You may be under the impression that electric cars are slower than their petrol or diesel cousins, however that is not necessarily the case. While electric top speeds have so far failed to match those of their petrol cousins, they can pack a lot more power off the line, with the powerful batteries providing immediate torque, and as such they can race off the line faster.
If you’re in the market for an electric car so that you can help the environment, reduce your emissions, or just keep your car taxes relatively low, then this list will provide you with the fastest of the bunch.
Keep in mind – there are some surprises getting to 60mph in under six seconds, and some pretty affordable options too. Out list includes some fully electric cars and some hybrids, and whether paired with a petrol or a diesel engine, the electric motors can provide extra power off the line and can cut emissions quite drastically.
Electric cars may not always be associated with speed, power, or drag races, but they can sure hold their own. Everyone knows that Tesla cars are going to lead this list, but will they be the fastest to 60, or will another speedy eco-car pip them to the post? There’s only one way to find out…
20 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron (6 seconds)
Electric cars are still struggling to become an affordable option, especially cars that can get from 0-60 in under 6 seconds. Unsurprisingly, the Audi is no different. For your £36,465, (over £5,000 more than the non-electric version) you can just manage to squeeze into the 6 second bracket, but you will also get the full Audi experience. The A3 is a sporty hybrid with all the bells and whistles, from Active Lane Assist (whatever that means) to LED headlights and pedestrian recognition.
Stylish as any Audi (and strikingly similar to the regular petrol A3), Audi have treated their existing customers with the comforts of a car and a style that they already know and love, the only changes being on the inside. The secondary engine doesn’t need recharging very often, but only lasts for 29 miles without the help of its petrol-powered counterpart.
19 Mercedes C 350e (5.9 seconds)
As with the Audi, you can plug in this stylish Mercedes at any regular plug socket as well as dedicated power charging stations dotted on our roads. The 350e not only beats the A3 in a drag race to 60mph, but also in battery-powered range. With a range of 31 miles, it’s still not enough for long journeys, but useful for congested city centers or nipping to the shop.
The saloon version of the car, which is the only one that can reach 5.9 seconds, has a 2 liter turbocharged petrol engine to aid the electric motor, but the CO2 emissions still importantly fall into the lowest tax bracket.
A top speed of 155mph is quite something with an extra 200kg of electric motor on board, and the Mercedes will be an assured comfortable ride to get there.
18 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid (5.7 seconds)
Apparently the irony of coupling a diesel engine with an electric motor is lost on Volvo, but it is certainly a marriage that gives the V60 Plug-In some oomph. While a diesel engine is more fuel efficient than a petrol one, it turns out that it's also significantly more expensive to run, possibly counteracting the tax break that comes with the eco-status.
With the same electric-powered range as the Mercedes, and a fully-electric mode available at the push of a convenient dashboard button. Engine power can be siphoned to charge the electric batteries if desperately necessary, but it all gets a bit complicated when you try to save your current charge.
The biggest problems with the Volvo have nothing to do with its electric motor at all, they instead rise from the sluggish steering that reminds you of the days before power steering.
17 2018 Tesla Model 3 (5.6 seconds)
Tesla’s Model 3 is their “affordable electric,” if such a thing were possible. But at $35,000, it actually doesn’t seem too badly priced, if only for the Tesla logo emblazoned on the front. This is a Tesla for the general buyer, not just for those who can afford an all but one-off super car that more than likely transforms into a rocket or something.
In all seriousness, while 5.6 seconds may seem a little slow for a Tesla to go from 0-60, that really isn’t the selling point of the Model 3.
Unlike many hybrid cars on this list, the Tesla is completely 100% electric, and has an astounding range of 200 miles between charges. While this won’t take you long distances, it is easily enough for a fairly lengthy commute in style. Tesla has changed the game with this affordable production car, and we may see more like this in the future.
16 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid (5.4 seconds)
The first 4x4 on our list, Porche’s green SUV, is quite rapid. Thank the 3.0 litre V6 engine for that. The electric motor can only manage a measly 22 miles on a full charge, but it is vital to the performance, especially when providing the immediate torque to get it off the line.
And boy, does it need all the help it can get. It takes a lot of power to get 5,427 lbs of Porsche to 60mph in 5.4 seconds. These speeds simply cannot be achieved without the dense battery in the Cayenne’s rear.
Porsche also make a battery charger that you can keep in your garage to keep it topped up, which is important to keep on top of unless you want to be hit with large petrol bills. Perfect for short trips, but not quite as economical as three cars before it on the list, it’s probably not worth buying this for longer trips, otherwise the cost will add up.
15 Ford Fusion Sport EcoBoost V6 (5.3 seconds)
Some quick math for you – what happens when you add two turbochargers to a 2.7 litre V6 engine and 325 break horsepower? You get from 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds, that’s what.
However the Ford controls its power, it feels very safe. Despite the word “sport” in its name, the car doesn’t really feel like a sports car, more like a family vehicle for doing the school run or something. It looks very ordinary from the outside, and yet, hidden within its sedate doors is a whole bunch of power. This is a case of not judging a book by its cover, and the Ford Fusion is surprisingly powerful when tooled up with all the best options and add-ons. Obviously they are all optional, but without the top engine specs, it wouldn’t have a chance of reaching 60mph this fast.
14 2017 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine (5.3 seconds)
The Twin Engine hybrid version of the Volvo XC90 marries the initial power to get off the line with a petrol or diesel engine to get the higher speed power. The added electric boost to the 2017 Car of the Year gives it a tremendous fuel economy, but as with many of these cars, when the SUV runs out of battery, these statistics take a deep plunge.
When kept fully charged at the mains, Volvo claim that you’ll get 134.5 miles to the gallon, but that can only be achieved without utilizing most of the car’s best features, and the electric engine can just about manage 25 miles.
If you’re planning on using this away from the mains for extended periods, the diesel engine option is probably your best bet, but take the petrol engine if you plan on maximizing the electric potential.
13 Cadillac CT6 Plug-in (5.2 seconds)
$76,000 and four and a half hours’ worth of charging provides you with a speedy start and an impressive 31 miles of range. Powering up its battery using the kinetic energy of braking in a toned down version of Formula 1’s KERS system can help extend the pretty decent battery life as well.
A four-cylinder engine is not as powerful as some on the list, but that evidently hasn’t impacted its speedy starts. A popular choice in America, maybe more because of the Caddy badge than how good the car actually is, the Chinese-made CT6 has been largely marketed at the Chinese audience due to a government push to clean up excessive pollution levels. The Cadillac is a luxury car, and it is almost identically similar to the regular CT6, other than what is underneath.
12 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid (5.2 seconds)
Now this looks like a sports car. Well, it is a sports car. The Panamera packs a combined 671 brake horsepower between its petrol and electric engines, and that manages to pull the 2,310 kg car off the line in a pretty swift time. The E-Power button in the centre of the console changes the car from hybrid to fully-electric, thereby saving petrol, but sacrificing some key power in the process.
In this mode, it takes longer to get to 30 miles per hour than it does for the hybrid mode to get to 60, its top speed is just 84 mph, and the 95 brake horsepower can only push the Porsche for a meagre 22 miles.
It costs nearly $200,000. Is this quite fast Porsche what you really want to spend $200k on? I don’t know, it might be, but there are certainly better and faster cars on this list for much less money.
11 2018 Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine (4.8 seconds)
Despite being a Volvo, the S90 actually looks, well, nice. And for a luxury hybrid sedan to go from 0-60 in under five seconds, that’s actually pretty, well, good. The S90’s 313 brake horsepower is undoubtedly aided by the supercharger and turbocharger which adorn its four cylinders, in addition to the electric engine powering the rear wheels.
The brown leather interior may be a little too much for some tastes (mine included), but the exposed wooden panelling and luxury touchscreen entertainment system are enough to tell me that I would still enjoy driving this car. Volvo have really pushed themselves with their latest electric adventure, and it has paid off. They have created a hybrid that is both fast and luxurious, balancing a sporty design with a business feel, while popping an engine and a half in the bonnet too.
10 BMW i8 (4.4 seconds)
BMW describes the i8 as “Truly Revolutionary,” and I’d be inclined to believe them. They have rewritten what it means to be a supercar (or potentially hypercar) with their mid-engined i8. But the biggest question is: how can a car with a 1.5 litre three-cylinder engine produce 231 brake horsepower? The secondary electric engine will help its petrol counterpart, and when the two are combined with the lightweight carbon fibre body, this car is mighty fast.
It can only travel for 15 miles on electric power alone, but it will do them fast, and that is a fair trade for the supercar aesthetics and statistics that the i8 comes with.
The interior looks like you’re sitting in the cockpit of an alien spaceship – in a good way, of course. The one potential futuristic drawback is the unnecessary gull-wing doors, meaning that you will struggle to park in multi-story car parks or other narrow spaces.
9 Tesla Model X (3.2 seconds)
What 2.5 tonne SUV can go from 0-60mph in just over 3 seconds? The Tesla can. Maybe not once its seven seats and two large boots are filled, but that’s not really the point. Tesla themselves claim that the 611 brake horsepower can carry this mammoth electric beast for over 300 miles, which is simply astounding. The Model X is not cheap, but it is surely worth every penny for the ridiculous capacity it has for an all-electric vehicle.
It looks pretty similar to the Model 3 in its spaceship-esque future vibe, and in all honesty, the Model X is pretty similar to the last Tesla on our list. It is essentially just a souped-up SUV version, with all the bells and whistles, a more powerful engine, more seats, and it goes faster. That’s impressive.
8 Aston Martin RapidE (3 seconds estimated)
Aston Martin’s first foray into the world of electric vehicles is looking to be good. While all the statistics are only claimed (as production has now been pushed back to 2019) it is looking to be good.
Rumours of 800-1,000 horsepower and a range of over 200 miles all sound good, but we won’t know for sure until it hits the roads (hopefully) next year.
Based on the dynamics of the RapidE S, but with an all-electric engine, the British company’s battery powered concept is sure to be a hit, despite its limited run and estimated speeds. Promises of being better than Tesla are mouth-watering to hear, and we sincerely hope that Aston Martin delivers on these promises to create an electric behemoth to rival the industry’s biggest hitters, but with the refinery and class that they consistently deliver.
7 Spark-Renault SRT_01E (3 seconds)
Okay, so you probably can’t buy this car. I mean, almost definitely. But it is electric, and it is quick. Blisteringly quick, in fact. The SRT_01E has a ridiculous name that you will never remember, but also isn’t exactly road legal. But, it is perfect if you’re a Formula E driver, or own your own race track I guess.
Anyway, it’s got all the important bits of a racing car, just without the indicators or ability to manage speed bumps that road legal cars have. This car has an equivalent of 270 brake horsepower, and was so impressive that all 10 Formula E teams used it in the inaugural season back in 2014. It’s positive to see companies working together on cars like this one, with the Spark-Renault combination noted in its name, but also utilizing batteries from Williams and a McLaren-sourced motor. Ultimately, this is a racing car to watch speed around London or Moscow, but it’s a speedy electric car nonetheless, and so deserves a place on our list.
6 Genovation GXE (3 seconds)
Ever wanted an all-electric Corvette? This is the car for you. Based around the classic Chevrolet C7 Corvette, the Genovation GXE carries two electric motors mounted on the rear wheels, said to be capable of producing over 789 brake horsepower. There’s not a lot wrong with this car, mainly due to the fact that it’s just an electric conversion of a classic Corvette.
The conversion of the classic Chevy will set you back $750,000, but the limited run of 75 units will mean that you have a (nearly) one-of-a-kind vehicle.
A range of 175 miles means you can take this on pretty much any road trip that you’d take in your petrol Corvette. Of course, the range will be considerably less if you keep your foot to the floor and push the max speeds of 220 miles per hour.
5 Nio EP9 (2.7 seconds)
The UK-based section of little known Chinese-backed company Nio has produced this speedy all-electric supercar. The EP9 has a ridiculous one megawatt of power output, equivalent to 1,360 brake horsepower, which means it can reach 125 miles per hour in 7.1 seconds. This seems like another car that is only for track racing, but you would be mistaken for thinking that.
The Nio EP9 is completely road legal, and whilst the 295 mile range drops rapidly when used on a track, it is an incredible achievement if driving more sensibly and legally on the roads.
And a recharge takes a mere 45 minutes. The car is ultimately simple, with no creature comforts such as sat-nav or leather finishing or a cup holders, but it goes forward fast. Prepare to pay well over $1.5million though.
4 Vanda Dendrobium (2.7 seconds)
Another relatively unknown company, Singaporean car producers Vanda Electrics have created a car of the future, today. With aesthetics that look straight out of Tron or Star Trek, the creatively named Dendrobium is impressive. The gullwing doors fit the design of the Vanda well, and the rear lights being a solid beam rather than two separate lights are crazy, but it works.
With a design reminiscent of supercars such as Pagani, the speed of the Vanda is also on Pagani-esque levels. The motor housed in the futuristic chassis is based on Formula E designs, and a top speed of 200 miles per hour is definitely feasible for that reason. All the heavy batteries that electric supercars require in order to match the speeds of their regular petrol or diesel counterparts mean that the electric engines need to be more efficient (and given more power) and Vanda has apparently packed enough power into the Dendrobium to mitigate the extra weight.
3 2018 Tesla Model S P100D (2.5 seconds)
Tesla claims that the Model S is the “safest, quickest car on the road”, and while both of those statements could be contested, they have based their findings on some serious evidence. Let’s start with the “quickest” bit. 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds is certainly quick, but not necessarily the quickest, even out of our list of electric cars. However, the Tesla Model S is not a supercar or hypercar like the company it keeps at the higher end of the spectrum.
It’s hard to judge whether the Tesla is actually the safest car on the road, but it is certainly safe for the planet.
Fully electric, it can be supercharged at the Tesla superchargers placed around the world, apparently adding 200 miles of range in only 30-40 minutes. For the speed it can produce, the Model S is comfortable and “normal”. Many others that can manage these speeds are built for racing, or at least race days, so lack the refinement and comfort that Tesla provides. This really feels like a real-life normal car, just one that also goes really fast.
2 Tesla Roadster (1.9 seconds)
We’re moving on from Tesla’s everyday car to their supercar. If you want to be one of the first to own what will be one of the quickest cars on the roads, then you can already put a deposit down for the quarter of a million dollar wheels. While all of the statistics are as-of-yet unconfirmed, and we just have to take Tesla’s reports at face value, they look impressive.
1.9 seconds from 0-60mph is incredible, and getting to 100 mph in less time than some of the cars on this list get to 60 (in 4.2 seconds) is no mean feat. All this is alongside a top speed of over 250 miles per hour.
A claimed 620 mile range is arguably the most impressive stat, however, as that is over twice as far as any other fully electric car in the world. If all this is true, Tesla may produce the most forward-thinking and world-changing car ever made.
1 Rimac C_Two (1.85 seconds)
Rimac’s latest supercar is built out of technologies that seem improbable and frankly seem impossible to the normal driver. Alongside the incredible speed of the C_Two, the vehicle has a 408-mile range (twice that of a petrol hypercar), face-recognition to unlock the car, Level 4 autonomous driving, and artificial intelligence.
Most of these features will not impact how you drive of the car in the traditional sense. The facial recognition simply reduces the need for a key, and the artificial intelligence can apparently recognize the driver’s mood and adjust music or car dynamics accordingly.
None of this takes anything away from how fast the Croatian hypercar really is, though. Faster than a Bugatti Chiron and packing nearly 2,000 brake horsepower, the Rimac is what the Tesla Roadster is planning to become, but it is available right now, rather than in a few years’ time.
Sources: roadandtrack.com, 0-60specs.com, topspeed.com, autoblog.com, motor1.com,