The argument for electric vehicles has largely been that they’re poised to diminish emissions levels to record lows. But over the last five years, they’ve also been smashing a whole host of other records — for distance, acceleration and pure, unadulterated speed.
I can’t sift through my inbox in the A.M. without news of an EV claiming a new 0-60 record for production vehicles, or Tesla beating Tesla at its own game. Case in point: the daredevil duo Jordan Hart and Bradley D’Souza, who recently jetted from Redondo Beach to East 31st Street in New York in a 2015 Tesla Model S in an astonishing 51 hours and 47 minutes later, smashing the Cannonball Runtime for electrics.
For my own edification — and your enjoyment — here’s a brief rundown of all the records EVs have left in the dust over the last five years.
September 2012: Nemesis
An EV breaks the UK land speed mark by
June 2013: Drayson B12 69/EV
The B12 69/EV, a greatly touted “hypercar” from British marque Drayson Racing, reaches a top speed of 204.2 mph on the same Elvington airstrip where The Nemesis made its record run.
October 2014: eVE
Speed is exciting, for certain. But when it comes to EVs, distance is just as key — if not more so. The solar-powered eVe, built by undergrad engineering students from the University of South Wales in Australia, makes a serious name for itself by jetting at an average speed of 66.465 mph for over 310 miles — the fastest electric ride to go that distance.
April 2015: Tesla Model S
Tesla enters the scene, and nothing will ever be the same again. Carl Reese and his fiancée Deena Mastracci take their Model S coast-to-coast in 58 hours and 55 minutes, crushing the time set by Tesla employees themselves. But that wasn’t enough for the couple, who decide to challenge themselves again in a Model S P85D. Mission accomplished: the team bests 3,011 miles in 57 hours and 48 minutes in October.
June 2016: Grimsel
Youth really is the future. Built by Swiss student engineers, the battery-powered Grimsel breaks the EV acceleration record. Knocking nearly a quarter of a second off the previous record — which is like 10+ years of innovation in speed tests — the EV ticks 0-62 mph in just 1.513 seconds. To put that in perspective, the previous record was 1.779 seconds. It also crushes the record for gas-fueled production cars: a Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid from that year could only clock in at 2.2 seconds.
August 2016: Tesla Model S
Tesla’s new Model S P100D comes out the gates hot, claiming a 0-60 of just 2.5 seconds, thus making it the world’s fastest production car. Around the same time, Tesla announces that the car can run 315 miles on a single charge, making it the first EV to top a 300-mile range.
September 2016: Venturi Buckeye
Forget the street for a moment: real records are set in the desert. And for that, there’s no place better to head than the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. The Venturi Buckeye Bullet-3 (or VBB-3), developed and wrenched by engineers from Monaco-based Venturi Automobiles and The Ohio State University, annihilates the EV land-speed record by hitting a two-way average speed of 341 mph. Two electric motors with 1,500 horsepower and 8 lithium-ion batteries tend will do that for you.
September 2016: Tesla Model S
A trio of rally enthusiasts — Alex Roy, Warren “Mr. X” Ahner and Franz Aliquo — set out in a Tesla Model S 90D from Redondo Beach and land in Red Bull’s NYC garage exactly 55 hours later, beating the previous time by 2 hours and 28 minutes.
November 2016: NIO EP9
The first make to come out of Chinese-backed NextEV, the NIO EP9 supercar tears down the lap record at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife, with 7:05.12 on the watch.
July 2016: GXE
Genovation‘s Extreme Electric ride, the GXE, breaks not only its own previous record of 186.6
January 2017: Tesla Model S
Tesla’s Model S P100D sets a new EV quarter-mile record with a 2.389-second acceleration.
February 2017: Tesla Model S
And a month later, using the Ludicrous+ option, Tesla beats their own record with a 2.276-second acceleration.
February 2017: GXE
If there’s one takeaway here, it’s that even being the fastest isn’t fast enough. Back at it again, the GXE reaches a top speed of 209 mph.
March 2017: Tesla Model S
The P100D breaks its own quarter-mile record of 10.723 seconds, shaving it down to 10.638.
May 2017: NIO: EP9
The electric NIO EP9 dusts a Nürburgring lap in 6 minutes 45.90 seconds, inching out the 2009 Radical SR8LM by 2.1 seconds and punishing the closest EV — Toyota's TMG EV P002 — by half of a minute.
June 2017: Tesla Model S
Hi there. It’s me again, your old friend Tesla. Just wanted to let you know I just set a new EV record by going 559.98 miles on a single charge. It took about 24 hours.
The team behind Lucid — one of the longest-touted “Tesla killers” — quite literally decides to push the limits with their Air Alpha Speed EV. Without a speed limiter that could dampen its potential, the illustrious beast lays claim to a top speed of 235 mph.
Where this is going, we’ll most definitely need roads.