Not so long ago, electric cars looked like banal, underpowered science experiments on wheels. Then came Tesla and others to prove that pure EVs could be powerful and sexy. Now a new wave is coming. Car companies around the world are promising to electrify their entire lineups within the next decade, and will get all-electric power in the years to come. With that in mind, here are nine existing cars and trucks that would be amazing with pure battery power.
Porsche is priming itself to become an EV leader. The 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar, which ended production in 2015, could sprint to 60 mph in just 2.2 seconds and deliver an electric-only driving range of around 12 miles. That acceleration time is astonishing, but the range could use some help.
Well, the next-generation of electrified Porsches will change all that. The company’s proposed new will allow for dramatically quicker charging times. For the company’s Mission E concept car, Porchse quotes 250 miles of travel with a re-charge time of 15 minutes.
If we were to apply that tech to Porsche’s smallest, most agile sports car, the Boxster, then you have a recipe for big fun. The battery pack for a Boxster could be kept relatively small because of those rapid recharge times. That would mean less heft to haul around. So a quick-charging Boxster EV has the potential to be an incredible handling machine on twisty backroads. And with such short charge times, an electric Boxster could be fun at track days, too.
Electric big-rigs are coming, but so far there are precious few EVs capable of carrying a large number of people and all their stuff. Until these workhorse EVs exist, a good chunk of the buying public will ignore electric vehicles, but many eco-conscious families would embrace an EV minivan.
Chrysler already offers a plug-in hybrid version of its Pacifica with a 16-kWh battery pack that sits below the second-row seats and delivers about 30 miles of electric range. If a van were designed from the ground up to handle a much larger pack, though, a pure electric van could work. A minivan with 200 miles of range would allow plenty of breathing room for both an occasional road trip as well as typical American commuting chores and all the soccer practice you can handle.
An EV minivan makes sense from a health perspective, too. Imagine a school parking lot full of minivans and SUVs, but instead of internal combustion engines idling away as kids hop in and out of their car seats, electric vehicles sit silently and provide cleaner air.
The iconic Wrangler line is expanding. Jeep plans to add some cool new models including a four-door , diesel versions, and even a plug-in hybrid model by 2020, using a hybrid setup similar to what Chrysler uses in the Pacifica minivan. But we think an all-electric Jeep would be fun on-road or off.
Yes, there’s the range issue that’d keep you from roaming too far. But engineers could tune the system to channel instant torque to the wheels that could use it best. By manipulating and managing the torque at each wheel with increased precision, an electric powertrain would actually boost the Wrangler’s capability.
The downside: The battery pack would have to be large, which means it’d gobble up some space in the Wrangler’s chassis. But , some Jeep fans in Korea have already built kickass electric versions of the older JK Wrangler.
The 730-hp Lamborghini Aventador hits 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and tops out at 217 mph. And just look at it. This is one thundering supercar that’s completely outrageous
Tthe Aventador is not a car that most owners would drive often, or for long periods of time—they have other cars for the daily grind. This Lambo is a weekend toy, and that’s what makes an electric powertrain even with a modest range perfect for this machine. An electric Lamborghini with the right level of potency could provide absolutely thrilling performance for an afternoon drive through the canyons or an evening out to dinner. But most of the time it will just sit, there so, it’s fair to assume it will be ready with a full charge any time you need it.
Because Lambo is part of the VW Group, it’ll benefit from the best EV tech that’s being pioneered for any of the company’s other brands. Supercars tend accumulate few miles over their lifetime and yet have exorbitant maintenance costs. But electric cars require very little mechanical upkeep. So, expensive maintenance schedules at the local Lambo dealer would be all but eliminated with an Aventador EV.
Could America’s sports car offer a 100 percent electric powertrain someday? We’re not sure whether fans could get over the anathema of a silent Corvette, but we’d like to see it. Why? Because the engineers behind the Corvette are some of the most talented within General Motors. For years, they have been able to develop a sports car that can compete on the world stage in terms of performance for far fewer dollars than their European competition. That formula could work if the ‘Vette was an EV.
The current Corvette has a huge 6.2-liter V-8 sitting over the front wheels. That engine, when combined with the 8-speed automatic, weighs around 650 lbs. That’s a lot of potential battery capacity right there. If a Corvette were engineered from the ground up to house an electric powertrain, then the hefty, high-performance battery pack could be integrated into the chassis and positioned to keep the center of gravity low.
The latest EV systems have the potential for hypercar-levels of acceleration, so an electric ‘Vette would remain one of the quickest sports cars available. The EV Corvette could attract a younger buyer, too. The typical Corvette owner is about 60 years old and GM desperately needs to grab the attention of more youthful fans.
You could make the case for an electric version of any fullsize truck. We like the idea of silent and smog-free Home Depot runs, and a purely-electric camping trip would be fun, too. Just plug the truck into an outlet at an RV campsite and you pickup could not only stay charged up but provide clean power for the truck’s accessories all weekend long without the need for a generator. That goes for the worksite, too.
The GMC Sierra Denali in particular makes sense for a few reasons. The Denali sub-brand represents one third of GMC’s sales and clearly has a customer base willing to pay a little more. The added cost of the battery packs and hardware on a Denali EV probably wouldn’t drive these buyers away. Meanwhile, the folks most interested in an electric pickup would probably appreciate the exclusivity of a Denali-badged truck.
When you look at the specs for the light-duty Sierra Denali, the equipment levels and options on current trucks already add quite a bit to the overall weight, which reduces the effective payload on these trucks by a few hundred pounds compared to lighter, less luxurious trucks. So, it seems likely that the buyers of a Denali EV truck would also accept slightly lower payloads to compensate for the heavy battery packs.
Ford’s all-new Expedition is jumped ahead of the fullsize SUV competition thanks to a modern interior and packaging that allows for passengers to stretch out in all three rows. Because this big SUV uses strong body-on-frame construction, it could handle the weight of the large battery pack it would certainly need to provide sufficient range.
The good news is there’s lots of space under the hood. And Expeditions use a compact independent rear suspension, which means there could be room at the rear of the vehicle to house those batteries once you take out the truck’s massive 28-gallon fuel tank and hefty exhaust system. A smooth-riding and silent Expedition EV with room for 8 passengers as well as the traction of 4WD and the ability to tow would almost certainly open more people up to the idea of an electric vehicle.
The Miata is one of the most rewarding sports cars on the planet. It’s light, agile, and a joy to hammer in the canyons or on a racetrack. In spirit, it’s similar to the departed first-generation Tesla Roadster, so the concept of a small EV sports car makes sense.
This isn’t a new idea: Plenty of folks have home-built DIY electric Miatas. But now that solid battery tech is largely available to any manufacturer, Mazda could lead the industry with a modern and affordable EV sports car packing all the driving magic Mazda is known for.
The tricky part would be to keep the weight of the battery packs manageable and find room to fit them in without ruining the car’s balance (a Miata is one of the few vehicles with a perfect 50:50 weight distribution). Perhaps a next-generation Miata could use a flexible architecture to integrate the battery into the car’s chassis and make sure it’s just as brilliant to drive as today’s internal combustion models.
This $420,000 Rolls is designed for opulent cruising. It’s well-heeled buyers want a comfortable and quiet experience. The Phantom’s 563 hp twin-turbo V-12 is smooth and hushed, but an electric powertrain would be nearly silent.
Rolls Royce’s parent company, BMW, has had some success with EVs like the i3 and i8. Last year the company moved 100,000 electric vehicles worldwide, and BMW plans to have 12 electrified models by 2025. We’d guess at least one of them will be a Rolls Royce. Besided, what better name for a decadent car that glides along the roadway without making a sound than “Phantom?” Perhaps big, luxurious Rolls Royce EVs could supplant a Tesla as the ultimate status machine for eco-conscious celebrities.