Tesla has an inherent advantage over its competition, because it IS electric.
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Talking about hot EV's, I've noticed something on ebay I've never seen before. Certified Tesla CPO used Roadsters! More details on Tesla's website: http://www.teslamotors.com/preowned Looks like they are doing a factory inspection, and then tacking on an additional warranty: "Tesla Motors Certified Pre-Owned Extended Warranty Included Every certified pre-owned Roadster comes with a 37 month, 37,000 mile extended warranty that begins the day you take delivery. This warranty has the same parts and labor coverage, excluding the battery, as the original warranty and is made possible by the proven reliability of the Roadster powertrain, with over 32 million electric miles driven and counting. A 90-day battery warranty is included, with the option to upgrade to the full 37 month, 37,000 mile warranty term for an optional $7,500 within the first 90 days of ownership."
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      "wireless-charging systems built underneath the roads' surfaces, providing so-called "boost zones" for EV drivers looking for more juice" That's one step closer to real-life Mario Cart.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      raktmn: I said RAPIDLY. How much of your time is spent with the throttle 100% mashed from a full stop? Even amongst your performance driving, what percentage is spent with the throttle mashed and below 10mph?
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      raktmn: They don't have a natural torque advantage. You apparently haven't done the math. Since ICE cars have gearboxes, even a rather ordinary ICE car can develop more torque at the wheels (where it counts) at any speed above a very low cutoff, say 10mph. And how much of your time do you spend accelerating rapidly from 0 to 10mph? Very little. Now, yes, a performance Tesla will make more torque than most gas cars, even above 10mph, but it's an extraordinary EV. An extraordinary ICE car will again make more than it.
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Troll fail: You should post this on AB. ;-)
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Rotation: "And how much of your time do you spend accelerating rapidly from 0 to 10mph?" Just every time I come to a stop....
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      "For starters, the instant, off-the-line torque of an EV provides a quickness advantage that sports cars with a 1,500-rpm torque maximum can't match." I really like EVs, but I'm tired of this torque maximum argument. If you want to drive a car fast, you get one with a clutch, not a torque converter. If you're drag racing with an automatic, you have a stall converter that locks at closer to 3000 rpm. When you are driving a gas car, and you want to get off of the line quickly, you don't start at 60-1000 idle speed rpm. You pre-rev it to around 300 to 4000 rpm. As you let off of the clutch, you use the gas pedal to keep the rpm up where you have plenty of torque. Even on underpowered cars, it's very easy to provide well more torque right off of the line than the tire grip can handle. Even in a stock car with a standard 1500 rpm torque converter, you can push the brake down and pre-rev the engine enough to brake grip off the line. More often, the problem is providing too much torque to the tires. It's more likely that an EVs off the line advantage comes from two things: 1) the computer's ability to apply precise torque and not too much that would break static friction. It's easier to control torque precisely through an electric motor than through an engine and clutch. 2) Weight distribution for an EV is often low and in the case of RWD EVs, often shifted more toward the rear wheels than many gas RWD muscle cars like the Mustang, which often carry as little as 40% of the weight on the rear, driving wheels.
        John Glenn Space
        • 1 Day Ago
        @BipDBo
        You recognize how archaic your argument sounds, right?
          BipDBo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @John Glenn Space
          How is it archaic? I'm not sure how that word applies. I'm a fan of EVs. I just don't like misrepresentation. Ice cars with decent power, when driven with a sliver of skill, can provide, from the line up to red line in first gear, torque to the tires that exceeds the static friction between the rubber and the road. Launch systems don't provide more torque, but rather actually work by reducing power and therefore torque, to the road. Simple physics. No more argument. There is one aspect of the instant torque argument that I will acknowledge as legitimate. When you are cruising along and you want to stomp on the accelerator to pass someone, you will instantly be thrusted forward in an EV. In an Ice car, regardless of transmission type, you need to wait to downshift. Except for DCTs and variable transmissions, you also loose time in shifting that you do not in an EV. The downside, though to an EV is that the lack of shifting makes it so that peak power and peak efficiency is not available at all speeds. They pick a ratio that puts those points somewhere in the middle.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Day Ago
          @John Glenn Space
          I'm laughin' too John.. All this talk about transmissions, just to keep a stinkbox from dropping in and out of power as you drive along, just makes me chuckle.
        raktmn
        • 1 Day Ago
        @BipDBo
        BipDBo -- What you have unwittingly proven, is that for gas cars to catch up to the natural torque advantage of an EV, you must do one of the following to make up for the natural torque drawbacks that come with gas engines: 1) Remove your torque converter and install an expensive drag-race specific torque converter to make up for the natural disadvantage gas engines have in low rpm torque. or 2) Forgo an automatic transmission completely and abuse the heck out of the clutch in a manual transmission car by revving up the motor and doing unsustainable clutch dumps. There are only so many of these any manual transmission car can handle before things start failing. In BMW's they kept beefing up the drivetrain so it wouldn't fail, until it was the rear suspension literally ripping from the body that became a common failure. And if you have a stock clutch, you better plan on doing a performance upgrade clutch real soon. Either way, you pretty much have to spend a lot of money to modify the vast majority of stock gassers in order to get them to repeatedly perform as well as a stock Model S can everyday, at every stop light. Your last point about weight distribution is valid, but is simply once again proves the natural advantage of EV drivetrains over gas drivetrains. The weight distribution on a mustang isn't because that is how they want it to be distributed. It is because the ICE motor is too fat and heavy by nature, and there is no good place to put it in any car. The best place to put an ICE motor would be under the driver and passengers. But ICE motors can't fit there. And even with all those attempts of revving the engine at launch to get around the natural disadvantage of the gas engine, we still see video after video of the Model S blowing gas cars off of the line. And not slow gas cars, but M5's and AMG's.
        SublimeKnight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        Here's the difference. If a Tesla owner wants to have a little fun at a light or get out in front of a car for a merge ahead, they just press the gas pedal and grin. In a gas car, you look like a tool in order to get the same effect. Bouncing off the rev limiter waiting for the light to change.
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