The history of electric automobiles is replete with creative approaches to four-wheeled transportation. The first electric cars arrived far before the first gas-powered vehicles.
The General Motors EV1 from the late 1990s and even the Tesla of today are far more recent examples of electric vehicles. In reality, electric vehicles predated those powered by internal combustion, and inventors have never stopped trying to make them practical for use on public roads and profitable as a business venture. Let’s take a long look of the path that brought us here since a lack of historical perspective can often result in misunderstandings of how things came to be as they are now.
Early Electric Vehicles
Robert Anderson of Scotland, whose motorised carriage was constructed sometime between 1832 and 1939, is where we begin in the 1830s. Galvanic cells were still used, thus it was more of a parlour trick (“Look! No ox or horse, yet it moves!”) than a mode of transportation. In 1837, Robert Davidson of Aberdeen, another Scot, constructed the first electric locomotive. A larger, more effective version was shown to be capable of hauling six tonnes 1.5 miles at 4 mph. It then required fresh batteries. Railway workers were so terrified by this spectacular performance (which they perceived as a threat to their livelihoods maintaining steam engines) that they destroyed Davidson’s devil machine, which he had dubbed Galvani.
The invention of rechargeable batteries in 1859 increased the viability of the electric car concept. Thomas Parker, an inventor, created a prototype electric car and assisted with the installation of electric-powered trams in England in 1884. William Morrison, a chemist from Des Moines, Iowa, who was born in Scotland, petitioned for a patent on the electric vehicle he had created by 1890. As reported by the Des Moines Register, it made an appearance in a city procession in 1888. It had 24 battery cells, front-wheel drive, 4 horsepower, and a top speed of 20 mph, and required 50 miles to fully recharge. At the renowned World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893, Morrison’s self-propelled carriage caused a sensation. Morrison was less concerned with mobility than with the batteries, although he had inspired other inventors.
EVs from Electrobat to Columbia
Electrobat! Isn’t that a fantastic name? It is a part of the first commercially successful EV project. Pedro Salom and Henry G. Morris from Philadelphia modified battery-powered street cars and boats’ technology and received a patent in 1894. In 1896, their rear-steer carriages utilised two 1.1-kW motors to go 25 miles at a top speed of 20 mph. Initially very heavy and slow (like a trolley car, with steel “tyres” and 1600 pounds of batteries onboard), their Electrobat [at left] evolved to use pneumatic tyres and lighter materials. In a series of five-mile sprint races against gasoline Duryea autos in 1896, Electrobats and another electric by Riker prevailed.
That year, Morris and Salom became a corporation and advanced to the “cash-in” stage of a prosperous startup. They created a few electric Hansom cabs to take on the horse-drawn cabs that were then available in New York, and subsequently sold the technology to Isaac L. Rice, who established the Electric Vehicle Company (EVC) in New Jersey. When the early 1900s rolled around, they had more than 600 electric taxis operating in New York, with smaller fleets in Boston, Baltimore, and other eastern towns. He in turn attracted wealthy investors and partners. In order to reduce the amount of time it required to recharge batteries, a battery-swapping station was created in New York where cabs could pull up, have their used batteries replaced with fresh ones, and then drive away. Brilliant, but like many startups, it grew too quickly and encountered unforeseen conflicts between partners and investors, and by 1907, the entire cab company had failed.
What is currently known as Exide was originally the battery provider for EVC, who was also an investor and partner. A run of automobiles for general sale were produced by its manufacturing partner Pope, who was also a gasoline-car pioneer, using the technology and the name Columbia from its successful bicycle division. Before the forward-thinking mass manufacturers in Detroit, Ransom Olds and Henry Ford, caught up, Columbia [bottom right] had constructed 1,000 units.
The History of Electric Cars Includes Many Names You Know
Around the world, inventions related to the automobile simply exploded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Steam power is able to dominate due to the small market for cars, which is still dominated by expensive toys for the wealthy. Electric and gas-powered cars lag behind. During this time, some names of brands that are still well-known today experimented in electrics.
Ransom Before creating the first mass-produced Oldsmobile cars, Eli Olds developed a small number of electric horseless carriages; the only one still in existence is displayed in a museum in Lansing, Michigan, which took on the role of Oldsmobile following a fire in Mr. Olds’s Detroit factory. In Lansing, he didn’t produce any electric vehicles, but General Motors would, over a century later.
The Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton [top right], designed by the 23-year-old Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, whose son would start the current Porsche firm after World War II, is another unique museum piece. The electric-drive system of the 1898 automobile was 286 pounds heavy, produced 5 horsepower, and could propel the buggy at a speed of 22 mph. On paper, it doesn’t appear to be any more spectacular than Morrison’s “auto” from the 1893 World’s Fair, yet on September 28, 1899, it won a 25-mile race for electric cars at a Berlin exposition.
Then there is Studebaker, which produced waggons and carriages in the nineteenth century but switched to making electric cars in the twentieth. In the left image, Thomas Edison is shown driving his personal 1902 Studebaker Electric. Both Edison and Henry Ford, a friend from camping, experimented with electric cars and created at least one prototype before deciding that the gasoline engine had more promise for the future. One aspect was the lack of widespread electricity outside of urban areas, which severely constrained the market for vehicles dependent on that infrastructure. For lengthy trips, drivers could transport more gas cans, but extra batteries were much heavier per watt of energy.
20th Century Electric Cars
On September 6, 1901, when he was visiting the Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York, President William McKinley was shot and killed. The HBO/Cinemax television series The Knick, which is about a New York City hospital in 1900–1901, just included this image of the electric-powered ambulance that was used to transport him to the hospital.
Despite surviving the gunshot, McKinley’s wound became gangrene and he passed away eight days later. He had previously driven a Stanley Steamer for a demonstration ride, making him the first American president to do so before the journey to the hospital. Theodore Roosevelt, McKinley’s vice president and successor, is frequently given this honour because in 1902, when he rode in a Columbia electric, he became the first person to do so in public. The Ohioan’s role as the first president to use a motor vehicle should be cemented in history by his experience riding in native electric ambulance.
Electric Cars, History?
Although it had an 80-mile range and a top speed of 25 mph, by the time this 1923 Detroit Electric was constructed (yep, in Detroit), it was already too late for the early electric car industry in general and for this company in particular. Even though Baker and Milburn were more innovative, Detroit Electric, which started in 1907, fared well in the electric automobile market. Electric cars continued to have a market, especially in cities where their quiet operation and convenience of use appealed to many. This was true even when internal-combustion automobiles started to dominate the technical race. Since many of the drivers were women who preferred not to start their vehicles by hand, metropolitan retail areas installed charging stations to draw in these well-off patrons.
But the cost of the Ford Model T was significantly lower and kept declining. In 1908, the initial Model T cost $850. The majority of electric vehicles at the time cost at least twice as much. By 1923, the Model T cost less than $300, while most electric automobiles cost ten times as much.
A Detroit Electric upgrading battery pack (using Edison’s nickel-iron cells) cost $600 on its own in the mid-1910s. This wasn’t important to wealthy people like Clara Ford, Henry Ford’s wife, who disliked her husband’s product because it was noisy and unclean and instead drove a series of Detroit Electrics from 1908 to 1914.
Ironically, the main threat to battery-powered vehicles and the one that overcame Clara’s reservations was an electric motor. The hand-crank issue for gas cars was solved when the electric starter was introduced (developed by Charles Kettering at Dayton Engineering, originally for the 1912 Cadillac). Fuel availability and rising gas prices during World War I gave electrics a slight boost, but by the mid-1920s, Detroit Electric’s “new” cars were frequently built on bodies that had been produced years before and went unpurchased. But between 1907 and 1939, it produced more than 35,000 automobiles.
Deliveries and Taxis
A Serious Attempt
Isn’t it a Renault Dauphine, you’re probably asking. Yes, it certainly is. No, it isn’t at all, though. Actually, it is a Henney Kilowatt. Because people believed electric automobiles should function, interest in them never completely faded. When Packard was nearing the end of his life, Henney, a custom coachworks that frequently supplied hearses, ambulances, and limousines for Packard, was looking for more varied business. Henney bought Eureka Williams in 1953 and later joined National Union Electric Co., a conglomerate that also owned Exide batteries and Emerson radios. What would be more logical than to try producing electric cars if a battery company and a coachworks were both located under one roof?
Henney’s initial Kilowatt for 1959 had a 36-volt system and could travel 40 miles at speeds of up to 40 mph thanks to the assistance of scientists and engineers from Caltech who helped build a speed controller and motor system. For 1960, this was updated to 72 volts, increasing the speed and range to more feasible 60 mph and 60 miles, respectively. These weren’t converted French automobiles; rather, they were based on almost similar U.S.-built chassis, and Henney constructed the bodies using tools and components he obtained from Renault. The speed controller was quite sophisticated for its day, using diodes and relays.
Henney lacked a successful dealer, sales, and distribution network. Although it produced roughly 100 chassis, only 47 finished vehicles were sold. Although a Dauphine was advertised at $1645, the promoted price of $3600 was apparently an unprofitable aim. Most sales were made to fleets of utility companies. Currently, a few are preserved in collections.
This 1966 Electrovair II was one of the electric vehicle experiments that General Motors continued to conduct. The 1964 Electrovair, which was likewise based on a Corvair, was redone in 1966 after being discovered to be lacking.
It received 532 volts from exotic silver-zinc batteries, which it used to power a 115-hp AC induction drive motor. This was a major deal, as the combination was said to perform similarly to the flat-six engine in the Corvair in various configurations.
The battery pack was installed in the nose, redistributing the car’s weight, which was 800 pounds higher than that of a regular Corvair. The range was 40 to 80 miles, and the top speed was 80 mph. However, the fact that the batteries could only withstand 100 recharge cycles—and that the pack itself cost $160,000—was the real deal-breaker from a marketing perspective. That price is what it was in 1966; it is not an estimate of what it would cost now. There is therefore just one, and GM still owns it.
Ralph Nader argued that electric automobiles were practical and that General Electric could build a vehicle that could travel 200 miles on a single charge and reach speeds of up to 80 mph in 1965 during testimony before a U.S. Senate committee. He claimed that GE was conspiring to keep this technology secret with the car and oil companies.
In 1967, GE demonstrated its capabilities with the obscenely ugly Delta experimental electric automobile, which could reach 55 mph and had a range of 40 miles thanks to nickel-iron batteries. Ford debuted an experimental electric vehicle using nickel-cadmium batteries in the same year, but it was no better than the competition. Everyone concurred that a “breakthrough” in battery technology was required to enhance all aspects of the technology, including cost, recharge time, capacity, durability, range, and temperature tolerance.
Electric Cars in Lunar History
Electricity was the logical choice for an airless environment when NASA hired Boeing to create a “car” for use on the moon. A significant subcontractor for the drive-control system and the motors for the Lunar Roving Vehicle was General Motors’ Delco subsidiary. Each of the four DC motors in the wheels produced a quarter horsepower and had a maximum speed of 10,000 rpm.
Construction of four LRVs cost $38 million, which is a 100% increase over the original estimate of $19 million. It was the most exotic “vehicle” ever and was driven nine times (three excursions on each of three missions). The LRV, which was first used in 1971 on the Apollo 15 mission (as pictured below), was powered by non-rechargeable silver-zinc potassium hydroxide batteries with a 121 amp-hour capacity. The same batteries were used for both axles’ electric steering motors. It was made of aluminium tubes, folded in the middle to fit within the Apollo lunar lander, and weighed 460 pounds (in Earth’s gravity) when empty. Passengers had to have their space suits modified in order to fit inside it.
Although the LRV could theoretically go at 8 mph, the lunar surface required more careful speed. Averaging less than 6 mph, it travelled 17 miles over the course of 3 hours on Apollo 15. In total, the LRV travelled around 22 miles on Apollo 17, the final lunar mission, and the men dispersed to a distance of about 5 miles from their landing module.
Oil Shock! The Electric Car Finds Relevance
Despite the previous GE Delta’s ugliness, the fact that these vehicles had found a market allowed us to refrain from declaring it “unsellable.” Electric automobiles became more appealing after OPEC launched an oil embargo in 1973, which caused per-barrel prices to increase by a factor of four to $12 over night. The possibility that we would all soon be driving cars akin to those produced by Sebring-Vanguard in Sebring, Florida, beginning in 1974, was a nightmare for auto fans.
The 1974 Citicar [left], which was essentially a glorified golf cart, featured two doors, two seats, a 2.5-horsepower GE DC motor, and 36 volts of lead-acid batteries. 25 mph is the top speed. Later model years saw an improvement with a 48-volt pack that could propel a Citicar to almost 40 mph. The claimed range was 40 miles. About 2300 of these tacky wedges were produced by Sebring-Vanguard up until 1977, when its creator Robert G. Beaumont sold the business to Commuter Vehicles, Inc., which rebadged the vehicle as the Comuta-Car and made minor updates to make it in line with federal bumper and safety regulations.
The Comuta-Car [top right] has a 6-hp motor and batteries in its bumpers. The most powerful was created to fulfil a government contract for postal service; it had a sliding door [bottom right], right-hand drive, a 12-hp motor, a 72-volt battery pack, and a transmission (with three speeds).
With a total production of 4444 units, Sebring-Vanguard and Commuter Vehicles became the nation’s greatest maker of electric vehicles since World War II, a title it would hold until 2013.
EVs Won’t Go Down in History without a Fight
Even though the 1977 Chevrolet Chevette was unlikable, GM researchers chose to explore what it could accomplish when powered by electricity. Though the prototypes used common lead-acid batteries, the Electrovette was supposed to have the newest nickel-zinc batteries. The back seat was removed and replaced with these.
It could travel up to 50 miles at 30 mph, but later batteries were claimed to double that distance. What did they have in mind? By 1980, according to some internal GM economists, gas prices might reach $2.50 per gallon, or $8.99 today. The Electrovette was put through three years of testing, but when gas prices remained moderate even during the second OPEC oil crisis in 1979, the project was abandoned.
GM’s EV1 Electric Car Is One for the History Books
General Motors chose not to follow the Electrovair/Electrovette path of converting an existing model in response to a 1996 California law requiring automakers to offer a modest percentage of zero-emission vehicles (only electric automobiles met the criterion). While other automakers did exactly that, producing models like the Toyota RAV4 EV, GM went all-out, utilising every piece of available technology in an effort to dominate the market with its Impact concept car.
The GM EV1 in production possessed all the newest technology, with the exception of its dependency on lead-acid batteries. After GM splurged on alloy this and magnesium that, an induction-charging system, and seriously sophisticated electronics to control the efficient AC motor, this maintained costs within reason. The inverter, which converted DC battery power to AC for the motor’s operation and AC back to DC for the batteries’ regeneration mode recharge, required a lot of work.
The EV1 was a compact two-seater to maximise performance, yet it debuted in a market dominated by enormous SUVs. Except for devout believers, no one else accepted it. Between 1996 and 2003, about 800 were leased in Los Angeles, Tucson, and Phoenix (the last cars were built in 1999).
The fact that the California “mandate” was lifted in response to intense lobbying from automakers including GM but also C) many others who were devoting no resources to encourage consumption didn’t go away even after adding a nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery option that provided the 70-to-160-mile range promised for the lead-acid version of the vehicle. Francis Ford Coppola managed to keep his automobile despite GM’s refusal to sell the vehicles to leaseholders; however, the technological know-how was put to use on more modern models including the totally electric Bolt and the plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid Chevrolet Volt.
Missing Link: The First Electric Sports Car
In 1992, Alan Cocconi established AC Propulsion in San Dimas, California. He contributed to the inverter of the EV1 and much of the electric-related ingenuity that helped the Impact idea and subsequent models function properly.
The tzero shown above, with 150 kW (201 horsepower) and lead-acid batteries, was unveiled by AC Propulsion in 1997. (Johnson Controls Optima Yellow Tops). The Piontek Sportech fibreglass kit car’s existing body and chassis served as the basis for this vehicle. In the future, Tesla Motors co-founder Martin Eberhard ordered a tzero using lithium-ion cells, which were then only starting to become accessible (due in large part to consumer electronics and investments from both governments and industry into fundamental battery research in this age). They enabled this sports automobile to reach 60 mph in a reported 3.7 seconds because to their less weight and increased energy density. Hey, this might be enjoyable! Although expected to cost $220,000, it’s not inexpensive.
Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla Motors in 2003 as a result of Cocconi and his partner Tom Gage’s opposition to putting the car into production. They presented their proposal to venture capitalists in Silicon Valley using the lithium-ion tzero as a demonstration device. Although the specifics of their accounts diverge (and eventually gave rise to a lawsuit), Elon Musk was one among the potential investors contacted. Elon Musk initially attempted to get AC Propulsion to begin producing the tzero, just as Eberhard had done.
As an alternative, Gage and AC Propulsion decided to electrify the Scion xB (dubbed the eBox) and seek contract work, such as assisting to electrify the Mini. Musk ultimately invested heavily in Tesla Motors, which helped Eberhard’s concept take off. Just keep in mind that you can draw a line from the EV1 to Tesla—and that the line passes via San Dimas—and that the rest is now electric-car history.
A Little Bird
The Corbin Sparrow takes longer than four seconds to reach 60 mph. Mike Corbin became well-known and wealthy by producing motorcycle seats. He debuted the Corbin Sparrow, a hybrid vehicle with a top speed of 70 mph and a range of roughly 40 miles, in 1999. Similar to a Citicar that you might occasionally be able to use to move around, it is less successful than anything Tesla has attempted and is more geared at commuters.
Less than 300 electric Sparrows were sold by Corbin Motors before it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2003, but the concept endures. The most recent owner of its intellectual property is an organisation based in British Columbia named ElectraMeccanica Vehicles, which claims to have begun shipping the Solo EV three-wheeler with one seat in October 2021.
Tesla Makes Its Mark in Electric Car History
The Roadster, the initial model of which might be accurately compared to an AC Propulsion tzero with the kit-car elements replaced by one grade above-kit-car Lotus Elise components, was the vehicle for which Tesla Motors started manufacture in 2008. Early models relied on a licenced AC Propulsion power system and reductive charging technologies, but later models (such the 2011 Roadster 2.5 pictured above) use proprietary drivetrain technology created at Tesla.
The Roadster employed three-phase, four-pole AC induction motors and was the first to demonstrate a 200-mile driving range (albeit not if driven as hard as an Elise). It was also the first to use lithium-ion batteries in a production vehicle. These grew stronger during the course of the production cycle through 2012. Tesla finally convinced enough people to start considering electric cars as viable alternatives by selling more than 2400 units over four years, despite a price of $109,000 in 2010 (the middle model year). As a result, the Citicar was no longer the picture that the general public associated with the words battery, electric, and car.
Not Quite Ready for Prime Time
In the 2010s, the majority of the world’s major manufacturers still had this mindset when it came to EVs: take a car you’ve already engineered, convert it to electric power, and call it a day. That wasn’t always stupid, though. The market for EVs was still small, and designing a car from scratch would be expensive, but fuel prices remained stubbornly low. Even while Tesla was wowing everyone, its auto sales had not yet resulted in an operating profit.
As a result, there are many plug-in hybrids that are just halfway there, such the Smart and the Chevy Spark EV (which was far more entertaining than the gas-powered equivalent). The cost of lithium-ion cells, like the ones in this Smart, was falling dramatically, to around one-quarter of what it was when the tzero was constructed. In order for EVs to truly compete with the effectiveness, cost, convenience, and performance of contemporary internal-combustion automobiles, they would need to undergo another cycle of charging time improvements, cost reductions, and increased energy density.
Electric Cars Take a Turn for the Better
One of the first significant automakers to construct its battery-powered EV on a specific platform was Nissan. A 24.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack was installed behind the seats when the Leaf first debuted in 2011, and a 30-kWh pack was added in the same location in the 2016 revision. The first-generation Leaf was produced in Japan, the United States, and Great Britain, and it was capable of travelling at highway speeds.
Nevertheless, the Leaf finally overtook the Tesla Model 3 to become the most popular full-use electric vehicle in history after topping 300,000 cumulative sales in January 2018. The Leaf has already cemented its position as the EV that makes EVs feel as commonplace as they did in 1901, despite the fact that others may perform better, look better, and put on a better show.
No Rose-Strewn Path
We frequently forget that failure is much more common among startup ventures because history is written by the winners. This is especially true in the vehicle business, where Coda, Aptera, and Byton have recently been listed among the less-than-spectacular EV ideas. Better Place is a recent example of how high-profile, promising efforts can fizzle out into a heap of dream dust.
Shai Agassi, who created Better Place in 2009, was the dreamer. Better Place received funding from Israel (where it had its headquarters) and Denmark, a partnership with Renault that resulted in a car built with a battery pack to suit its standards (the Fluence Z.E. shown here), and an unconventional business plan that depended on the idea of a standardised battery pack. However, the more than $850 million invested in Better Place was barely enough for its ambitions to endure through 2013, when it went bankrupt (shades of the early 1900s and those New York cabs).
Agassi was excellent at pitching the idea, but he was also adept at upsetting other automakers, whose willingness to construct EV battery packs to a standard that could be swiftly removed and reinstalled was a crucial component of the long-term strategy. Roadside battery-swap recharge stations from Better Place appeared, prepared to service the few automobiles that, um, few people were purchasing. Oops. There may have been fewer than 1500 Renault Fluences sold overall. The battery-car sector at least now has its own contemporary flameout tales to compare to such illustrious exploits as those of Tucker, DeLorean, and Bricklin.
Making EV History Happen: The Tesla Model S Breaks the Mold
The Tesla Model S, which debuted in 2012 and made electric automobiles appealing, was included on our lists of the 10 Best Cars in 2015 and 2016. It is a big luxury car as well as a fast car.
By 2017, some Model S models could travel more than 300 miles on a single charge, and Tesla quickly increased the number of Superchargers in its network to make owning an EV, or at the very least a Tesla, more practical.
EVs: Back in the Mainstream?
Tesla Chases Sales Volume
Charged Up and Truckin’ into EV History
When the Rivian R1T debuted in customer driveways as the first electric truck in fall 2021, it won the title of being the first of its kind. The roughly $80,000 R1T accelerates like a supercar: four electric motors produce 835 horsepower, allowing it to reach 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds. With an EPA-rated range of 314 miles and a 128.9 kWh battery, it can also handle some challenging off-road routes.
GM restored the Hummer nameplate and turned it into a model under its GMC brand as its first foray into the EV truck war. The 9640-pound behemoth manages to accelerate to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds because to the 1000-hp, tri-motor system found in the initial batch of Hummer EV vehicles. The enormous 212.7-kWh battery in the $106,645 Hummer EV allows it to go 329 miles on a single charge, but its primary purpose is to make viral films rather than transport tools to the job site.
In contrast, the Ford F-150 Lightning debuted in 2022 and was designed to perform more conventional truck tasks quietly. The Lightning, which has a starting price in the mid $40,000 area, has the traditional F-150 appearance, a sizable bed, and a 10,000-pound towing capacity. Depending on the trim, it can go between 230 and 320 miles on a charge.
There will soon be additional electric trucks available. In 2023, Chevy will begin selling its Silverado EV, and shortly thereafter, GMC will release the Sierra EV. Ram has stated that an electric vehicle will be available in 2024.
There is also the Tesla Cybertruck, which has been continuously delayed. It has a radical wedge design and a 500-mile range. And let’s not even begin to discuss the several startups that promise electric vehicles but have yet to produce anything that resembles a finished product.
The 500-Mile Dream
The dread of running out of gas before reaching a charging station, known as range anxiety, has long prevented consumers from buying electric cars. Although many new electric vehicles manage at least 200 miles and a few may easily exceed 300 miles, many customers still need a wider safety margin and cherish the ability to take their EV on a lengthy road trip.
Range anxiety may soon be history thanks to the Air car from California-based company Lucid Motors. The top-tier Dream Edition Range model from Lucid, which began delivering to customers in fall 2021, has an EPA-rated range of 520 miles. It was the first EV to cross the 500-mile threshold as a result.
EVs Race Into Supercar History
Rimac, which Mate Rimac started in Croatia in 2009, has emerged as a pioneer in the field of electric motor and battery technology. The Concept One, the company’s first supercar, had over 1200 horsepower and a 0-60 mph acceleration time of less than 2.5 seconds. Only eight units were constructed, and construction began in 2013.
The 1877-hp Nevera, the second product from Rimac, began shipping to consumers in 2022. The Nevera, according to Rimac, can reach 60 mph in under 1.9 seconds.
There are more businesses entering the electric hypercar market besides Rimac. Lotus, a manufacturer of lightweight, compact sports cars, unveiled the quad-motor, 1972-hp Evija electric supercar. Despite appearing heavy for a Lotus at 3700 pounds, it is surprisingly light for an EV.
There are also plans for other electric supercars. Although it has not yet been released, the second-generation Tesla Roadster makes some very audacious performance claims. As do the 1877-hp Pininfarina Battista and the 1110-hp Hispano Suiza Carmen, a peculiar-looking resurrection of a pre-war Spanish carmaker. And even then, there are still a tonne of additional track-oriented supercars that have been revealed and should appear in the upcoming years.