Electric vehicles have a bit of a bad reputation. For those who look down on them, they view them as either being too expensive, or not having enough performance to make it as a regular car. The people at Formula e are looking to change that perception with a racing series of all-electric race cars. The truth is, almost all of the current crop of electric vehicles on sale today are decent performers. We break down the top five fastest accelerating vehicles to show just how good they’ve become. In order to make the list, the vehicle must currently be in production or slated for production this year. Though all the vehicles have a sub-10 second 0-60 time, meaning they all have the ability to drive well in traffic and operate at highway speeds without issue. That being said, let us take a look at the list.
The Nissan Leaf was one of the first all-electric vehicles for sale in mass production in the United States. Designed to not look like any normal vehicle on the road, people are attracted to its funky design and good lease deals. Performance is decent for an around-the-town cruiser, and the instant torque of the electric motor does make it feel peppy. But according to Green Car Reports, the Nissan Leaf is only for a slightly less than 10 second 0-60 time.
Ford Focus Electric
The Focus Electric’s main selling point is that it looks like an ordinary Focus. It also drives like an ordinary Focus. When we drove the vehicle a few years back, we were impressed by the ride and handling. One unique feature to the $35,170 Focus is that it can be charged in 4 hours from a 220 volt home charger. That is faster than most of its competition. Performance is on par for vehicles in this class, with a 9.5 second 0-60 time.
Of all of the vehicles on this list, the Fiat 500e might be the most fashionable. Based on the Fiat 500, the 500e removes the gasoline engine from the front and replaces it with an electric motor. Currently only available in California, the 500e drives like a heavier version of the 500. It also looks like a normal Fiat 500. For some people, not standing out as an electric vehicle is a positive. The 9.1 seconds from 0-60 keeps it competitive in this space, but not a scorcher.
The i3 is BMW’s all-electric vehicle, and launch vehicle for their new i Brand of automobiles. We had an opportunity to drive the new i3 in Las Vegas, and were pleasantly surprised by the car’s acceleration. It feels faster than BMW’s claimed 7 second 0-60 time. The i3 sports a funky look like the Leaf, but we do like it better in-person than in the photographs.
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S P85+, the highest performing version of the Model S, is capable of traveling over 200 miles on a single charge and can charge for free at Supercharger stations. It is also capable of a face-melting 0-60 time of 4 seconds, as tested by Motor Trend. The Model S is the fastest accelerating fully electric vehicle on sale, and straight-line acceleration comparable to the BMW M5. Starting at $85,900 before incentives, the Tesla is also significantly more expensive than other electric vehicle options. But it sure is fast.
The future of electric vehicles will bring improved performance and battery life. The Tesla Model S is a great example of how an electric performance sedan can be, offering great looks, good range, and sports car levels of performance. As battery technology improves, more electric vehicles will be available with faster accelerating times. Public adoption will not increase until they behave like normal cars, and can be recharged as easily as gasoline cars can be refueled.