Drive: Electric & Hybrids – The End Is Nigh!

As a ‘petrolhead’ that’s exactly how I would have looked at the trend towards alternate energy vehicles. The fun, noise and sensory thrill of our fossil fueled vehicles relegated to memory and film. Vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf leading the way for the invasion of automotive white goods destined to suck the life out of driving.

A funny thing happened though, that proved that going green didn’t necessarily mean boring. Clever engineers at some of the most driving enthusiast brands figured out that saving the planet didn’t have to mean having to drive soulless appliances. Here are a few cars that prove that the future might be even better than we can imagine.

Tesla Model S

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Tesla burst on the scene with the Tesla Roadster based on the Lotus Elise chassis as a fun all electric sports car. The Model S however was the one that made shock waves through the car loving world. The normal Model S achieves a 0-60mph (96.5kph) in a fast  5.9 seconds, the same as a 2012 Supercharged V8 Range Rover Sport. The dual motor varients P85D and P90D using modes named “insane” & “ludicrous” achieve this sprint in 3.2 and 2.8 seconds each. Times that would have Italian supercars questioning their identities. Acceleration shenanigans aside, the Tesla Model S is a very capable & well appointed executive sedan, that has an immense amount of technology packed inside.

BMW I8

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The BMW dropped Jaws in 2009 when it was revealed as a concept car at the International Motor Show Germany. It was the kind of vehicle whose body work looked too futuristic to ever make it into production. Four years later at the Geneva Motor show the production version was unveiled and unlike many concept vehicles, this one was largely unchanged. The 3 cylinder turbo engine combined with an electric motor powering the front wheels gives this hybrid sports car a combined 360hp, and still providing a fuel efficiency of 2.1L/100km.

The Big Three: Ferrari La Ferrari, Porsche 918, Mclaren P1

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Also known as the trinity, these three vehicles represented what hybrid technology could do when focused solely on making speed and driving enjoyment their goal. Each of the offerings apply hybrid technology differently with only the Ferrari lacking an electric only mode. The Porsche and the Ferrari use naturally aspirated high revving engines alongside their hybrid power trains whereas the Mclaren uses a variant of its twin turbo charged V8. The Porsche is the only one that is All Wheel Drive, the front wheels powered by electric motors, where-as the Mclaren and Ferrari are resolutely rear wheel drive. These cars are unfortunately only in the hands of a few due to their cost but what they represent is that future is indeed a bright one.