TreeHugger.com, a site not shy with its agenda, reports that bench racers are targeting a performance icon with electric vehicles. The story, titled “5 Eco-Cars Faster than the Porsche 911,” aims to send a shock wave through the perceptions of automotive enthusiasts. The article compares the sports car to a polished group of concepts, one-offs and dedicated electric supercars.
The Porsche goes 0–60 in 4.7 seconds. How does that compare to the electrics?
- Tzero by AC Propulsion: 3.6 seconds
- Tesla Motors Roadster: 2.78 seconds
- Ultimate Aero EV by Shelby SuperCars: 2.78 seconds
- Tango Electric Cars: 4 seconds
- Wrightspeed X1: 3.07 seconds
This level of acceleration is what automotive enthusiasts are passionate about, never mind that there is dead silence instead of an addictive V8 growl. As the automotive industry evolves to meet emissions standards and the United States moves to curb its dependence on foreign oil, models such as these make the case for an electric-car performance market.
Consider what some of the OEMs are working on: General Motors has announced production plans for the Chevrolet Volt and sibling offshoots; Chrysler has announced three electric vehicle candidates; Ford is testing plug-in hybrids; Toyota is testing a plug-in Prius; and BMW is teasing Californians with 500 pure-electric MINIs.
Part of this surge is due to consumer demand, but some of the urgency can be attributed to regulations insisting on zero- or low-emissions vehicles.
For the consumer, the decision will hinge on performance for related fossil fuel-powered cars and the time it will take to recover the additional expense. Retail prices:
- Base Porsche 911 Carrera 4S: $102,900
- TZero: not for sale
- Tesla Roadster: $109,000
- Ultimate Aero: n/a
- Tango Electric: $85,000
- Wrightspeed X1: n/a
For our example above, we find that initial investments in high performance can be costly, if impossible. One of the largest hurdles has been availability. As suppliers invest in component factories and vehicle builders begin to test legitimate concepts, the choices will change.
The price difference between the Porsche and the Tesla is $6,100. At $3.50 a gallon, that represents 1,742 gallons of gas. Since the Porsche is rated at 19 mpg, that equates to 33,114 miles. It would take a year and a half to two years to recover the additional cost in the current market. In a few years, production costs may come down as suppliers retool their assembly lines and government rebates begin to take effect, and electric vehicles could play a vital role in the market for high-performance vehicles.
This is a part of the automotive industry that bears watching for performance parts and accessory opportunities.
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