Do We Really Want Electric Supercars?

I know I'm not the only one who has started to notice a trend in recent years, but I'm probably among the few that sees this common tendency with a pair of worried eyes.
NIO EP9 models 1 photo
Photo: Next EV
I'm talking about the proliferation of all-electric sports cars, supercars, hypercars or megacars, whatever you want to call them. It's not that I'm against them, or electricity as means of propulsion in general, but I'm positive (pun intended) that we should draw the line at some point.

Arguably, the biggest drawback of electric cars was their appalling range, which was easily beaten by a fat cyclist running on hot dogs until not that long ago. There was no problem regarding performance no matter how much horsepower they had, mainly thanks to that impressive instant torque at zero rpm that electric motors are so good at.

In other words, range anxiety was pretty much the only major quarrel, apart from pricing, that anyone could have when choosing an electric vehicle versus a traditional ICE-powered one.

That said, Tesla decided that offering a decent range and free (up to a point) charging for its lineup wasn't enough, so it also made the Model S and Model X spacious, comfortable and filled them with gizmos. Was that enough? Nope, Elon Musk also decreed that both models should be the fastest accelerating vehicles in their segments, respectively.

“How is this a bad thing?” you may ask with a funny look on your face. Well, it isn't, so I should probably get to the point. The trend I was talking about doesn't revolve around electric family or luxury cars that also happen to have plenty of oomph. No, I'm talking about electric vehicles that have just a few purposes, and those are to go really fast, smash a lot of records and cost a lot of money in the process.

Why do we need them? Sure, we don't actually need supercars generally speaking, but why would anyone born at least two-three decades ago want a supercar that sounds like a nearly silent vacuum cleaner?

Expensive sports cars aren't just about performance, especially since most owners won't drive them exclusively on the track, but about a multitude of spine-tingling sensations, including of the aural kind.

Just look, and especially hear, any car from the Holy Hybrid Hypercar Trinity (HHHT) and you will get what I mean. Despite the tons of R&D money and hours of work by engineers, the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder still have internal combustion engines.

It would have been a lot easier to slap a lot more powerful electric motors and a bigger Li-ion battery instead of a decrepit ICE unit to make them fully electric. They would have probably made them a lot faster as well.

Yeah, something like the recently unveiled and obnoxiously named NIO EP9, or the Rimac Concept One, both of which can out-accelerate most “traditional” supercars out there. Heck, the EP9 is even fast on the track, as its Nurburgring electric record seems to prove.

Are these the type of supercars that tingle your senses? Maybe I'm part of a decreasing minority here, and this is what the world actually wants. I still have my doubts, though. Newcomers in the electric car business shouldn't give us supercars to persuade us to buy electrons, but simply offer a viable alternative to the polluting family car.

Sure, they can make them more comfortable, more practical while also leaving range anxiety behind, but I think they should leave the supercar business to the automakers that have done this before. Those guys and gals know that there's more to an expensive sports car than trivial things like performance or looks. Particularly in an era where performance can be achieved so easily, whether by slapping a pair of turbos on a V8 or by adding an electric motor into the mix.

There will be a time where most cars on the road will use electricity, just leave the old-school supercars alone. It's not like a few thousand of them a year will make a vast difference regarding global emissions.
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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