Electric cars have burst onto the drag racing scene in the past few years, in fact, 3 of the top 5 quickest cars in the world are electric. But will this trend continue for much longer?
Today we’re going to look at the top 5 fastest accelerating production cars in the world and dig into what might be coming down the road. Let’s start with number 5, the Bugatti Veyron
The Bugatti Veyron is a mid-engine sports car designed and developed by Volkswagen Group and made in Molsheim France. It gets its name from the racing driver Pierre Veyron.
The super sport version of this car is recognized as the fastest production car in the world comes in at #5 in our list of quickest, meaning the fastest from 0 to 60 miles per hour.
Bugatti limited their production of this model to a mere 450, 30 of which were the super sport variety, and sold them for a cool 1.7M dollar US.
On the UK show Top Gear Jeremy Clarkson pointed out that the Veyron cost around £5M pounds to make and were sold to customers for around £1M pounds. They called it a “Concord moment” billed as a technical exercise.
When it came down to it, the Bugatti Veyron had a lot going for it, but in the 0 to 60 test it clocked in at just 2.5 seconds, a few tenths behind the leader.
Next, we have the LaFerrari. LaFerrari, Italian for The Ferrari, is a limited production hybrid sports car from Ferrari. The idea behind the name is that this is the “definitive” or “ultimate” Ferrari.
Personally, I’m partial to the 1984 Ferrari 308 GTS that Tom Selleck drove in Magnum PI, one of my favorite shows as a kid, but hey, this one looks pretty cool too. So this is our first hybrid electric on our list, as I promised and this one comes with a shocking sticker price of over 7M dollars making it this century’s most expensive car sold at auction.
Did I mention Ferrari has only made about 500 of these? That increases the value of these collector sports cars for rich people. One interesting fact about this car is that the hybrid engine they made increases power output while decreasing fuel consumption by 40 percent…in a Ferrari!
Unlike the Bugatti Veryon which breaks the 250mph speed barrier LaFerrari clocks in with a top speed of 217mph and 2.4sec which to be fair, was taken on a downhill track so it’s hard to say how it would fare against these others in similar conditions
Coming in at #3 we have the Bugatti Chiron which is the successor to our #5 car, the Veyron. The Chiron, like the Veyron, is a mid-engine sports car and is the latest from the French carmaker introduced in March of 2016. The 8-litre W16 quad-turbocharged engine was carried over from the previous model although Bugatti made lots of updates to it for this version. In this model, for safety reasons, they limited the top speed to 261mph, but it is believed that the car could reach 288mph without the speed governor.
Like the Veyron, this supercar is limited to 500 units, 200 of which were sold before the car was manufactured. That may not sound like much but considering the price tag is 2.8M dollars it’s not a bad payday for Bugatti. The Bugatti Chiron clocks in with a 0-60 time of 2.3 seconds earning it the third spot in our list of top 5 fastest production cars.
It’s down to the last two but before we get to them I want to mention something about the limitations of acceleration for automobiles.
A few key factors influencing how fast cars can reach 60mph, notably horsepower, AWD, and grip. When trying to calculate the physical limit of a car’s acceleration, you first have to assume that you have unlimited horsepower to push the car along as fast as it possibly can handle. For a car to accelerate as fast as possible, all four wheels need to work together, so AWD is a must. So far so good for all our cars on this list.
The limiting factor often comes down to grip. Without getting too deep into the weeds, the way people often calculate this is by looking at how fast a car can stop. They measure that in feet it takes to go from 60mph to 0. Here is where things get a little tricky. The concept is that if you know how fast a car can stop, you can then figure out how much grip the tires have. For these cars, we’re only considering street legal tires and not ones specifically made for drag racing. Once you know how much grip the tires have, meaning they provide acceleration instead of just spinning on the track, then you can calculate the theoretical limit of a car’s acceleration. That is their 0-60 time.
When it comes to our #2 car, however, the Tesla Model S P100D, the laws of physics here need to bend a little. I have a link to great videos from the Engineering Explained video in the description if you’d like to learn more.
// Engineering Explained 0-60 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAvIVGGhEis
In short, the Model S has an odd ratio of it’s acceleration to deceleration rates, which indicate that there is more to the equation, and may also mean that it could achieve an even faster time with some tuning to the traction control and other parts of the operating system. The Tesla Model S P100D is the only fully electric car on our list and is Tesla’s fastest option with the Ludicrous mode giving it a 0-60 time of 2.28 seconds.
Tesla Software limits the top speed at 155mph, and unlike the other cars, Tesla has been selling thousands of these each quarter for the past few years. This is Tesla’s most expensive Sedan coming in around 150,000 which is still around 750K cheaper than the next most affordable car on our list. Unlike the other supercars on our list, the Tesla Model S is highly regarded as the best luxury sedan money can buy and comes in cheaper versions affordable to a much broader market. While the other car makers here set out to make the fastest sports-car possible, Tesla made the best sedan possible, and it just happened to be faster than nearly all other production cars in the world.
The reason the Tesla made this list is due to the instant peak torque. You can see how obvious this is when you look at the acceleration graph compared to some of the other supercars. You’ll notice that the Tesla jumps way out ahead of all the other cars but then quickly begins to lose ground. So in a 0-60 test the Tesla Model S comes in second, but if the track were much longer, it wouldn’t perform nearly as well.
This brings us to #1 – the Porshe 918 Spyder. The Porsche 918 Spyder is a mid-engine plugin-hybrid sports car from Porsche. The Spyder is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.6-litre V8 engine with two electric motors delivering some additional force to make it the worlds fastest car in the 0-60 test. Porsche initially unveiled the 918 cider at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show but didn’t release the production version of it until 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Since then they’ve made almost 1,000 of these making it the second most selling car on our list. With a price tag of 845K, this beauty is practically a steal, especially when compared to the 7M dollar Ferrari.
With a top speed of 210 mph the Porsche 918 Spyder comes in with a 0-60 time of an even 2.2 seconds, a full eight hundredths of a second faster than the Tesla Model S P100D, and for a mere 700K more!
So there you have it, three of the top 5 quickest cars on the planet are electric for today. In the future, I’m guessing this trend is going to continue, however, including the upcoming NextGen Tesla Roadster.
While not more than rumors at this point Elon has said he would consider shooting for making the Next-Gen version of the Tesla Roadster quick enough to come in under 2 seconds in the 0-60 test. While it may sound simple, just put the P100D drivetrain in a lighter car, it is going to be harder than it sounds.
Going back to the physics of it, the weight of the car plays a role in the amount of grip it has, in a negative way. Tesla equipped the original roadster with a 50kWh battery pack giving it a weight of nearly 3,000 lb. The Model S P100D, in contrast, has a 100kWh pack and weighs only 2,000lb more. Using some back of the napkin calculations, the Next-Gen Roadster would need to be closer to 1,000lb with the same amount of horsepower to beat the 2-second barrier
Considering the battery is the heaviest part of the car, and they’d need to increase the size of it over original roadster, I’m just not seeing it. I’m not saying they can’t do it if anyone is capable of breaking the laws of physics to get his way it’s Elon, I have faith, but at first blush, it seems unlikely.
I’d love to know what you think…besides Tesla are we going to see more EVs start to dominate the 0-60 times? Will the roadster beat the 2sec barrier? Leave me a comment down below.