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World's top 5 fastest street legal electric cars

By

April 10, 2009

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

Image Gallery (5 images)

April 9, 2009Cars like the million dollar Porsche Carrera GT and Ferrari Enzo are rightly considered supercars with their lightweight carbon fiber construction and 650 hp (477 kw) thoroughbred mid mounted engines making them capable of 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The amazing thing is that electric vehicles like the 250 hp (183 kw) Tesla Roadster, which produce 100% instant torque from zero rpm, can accelerate to 60 mph in the exact same time, and at costs as low as $0.02 per mile. Paul Evans takes a look at the leading lights of this new breed of speed demon - the top 5 fastest Electric Vehicles in the world.

The two aforementioned supercars are officially rated at around 12 mpg (19.6L/100km) in city driving, depending on your local fuel price, meaning it could cost as much as $40 in fuel to drive 100km. An EV with similar performance will travel the same distance on just $1.20 worth of electricity ($0.60 in charged over night at off-peak rates). That's not just a slight improvement, that's a huge leap forward.

The difference stems from the fact that only about 15% of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories, such as air conditioning. The rest of the energy is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling.

So the cost benefits are clear, but what about performance, and which cars make the list of the top 5 fastest street legal Electric Vehicles in the world? No cars that are still at the concept stage have been considered, only those that have demonstrated their performance on a real race track get a mention here. The absolute fastest EV s in the world are Killacycle, a purpose built electric drag bike with 500 hp which current holds the record at 7.89 @ 168 mph for the quarter mile and Current Eliminator, a rail type dragster with a best time of 7.956 @ 160 mph. Both vehicles can do 0-60 mph in less than 1 second but because neither are street legal they don't make our top 5.

Smoke Screen

1. The fastest street legal electric car is a Chevy S-10 called 'Smoke Screen' which was built and is owned by Dennis Berube, who also built the worlds fastest EV dragster 'Current Eliminator'. The S-10 has a best time of 11.083 @ 120 mph and can accelerate to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. The s-10 runs a series wound DC motor, in this car a 13 in diameter General Electric unit, running on 400 volts and mounted where the gearbox once was.

White Zombie

2. The second fastest street legal EV is a 1972 Datsun 1200 that has been doing the rounds on the internet for quite a while now called White Zombie. The Datsun features two 8 inch Advanced DC series wound motors that put out 250 hp (183 kw) – about the same as the Tesla Roadster - with an impressive 772 ft/lb (1045 Nm) at the back wheels. Looks are deceptive when ot comes to this old two door Datsun - it can do 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

Wrightspeed X1

3. The Wrightspeed X1 is an Ariel Atom fitted with an electric power train from sourced from AC Propulsion and is capable of 0-60 mph in 3.07 seconds. Where the EV drag cars mentioned above all run DC motors, the Wrightspeed uses the same AC power plant found in the Tesla Roadster. In fact, Tesla originally licensed most of their technology from AC Propulsion so they are very closely related. AC Propulsion tzero

4. The AC Propulsion tzero can do 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and is the vehicle credited with being the first in the world to demonstrate the amazing performance possible with off-the-shelf li-ion “laptop” batteries. It would be reasonable to say the tzero (the name comes from a mathematical symbol that means time starts now) started the current move to Li-ion battery electrification of the automobile. The 165kw 3 phase AC motor and inverter in the tzero were originally fitted to a humble Honda Civic by Alan Conconi (an ex-GM engineer who designed the power train for the original EV1) in the 90s. Being front wheel drive, the Civic was unable to demonstrate the full potential of all that instant EV torque so the running gear was fitted into a rear wheel drive kit car called a Piontek Sportech that was originally designed to run a motorcycle engine.

Tesla Roadster

5. The Tesla Roadster claims the title of worlds fastest production electric sports car with a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds. With it's 185 kw 3 phase AC motor and 53 kwh Li-ion battery pack capable of a range of 240 miles (384 km) the Roadster is the production version of the AC propulsion tzero. Where a Ferrari Enzo has a gas guzzling 110 litre (29 gallon) that might cost in the region of USD$58 to fill (at US gas prices) or as much as USD$175 if you're in the EU, the Tesla Roaster has the same blistering performance, just as much turn head appeal and costs less than $5.00 to fill.

Paul Evans

White Zombie



Wrightspeed X1



AC Propulsion tzero



9 Comments

You are claiming that filling up a 110 litre tank in Europe can cost you up to 242 US$. Okay, fuel prices are ridiculous over here, but not that much. Currently a litre of 100 Octane premium plus fuel (te best you can buy) costs about 1.35 Euro in Germany. One Euro currently is worth about 1,25 US$, which means that filling up a 110 Litre tank costs you 185 US-Dollars. Maybe fuel is more expensive in the UK than in Germany, but I doubt that it is more than 30%.

sampleman
10th April, 2009 @ 12:34 pm PDT

The only problem with this article is that it's claiming these cars are comparable to supercars when they are not. Yes they are just as fast 0-60 or even in the 1/4 mile but that is not a measurement of a cars true performance. Most of these cars have very limited top speeds and can not compare in cornering due to the high weight of the batteries. Beyond that any non electric car not just a supercar could beat any of these electric cars in a cross country race due to the limited range without recharge or battery replacement. Don't get me wrong I like electric cars but they still have a lot of downfalls and one of them is actually still performance despite your articles claims.

MacBandit
11th April, 2009 @ 10:44 am PDT

Top Gear did a review of one of the electric cars (can't remember which one...I think it was the Tesla) and they came to the determination that electric cars just aren't practical in their current itteration. for one, they cost 3 times that of a conventional gasoline car, and as a test, they found that the 200 mile range claimed by the electric car manufacturer is probably only a best range value because in their tests, they only got 50 miles on a full charge...an to make matters worse, when the battery dies, the car can't be charged on the spot and then driven away (if your gasoline car runs out of gas, you can dump in a gallon and be on your way in under 30 seconds) And because it takes up to 16 hours to fully charge the batteries, it could take 3 days just to drive 150!

Yeah, these cars are fun, and it's fun to dream, but until they can fully charge an electric car in under 10 minutes, from any conventional electrical socket, or from jumper cables from another vehicle, electric cars will only be a commodity...and they will only server to be high-priced replacement for golf carts that retired people use in retirement compounds.

Ed

web/gadget guru

Ed
14th April, 2009 @ 12:48 pm PDT

Except in the Top Gear test, they admitted that they didn't actually run out of charge, they just after 50 miles 'simulated' what would happen if it did run out of charge. The 200mile range (actually 240miles) was verified at an EPA facility, by actually running it out of charge in the same standard driving simulation used to test fuel mileage of other cars. Best range would likely be much longer again. Remember the only reliable way to measure the consumption is by measuring the batteries charge directly, the fuel gauge like standard fuel gauge any other is going to underestimate the actual charge considerably, more so on the tesla, to stop you from getting stuck.

The average commute of most people would be fine even with 50 miles though. And given it will actually do more than 4 times this before it runs out of charge....

You're not going to drive interstate in it, but they could easily take over 99.99% of the driving usage for 90% of people, especially in families with more than one car.

Top Gear are notoriously bad at reviewing any alternate technology, they did one where they showed a hybrid car had higher fuel usage than a BMW, by running it at top speed around a track. Where of course the ONLY way a hybrid will be of any use is if it brakes, and thus stores that energy so it can use it again (ie City traffic), it's obviously going to be no different / worse when you're not actually using the electric engine at all because you haven't charged the batteries.

Basically, it's a much better show to deliberately trash new technology, even if you have to 'fake' it, or deliberately set up the worst possible case scenario.

'High weight of the batteries' - These cars are light, thus the reason for the limited range. It also uses less power to drive a light car so you need less batteries for the same range also. They're obviously not going to be used cross country or around a track 100 times. If you're going to do that, you get a car build for that, if you wanted to design an electric car for that you would build it with swap in / swap out batteries. But typical usage is nothing like that so there is little point in restricting what is already a niche market even further.

Rod Rye
18th April, 2009 @ 08:29 am PDT

as is normal, when something new appears on the scene, there are always those shortsighted people who cannot see that there is a huge change in direction happening, right now !,,,,, the electric car, fast or slow is here just like the gas guzzlers were fast or slow, and thankfully their oil demise is drawing nearer

robinyatesuk2003
22nd August, 2009 @ 08:41 pm PDT

no need to say a word to the owners of "super cars", just watch the videos and weep !

robinyatesuk2003
22nd August, 2009 @ 09:39 pm PDT

Low pollution, high mileage, money saver vehicle are always hot cake demand in public. Electric car is one of them. Current generation prefer Electric Cars because it is low cost, fuel saver and eco friendly green cars with affordable price and also they can enjoy luxurious ride in it. Electric cars are plug-in battery powered vehicle which is easy to use and there is no need to worry about fuel. Electric vehicles reduce pollution and save ozone layer, which is the big headache for current environment situation.

Himanshu Shah
22nd October, 2010 @ 09:35 pm PDT

what if you put a generator in the trunk attached to the batteries for when they got low and had sensors and wiring that would kick in and recharge the batteries so the car had better range would that still be efficient

Kevin Overholtzer
20th April, 2013 @ 01:57 am PDT

You want that 10 min battery look at this : http://vimeo.com/51873011

Jonathan L. Gagnon
12th June, 2013 @ 05:31 am PDT
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