All posts in “electric”

The Elation Freedom is a 1,414-horsepower electric hypercar

The 2020s seem poised to become a golden age of hypercars, particularly electric ones like those from Rimac and Aspark. Granted, the “hypercar” label is kind of undefinable nonsense, but it persists because mere term “supercar” pales before the stats of this latest wave of road-going machines — both their performance and their lofty prices. The latest hopeful competitor to hit our inbox is the Elation Freedom, a 1,414-horsepower EV.

That power figure, by the way, is with the standard, three-motor configuration. If that’s not quite enough, the company also plans to offer a four-motor version with 1,903 horsepower.

A T-shaped 100kWh structural battery pack within the carbon fiber monocoque chassis feeds those motors and is expected to provide 300 miles of range. An optional 120kWh pack would stretch that to 400 miles. Cascadia Motion, an electric drive company that has developed Formula E motors, is contributing to the Elation powertrain, which includes a single-speed transmission that sends power to the front wheels and a two-speed unit that sends drive to the rear. Interestingly, the company also plans a conventionally powered variant, the Elation Freedom Iconic Collection, that utilizes a 5.2-liter V10 and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission powering all four wheels.

The Elation will be built in northern California, convenient to its presumed customer base of Silicon Valley plutocrats. Founder Carlos Satulovsky and chief technical officer Mauro Satavia Acosta, however, hail from Argentina, where the car is being engineered by a team that is said to have experience in Formula 1 and endurance racing.

According to its maker, the cars are to be hand-built and the company is aiming to start production by the end of 2022. The electric version will cost $2 million, while the Iconic Collection gas model will go for $2.3 million. That’s a considerably sum, but the EV, at least, may be subject to a federal tax credit. Consult your tax advisor. 

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Watch as the $2 million Rimac C_Two drives straight into a wall

Rimac is leveraging the power of software-based simulations to fine-tune the C_Two, but there is no substitute for real-world testing. It released a video that explains how its engineers are ensuring the electric hypercar keeps its occupants safe in an accident, and the work they’re doing to make it street-legal all over the world.

“Simulation of [the metal parts] are at a high level [of accuracy], but composites are an area that’s not very well known. The orientation of each composite part is important, because the materials behave differently in different directions, so it’s not so easy to simulate. We can get some overview of how a part will perform, and after the crash test I can immediately see how close my simulations were,” explained senior CAE engineer Martin Mikulčić.

After strapping in the dummies, Rimac launched the first prototype into a deformable barrier with a 40% offset at 25 mph. It then crashed a second car into the same obstacle at 35 mph. Both tests allowed the company to analyze a wide selection of parameters, including how the seat belts hold up and whether the pedals injure the driver. Petar Marjanović, the Croatian brand’s trim engineer, proudly pointed out the C_Two passed both tests.

Although the two cars look completely totaled, they performed exactly the way Rimac wanted them to. The front end was designed to absorb energy before it reaches the passenger compartment; it’s a giant crumple zone. Marjanović reported no cracks in the central carbon fiber tub, and even the footwells remained solid.

13 prototypes and five pre-series cars will be built in total, and 11 of these will be destroyed. Stuffing prototypes into walls is a horrendously expensive process, but it’s the only way to ensure buyers can register and drive the 1,914-horsepower C_Two regardless of where they live. Rimac admirably chose to certify the car to U.S. safety regulations so that American customers can own and register one normally, rather than apply for a special Show or Display exemption, for example. This painstaking attention to details also illustrates the firm’s commitment to taking on bigger rivals.

Rimac will put the final touches on the C_Two in the coming months, and production is scheduled to begin in 2021. Pricing starts at about $2 million before options enter the equation, and they often do, but the 150 units planned were spoken for about three weeks after the first prototype was shown to the public in 2018. It’ll be a rare sight, though it’ll be a lot more common than the Concept_One, which was limited to eight examples.

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Lotus Evija shown in John Player Special livery at Goodwood SpeedWeek

Goodwood SpeedWeek is here, and Lotus is using the event to highlight the upcoming Evija electric hypercar. Lotus is calling this the car’s “public dynamic debut,” which is relatively true, though the lack of a public audience at Goodwood does put a bit of a damper on the idea.

Regardless, the livery used to wrap the Evija is what truly caught our attention. For those familiar with Lotus racing liveries of the past, you’ll immediately recognize it as a modern take on the John Player Special livery. Lotus even photographed the Evija in this livery sitting next to a few old Formula 1 cars wearing the original John Player Special digs.

Black and gold just looks proper on a Lotus racecar, and it looks absolutely superb on the Evija, too. Since this is technically a dynamic debut, Lotus also gave us a short video that you can check out below.

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The most intriguing part is the audio. Those electric motors are loud. It can’t come close to matching the yowl of a high output gasoline engine, but the Evija is clearly going to make its own dramatic, electric noise. That’s all well and proper, because extra theater is what electric cars typically lack.

In an adjacent news brief, Lotus detailed some of the things it did to save weight. Lotus believes that “Colin Chapman would agree the Evija is 100% a true Lotus.” To make it so, Lotus says the carbon fiber monocoque is extremely light, weighing in at just 284 pounds, contributing to making it the lightest electric hypercar when it comes out (not as though there’s much competition). 

Using holes and free space contributed to the lightweighting efforts, too. The venturi tunnels through each rear haunch both save weight and produce downforce. The center console design and floating dashboard leave tons of empty space behind where weight would accumulate otherwise. Lotus’ crossbeam design for the dash helps it serve as a structural member and also houses the interior ventilation system, combining two elements into one and saving weight.

Lotus says you’ll be able to see the Evija attack the Supercar Run on SpeedWeek, where it will attempt to set a fast lap time against many other new supercars and hypercars.

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Dodge has sold 3 new Vipers so far this year

  • Image Credit: Dodge

Like zombies, these dead cars still sell among the living

Car models come and go, but as revealed by monthly sales data, once a car is discontinued, it doesn’t just disappear instantly. And in the case of some models, vanishing into obscurity can be a slow, tedious process.

That’s the case with the five cars we have here. All of them have been discontinued, but car companies keep racking up “new” sales with them.

There are actually a lot more discontinued cars that are still registering new sales than what we included here. We kept this list to the oldest and most unlikely vehicles still being sold as new, including a couple of supercars.  We’ve ordered the list in order of fewest vehicles sold. Click on the image above to get started.

  • Image Credit: Lexus

2012 Lexus LFA: 1 sale

The first car on this list (which is mostly full of lackluster automobiles) is a supercar: the Lexus LFA. It’s an exhilarating car to drive, and is packed full of interesting technology. Lexus sold a total of 1 LFA coupe so far this year to what we have to guess is a very satisfied customer. By our count, there ought to be 4 more unsold LFAs sitting somewhere on dealer lots in America.

It’s also worth noting that Lexus only sold the LFA for two model years, 2011 and 2012, which means it is by far the oldest new vehicle on this list. It’s also one of the most soul-stirring supercars we’ve ever driven, complete with a V10 engine that revs all the way past 9,000 rpm. Let’s just say we’re jealous of the lone LFA buyer.

Lexus LFA Information

Lexus LFA

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2017 Dodge Viper: 3 sales

Dodge discontinued the rip-roaring Viper after the 2017 model year, but there are still a few left in dealerships around the country. So far this year, Dodge has managed to sell 3 SRT Vipers.

It’s interesting to think that these buyers had the option of driving home in a brand-new mid-engine Corvette, but chose to go in an entirely different direction. Something tells us they won’t be disappointed with its 640-horsepower naturally aspirated V10 engine, even if it’s mounted way out in front of the driver instead of the preferable sportscar location behind the driver.

Dodge Viper Information

Dodge Viper

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2017 Chrysler 200: 3 sales

The Chrysler 200 is actually a pretty nice sedan, with good looks and decent driving dynamics let down by a lack of roominess, particularly in the back seat. Of course, the number of Americans in the market for sedans is rapidly winding down, and other automakers are following Chrysler’s footsteps in canceling their slow-selling four-doors.

Even if Chrysler never really found its footing in the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, apparently dealerships have a few leftover 2017 200s floating around. So far, 3 buyers have decided to sign the dotted line to take one of these aging sedans home.

Chrysler 200 Information

Chrysler 200

  • Image Credit: Buick

2019 Buick LaCrosse

Much has been written about the American shift from sedans to crossovers, and the full-size Buick LaCrosse is one casualty of the times.

Interestingly, Buick sold 1,389 LaCrosse sedans in 2019, its last year of production. That’s certainly not a big number, but it’s not really the worst performance in the dwindling segment. In any case, there are apparently a few still left on lots around the country, because the automaker has recorded 6 total sales so far in 2020.

Buick LaCrosse Information

Buick LaCrosse

  • Image Credit: Chevrolet

2019 Chevrolet Volt: 6 sales

This one stings. We have always been fans of the range-extended plug-in Chevy Volt and the potential it offers to consumers looking to drastically cut their fossil fuel use. In fact, we liked it enough to write a eulogy of sorts.

Sadly, Chevrolet didn’t sell enough Volts to justify keeping it in production. The automaker has sold exactly 6 new Volts so far in 2020.

Chevrolet Volt Information

Chevrolet Volt

Volkswagen may ‘carve out’ Lamborghini to list on the stock exchange

FRANKFURT — Volkswagen is drawing up plans to set up Lamborghini as a more independent unit, and is discussing long-term supply deals that could make it easier to list it on the stock exchange, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

“Volkswagen is in the process of carving out Lamborghini, and to organize future supply and technology transfer deals,” one of the sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Italian sportscar brand, which is currently a division of Audi, could be partially listed, with Volkswagen retaining a controlling stake, the first person familiar with the talks said.

There is no formal decision to divest Lamborghini, a second source said, adding that the timetable of any deal remained unclear.

“This is a first step which gives VW the option to list the unit further down the line,” the second source told Reuters.

A third source familiar with the discussions said the future of Bugatti, Lamborghini and Ducati was discussed during a supervisory board meeting last Friday.

The possibilities for how to electrify the Lamborghini and Bugatti brands through partnerships and investors was discussed, the third source said.

Bankers and potential cornerstone investors in an IPO have been approached by the carmaker, the sources said.

Volkswagen declined to comment.

Volkswagen Group’s Chief Executive Herbert Diess on Wednesday said the carmaker will announce “important steps” about the company’s future before the close of the year.

Volkswagen is reviewing what role its high-performance brands Lamborghini, Bugatti and Ducati will play within the multi-brand carmaker as part of broader quest for more economies of scale, senior executives told Reuters.

A global clampdown on combustion-engined vehicles has forced carmakers to accelerate development of low-emission technology for mainstream models, leaving Volkswagen managers struggling to find resources to electrify low volume sportscar models.

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Lucid Air and Maserati MC20 unveiled | Autoblog Podcast #644

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Associate Editor Byron Hurd. Before they get to the juicy news of the week, they chat about the cars they’ve been driving, including a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Audi A6 Allroad, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Niro. It’s been a busy week in the news department, with GM investing in Nikola, Lucid Motors launching the Air electric sedan, Maserati unveiling the MC20 mid-engined supercar and a farewell to the Lexus GS. Then they talk about having a newfound respect for the Fox Body Mustang and the Mazda CX-9.

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2023 Maserati MC20 Folgore planned with three-motor electric powertrain

Maserati’s first new model of the 2020s, the MC20, strays from the path that’s leading carmakers towards electrified and connected vehicles. The brand is nonetheless headed in this direction, and Autoblog can reveal it’s planning to release a range of battery-powered cars called Folgore, a name which means thunder in Italian.

Developed in-house, the 800-volt Folgore powertrain consists of one electric motor mounted over the front axle, and two electric motors installed over the rear axle. Sandro Bernardini, the man responsible for the second-generation GranTurismo, told us this configuration is not going to be reserved for high-performance, high-end cars. It will be the norm. And, although the rear motors are bolted into a single unit that’s about the size of a modern four-cylinder engine, there is no mechanical connection between them, meaning Maserati’s electric models will benefit from true torque vectoring. Ditching gasoline isn’t an excuse to stop chasing performance.

As we’ve previously reported, Maserati’s first series-produced battery-powered model will be the next GranTurismo, which is tentatively due out in 2021. Motorists who don’t want or need an electric car will be able to order the coupe with a version of the 3.0-liter Nettuno V6 engine that powers the recently-unveiled MC20. Speaking of, the mid-engined coupe will become a mid-motored, zero-emissions coupe a little bit later in its production run. It was developed with both electricity and gasoline in mind from the get-go.

Bernardini couldn’t share concrete technical specifications, but he noted his team is designing the powertrain to achieve maximum range. Engineers notably went to significant lengths to make the motors smaller, lighter, and more efficient, we’re told, and the technology will be compatible with 300-kilowatt fast-charging. While performance details are also under wraps, Autoblog learned the electric version of the MC20 will “absolutely be more powerful” than its 621-horsepower gasoline-burning counterpart. It will be heavier, too, but the power hike will more than make up for the weight gain, and its handling won’t be adversely affected.

Chassis mock-ups confirm the MC20 Folgore will share its basic underpinnings (including its carbon fiber tub and its subframes) with the gasoline-powered model. Its front motor will occupy the space normally reserved for the frunk, while its rear motor will slot neatly between the two wheels. Maserati is putting the lithium-ion battery pack directly behind the firewall for weight distribution reasons; it will be the heaviest part of the car, after all.

Does an electric MC20 need a low-mounted grille, or air vents chiseled into the rear end? Not necessarily.

“Going electric is the next logical step. We are trying to avoid unnecessary air openings and air outlets, in contrast to some of our competitors that seem to depend on them to convey a message. In our case, it’s about the purity of the body. We can further purify the car by reducing the amount of air intakes and air outlets, which will help us tell the design story even better,” explained Maserati head of design Klaus Busse in an interview with Autoblog.

Francesco Tonon, the head of Maserati’s product planning team, told us the MC20 Folgore will make its debut by 2022, and its debut is penciled in after the Spyder-badged convertible model’s. When it arrives, it will join the aforementioned second-generation GranTurismo and a new SUV positioned below the Levante in Maserati’s family of electric models. Production will take place in Modena, Italy, on the same assembly line that began making the gasoline-powered MC20 in September 2020.

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Henrik Fisker interview, and driving the Polestar 2 | Autoblog Podcast #643

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder. They’ve been driving the updated 2021 Honda Odyssey, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and the new Polestar 2 electric sedan. After reviewing those, they talk about how the Chrysler 300 appears to be withering on the vine. Next, they take time to talk to legendary automotive designer and eponymous Chairman & CEO of Fisker Inc., Mr. Henrik Fisker himself, about jeans, horses and, of course, electric cars. Finally, they help a listener pick a $100,000 supercar in the “Spend My Money” segment.

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Driving the McLaren GT, Audi S7 and Vintage Electric Cafe bicycle | Autoblog Podcast #639

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor James Riswick and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. This week, they’ve been having some fun in the McLaren GT and the Toyota 86 GT. James has spent some time with the very lovely Vintage Electric Cafe e-bike. They’ve also been driving the Ford Ranger and Audi S7. In the news, Ford gets new leadership, and Micro Machines are back, baby!

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Lotus Evija’s wild aero setup is detailed by chief aerodynamicist

The Lotus Evija is a car of firsts for Lotus. To that end, the company has spent a lot of time talking over the details. Today, we get to learn about the wild shape’s aerodynamics and what Lotus engineers were trying to accomplish. Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist for Lotus takes a dive into all the details, and the video at the top of this post offers a great visual.

“Most cars have to punch a hole in the air, to get through using brute force, but the Evija is unique because of its porosity,” Hill says. “The car literally ‘breathes’ the air. The front acts like a mouth; it ingests the air, sucks every kilogram of value from it – in this case, the downforce – then exhales it through that dramatic rear end.”

We can see what Hill means as we look at the Evija in photos. Instead of a regular front bumper, this one has pass-throughs that direct the air back into the side of the car. Lotus hasn’t released the all-important coefficient of drag figure yet, but we have to imagine it’s very low. The front splitter (below, left) is responsible for a few different things.

The opening in the center takes in air to cool the battery pack that is mounted behind the seats. Then, the outer section of the splitter channels the air to the “e-axle” for cooling of the electrical components. And finally, it also produces downforce. 

There are a couple more tunnels for air to pass through in the rear. These “holes” are likely the most distinctive design feature, especially when accentuated with the LED taillights. Hill says that these are also fully functional and help to reduce drag.

“They feed the wake rearward to help cut drag,” Hill says. “Think of it this way; without them the Evija would be like a parachute but with them it’s a butterfly net, and they make the car unique in the hypercar world.”

On top of all these porous body structures, there are pieces that move. The rear wing can elevate upward from its flush body position and deploy into clean air above, creating more downforce. And then there’s an F1-style drag reduction system. This uses a horizontal plane that deploys from the car to make it slipperier through air.

The final big piece of this puzzle is the underbody sculpting that directs air into the massive rear diffuser. This causes an upwash of air, in turn creating a massive amount of downforce. Hill sums it up quite nicely.

“It’s about keeping the airflow low and flat at the front and guiding it through the body to emerge high at the rear,” Hill says. “Put simply, it transforms the whole car into an inverted wing to produce that all-important dynamic downforce.”

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GFG Style evolves Giugiaro design in the Bandini Dora and Vision 2030 Desert Raid

Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro, the father-son duo who paired up to create automotive company GFG Style, have been swept up in the wave of the times and gone all-in on electric. In the past four months, GFG Style unveiled three new concept vehicles, all of which use batteries and electric motors for propulsion. The Vision 2030 and Vision 2030 Desert Raid offer new perspectives on off-road-ready supercars, and the Bandini Dora evokes Italian history in a stylish barchetta.

GFG Style started in 2015 and has been hard at work envisioning the future of the automobile. Since opening its doors, the design and consultation firm has crafted seven concept cars, including the Kangaroo, an electric all-terrain supercar that was one of the coolest and most interesting vehicles at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. It seems Fabrizio and Giorgetto couldn’t get the core conceptual nature of the Kangaroo out of their minds, as they debuted another all-terrain EV called the Vision 2030 in November 2019 at the Riyadh Motor Show in Saudi Arabia.

Vision 2030

Pegged as a zero-emission all-wheel-drive hypercar designed for Saudi Arabian roads, the Vision 2030 is named after Saudi Vision 2030, a plan to help the country diversify its core businesses and move away from an independence on oil. “Saudi Arabia asked us to design a model that would perfectly adapt to their region, made up of completely new and decidedly wide roads, but also of deserts with dunes and rough terrains,” Fabrizio said in a press release. Fabrizio continued that the point of the car was a design study in wheels and suspension, which largely dictated the shape of the carbon fiber and aluminum car.

To accommodate the multiple types of terrain, the car’s suspension automatically adjusts based on driving conditions. The Vision 2030 also offers three driving modes, Race, Road and Off-Road, which change the ground clearance between 5.5 to 8.7 inches. Inside, six different digital screens ensure the car is properly connected and the driver is properly informed.

GFG Style says the two-seater Vision 2030 has a 90-kWh battery pack and a single-charge electric range of more than 280 miles. It makes a claimed 510 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-62-mph sprint in 3.8 seconds. 

Vision 2030 Desert Raid

The Desert Raid is one of two concepts that were originally intended to debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show before it was canceled due to precautions surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. As indicated by the name, the Desert Raid is an alternate variation of the Vision 2030. GFG Style says the Desert Raid underlines “the true capacity of this project: not to become a hypercar but a hyperSUV.” 

The Desert Raid has the same battery, power, and general performance specifications as the Vision 2030, as they share the same electric powertrain setup. The bodywork, save for the rear, is also the same, but small tweaks make this vehicle specialized for off-roading. Whereas the Vision 2030 had multiple driving modes, this version only has one setup skewed toward handling rough terrain. Thus, it remains at 8.7 inches of ground clearance at all times. It also has a wider track, smaller wheels, new carbon fiber mudguards, and a visible spare tire integrated into the top rear portion of the car. 

Bandini Dora

The second prototype meant for Geneva is the Bandini Dora. Like the other prototypes, it has a space frame aluminum chassis, carbon fiber bodywork, and a 90-kWh battery pack that provides a claimed range of more than 280 miles per full charge. Compared to the Vision 2030 cars, however, the Dora is slightly more amped up. Two electric motors, one on each axle, account for 536 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with all-wheel drive, the Dora has a claimed 0-62-mph time of 3.3 seconds.

Riding on 21-inch wheels, the Dora is the work of a collaboration with Bandini, an Italian manufacturer founded by Ilario Bandini that originally ran from 1946 until 1992. The company was resurrected as Bandini Automobili s.r.l, thanks to Ilario’s great grandson Michele, and this car is meant to be an ode to Bandini barchetta race cars of decades past. GFG Style’s Geneva stand was planned to include a Bandini 750 Sport Internazionale from the Mille Miglia Museum.

The Bandini Dora is an open-top two-seater, but its clever design is unlike anything of the past or present. Look closely, and the lines reveal that the windshield and encapsulated cockpit are entirely separate from the car’s roof arches. This was the result of blending old design with new safety standards.

“Today, it is difficult to conceive a Barchetta without considering the evolution there has been in the car concerning safety,” Giugiaro was quoted in the press release. “Inspired by the Halo of Formula One, we thought about creating a car that had a clean windshield as it used to be used with no reinforcements, thus being as linear and light as possible. To solve this need, I thought of an out-and-out superstructure that would integrate into the style with an accentuated structural and protective function for both the driver and passenger.” 

To properly appreciate the affect this design has on the car, it must be looked at from all angles. The prominent lines extends from the front bumper, curve over the front wheels, and swoop inward toward the rear to become part of the active aerodynamics. Because they don’t connect with the glass at any point, they creates all types of negative spaces, intersections, and design features that you just don’t see on normal cars. From the front, it almost looks as if one car has overtaken another car that lives beneath it.

For now, all three vehicles are just prototypes. The video below shows a press conference in which GFG Style announced the new designs.

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The Apex AP-0 is a 649-hp EV that weighs 2,645 pounds

Apex Motors sounds like a brand new name in the game, but the Hong-Kong-based company’s been around for more a few years and through a few transformations. In 2015 a maverick outfit of car designers banded together under the name Elemental to reveal the RP1, powered by 1.0-liter and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines. By 2017, the 1,278-pound coupe could produce 2,205 pounds of downforce and was running Goodwood. By 2019, the Elemental RP1 had turned into the even-more-evolved Apex AP1, putting out 400 hp from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and blitzing from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds.

The brand new AP-0 is the follow-up. As the naming scheme suggests, it takes the top spot in the lineup ahead of the AP-1 by having battery-electric power, a single electric motor turning the rear axles with 649-hp and 427 pound-feet of torque, a 320-mile range on the WLTP cycle, and a 0-60 time of 2.3 seconds. Top speed is 190 mph.

Just as remarkable, and even more unusual for an EV, the whole package weighs 2,645 pounds. Compared to a McLaren 720S, the AP-0 is 4.5 inches shorter but 3.4 inches wider, and while the Apex gives up 61 hp and 131 lb-ft to the Englishman, the AP-0 weighs almost 500 pounds less than the 720S. Compared to performance EVs, the Apex weighs about 1,380 pounds less than a Tesla Model 3 Performance, 1,700 pounds less than a Rimac Concept 2, and almost 2,500 pounds less than a Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

The Apex packs a floor-mounted, 90-kWh lithium-ion battery that consumes 1,213 pounds of its curb weight. When plugged into the right CCS charger, the pack can refill 80% of its charge in 15 minutes; on a standard Type 2 charger, filling up from empty takes eight hours.

The chassis and bodywork is entirely carbon fiber, a central carbon tub and modular spaceframes laid on a rigid carbon spine connect the front to the rear. Outside, the Le Mans-like fin houses a retractable LIDAR system up front and a cross-shaped taillight in back. Built as a road-legal racer for gearheads and sitting just 3.7 inches off the ground, there’s an adjustable pushrod suspension with automatic ride-height adjustment, 14-inch carbon ceramic rotors with six-piston calipers in front and four-piston in the rear, and a pair of 19-inch center-lock wheels up front paired with 20-inchers in back. 

Behind gullwing doors, the carbon, aluminum, and leather interior makes every occupant feel like a racer with a single-seater-style, reclined and feet-up seating position. Three displays for the driver sit atop the instrument panel behind a square steering wheel. To help drivers make the most of track days, Apex says the AP-0 can “gamify the way drivers can learn new racetracks and deliver the ultimate immersive racing experience” through augmented reality projection. The software-based “instructor” can be improved through over-the-air updates. To ensure the instructor knows what it’s talking about, Apex said it wants to build an FIA-approved race track, followed by a racing academy, around its Hong Kong HQ. 

The ambitions only begin there. When off the track, that LIDAR unit is intended to provide Level 3 autonomous capability at launch, with the company saying Level 4 potential is already built in. More handily, the AP-0 will come with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. That’s all down the way, though, the AP-0 not scheduled to enter production until the latter half of 2022, costing around $195,000 for U.S. buyers. If all goes well from here to there, Apex plans to build up to 500 units per year in Britain, what it calls its second home, on the way to introducing a wider lineup of offerings.

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Roland Gumpert Nathalie is a methanol fuel-cell supercar because why not

Roland Gumpert launched his Apollo more than 10 years ago, eventually losing his fearsome coupe to insolvency and Consolidated Ideal TeamVentures. Gumpert, however, was working on more models, one of them called the Explosion, shown in Geneva in 2014. Based on looks and power specs, our best guess is that Gumpert took the Explosion with him into a new partnership with Chinese automaker Aiways, which owns the carmaker now known as Roland Gumpert, and slowly turned it into the Nathalie supercar meant for debut at this year’s ill-fated Geneva show. Gone is the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with 420-horsepower. In its place, a methanol-fueled powertrain that combines a fuel cell, a buffer battery, and four electric motors. Combined capacity of methanol, fuel cell, and battery is 178 kWh, combined system output tallying 536 hp and more than 730 pound-feet of torque.

It starts with a 17.2-gallon tank that holds the methanol, which takes three minutes to fill. In a process that reverses the laboratory creation of methanol, the alcohol is heated to between 572 and 752 degrees Fahrenheit, separating the liquid into carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The hydrogen gets sent to a 15-kW fuel cell to produce electricity, which is not sent to the battery, but straight to the electric motors located at each wheel, those four motors coordinated by two, two-speed gearboxes. All that chicanery is said to propel the 14-foot-long coupe from standstill to 62 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds, on to a top speed of 190 miles per hour, and a range of 510 miles at 75 miles per hour. When driven in Eco mode, range extends to about 745 miles.

The Nathalie looks mild on the outside, like some JDM-only coupe found in Gran Turismo that spent a little time in the tuning shop getting a huge wing. Yet the Nathalie’s made of supercar build techniques — a chromoly tube chassis overlaid with a skin made of flax and carbon composites for light weight, plus a full FIA roll cage behind the cabin seats. The doors open in the scissor fashion Lamborghini has made famous. A McPherson front suspension and double wishbone rear handle the dynamism. The front brakes are enormous, and so are the rears. Thin lights front and rear, large intakes, and conspicuous ground effects complete the look. The Nathalie’s lines can be seen in another product from Aiways, the U6ion concept (traditional) electric crossover coupe also intended for debut in Geneva, both breathed on by Aiways lead designer Ken Okuyama, who penned the Ferrari Enzo and led Pininfarina design for a spell.

RG will build 500 of the Nathalie, which includes a small number of the First Edition example shown, with deliveries scheduled to begin next year. Each one will run €407,000 ($455,000 U.S.) before taxes. Where is an owner expected to get methanol if he doesn’t live near a race track or commercial depot? Gumpert said, “An overnight delivery service has been installed for the exclusive customer base for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and is currently being expanded throughout Europe. The North America and Middle East regions are also currently being developed.” What’s more, RG will pay for the methanol supply for the first year after delivery.

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Pikes Peak Hill Climb Record | Behind the Wheel S02 // E09

“Behind the Wheel” is a video series that shows you a bit of what it’s like to work at Autoblog. The editors and video producers will show you the cars we have in our fleet, and you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the personalities who help make the site run. 

In this episode, Senior Producer Christopher McGraw packed up his bags, got in the car and moved out to the fantastic state of Colorado. After getting settled in the mountains, his first assignment was to cover VW’s attempt at setting the course record for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. What followed was one of his favorite days on the job.

Where are you traveling to in 2020? We’d love to hear from you, so please comment below!

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Watch Chris Harris in the electric VW ID.R waste a McLaren 720S

The Volkswagen ID.R doesn’t have much in common with a McLaren 720S, other than the fact that they are both performance-crazed cars. One gets its power from batteries, the other from gas. One uses electric motors, the other a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. One is a halo prototype vehicle, the other is a road-legal supercar available for purchase. So when Chris Harris and “Top Gear decided to “race” the two against each other, it was more of a demonstration of the VW’s unreal capabilities than any sort of real competitive faceoff.

In episode five of Top Gear‘s 28th season, which just aired February 23, the trio of Harris, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness welcomed Youtuber KSI on the show and ventured out on a luxury sports car road trip with an Aston Martin, Porsche, and Ferrari. Separately, Harris took to the track to test out Volkswagen’s golden egg of the moment, the ID.R.

As VW fully launches into its electric-vehicle push, the ID.R is meant to exhibit what battery-electric technology is capable of. With two electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear axle, the 2,425-pound ID.R has four-wheel drive and makes a claimed 670 horsepower. As Harris notes in the video, the ID.R. was not built for a specific regulation-bogged racing organization or competition, and thus, it’s only held back by the rules of Mother Nature and Father Physics. Since the car’s debut, it has been annihilating records around the world, including at Pike’s Peak, Goodwood, the Nürburgring, and Heaven’s Gate.

Chris Harris didn’t set any records in the ID.R., but he certainly showed how outrageous this machine is. The 710-horsepower 720S can go from zero mph to 62 mph in less than three seconds, and the ID.R has a sizable lead within that same time. Again, this wasn’t an instance of test-and-conclude, it was a show of perspective. The ID.R is a race car, so even though the 720S is one of the best supercars in the world, it never stood a chance. See for yourself above.

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Watch Rimac test the C_Two’s active aerodynamics on track

The founder of electric sports car builder Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac, when not helping create new cars, creates YouTube series about those cars. They include series such as Discover Rimac Today and Mondays with Mate. One of the more intriguing series is the documentary-style look at the C_Two electric supercar‘s ongoing development, and the latest episode shows two C_Two prototypes testing new upgraded suspension and active aerodynamics as part of testing announced back in December

The two vehicles seen sharpening their senses at the Automotodrom Grobnik track outside Rijeka, Croatia, look similar but have significant differences underneath. One has an old suspension setup and no active aerodynamic technology, while the other has an upgraded and improved suspension and Rimac’s full active aero kit. The most noticeable feature of the system is the rear wing that moves up and down. Meanwhile, hearing the cars whir about is fascinating in its own right.

If you’re craving more footage of the C_Two, Rimac has you covered. The EV builder has captured the car’s aerodynamic wind tunnel testing, the crash testing, as well as the computational methods used throughout the process.

When the C_Two finally launches, it will immediately become one of the most advanced vehicles on the market. At its conceptual debut in 2018, Rimac claimed the C_Two would have four electric motors at each wheel and would be powered by a 120-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. In total, the C_Two is said to make 1,888 horsepower and 1,696 lb-ft of torque, and it still claimed 404 miles of range on a single charge (by the New European Driving Cycle standards). The four-digit power pushes the car from zero mph to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, down a quarter-mile in 9.1 seconds, and all the way up to a 258-mph top speed. Only 150 examples of the car will be produced.

Lotus Evija EV supercar is charging toward series production

It’s almost time for Lotus to begin production of real Evijas bound for customers, but first, it must go through its final round of testing. To accomplish this task, Lotus had to prep its brand-new production facility to build the final prototypes. New photos and video give a glimpse of what the Lotus assembly hall looks like. 

The Evija, which means “the first in existence,” is an all-electric supercar that Lotus hopes will be the most powerful production road car ever made. The supercar uses electric motors for four-wheel drive with torque vectoring and has a battery pack rated at 70kWh. Lotus claims it has 1,973 horsepower and 1,254 lb-ft of torque, can go zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds, can do zero to 186 mph in less than nine seconds, and has a top speed of 200 mph. All of that, with a weight of 3,704 pounds. 

Possibly more impressive are the claimed battery stats. The Evija, which is the first Lotus developed with new majority shareholder Geely, can supposedly fully charge in less than 10 minutes and has a range of 250 miles. With a 350-kW charger, it’ll fill up in 18 minutes.

Lotus says the Evija has been an extremely collaborative effort, as 20 specialist contractors and 50 experts have been on site for the past six months. They’ve been hard at work in the new facility, which is located next to the 2.2-mile Hethel circuit in Hethel, in Norfolk, U.K. Check out the new state-of-the-art light tunnel, the vehicle lifts, the gantry crane, and more above and below.

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Lister Storm II hypercar teased, with a switch from V12 to electric

Two years ago, the revamped Lister Motor Company dished out sketches for a Storm II hypercar. The name was a nod to the 1993 Le Mans race car and road derivative created by another incarnation of Lister in 1993, which housed a Jaguar XJR-9-derived 7.0-liter V12 amidships producing 546 horsepower. The tentative plan in 2018 was for the Storm II to get a Jaguar-derived 7.8-liter V12 spooling up something like 1,000 horsepower and pointing its snout at the likes of McLaren, Pagani, and Koenigsegg. That was all so two years ago, though. Lister CEO Lawrence Whittaker recently tweeted another image of the Storm II, this time a profile drawing, with the captions, “A glimpse into the future of Lister … the Storm II,” and, “Lister EV super car research.” The EV part is what matters here, Whittaker apparently changing tack on the powertrain and the competitive set.

The side shot offers a look at the vanishing point rear end, a look calling to mind either a truncated McLaren Speedtail, or Speed Racer’s Mach 5 with the fender fins combined into a single shark fin down the centerline. Our best attempts to enhance and enlarge make it seem there’s a deployable spoiler behind the shark fin. The backside’s other big prominent feature is a deep diffuser. In the photo, the carbon fiber floor extends beyond the trailing edge of the bodywork, almost never seen on a car outside of a race track, and even then that car is most likely on a trailer. That makes symmetry, the carbon fiber front splitter jutting beyond the yellow-rimmed intake at the other end.

Original specs were for the V12-powered Storm II to hit 60 miles per hour in under 3 seconds, on its way to a top speed beyond 250 miles per hour, all for a price starting at £2 million ($2.6M U.S.). Lister’s hometown competition, the Lotus Evija, has restrained its top speed references to something “beyond 200 mph,” and the just-announced Apex “hyper-EV” runs out at 174 mph. The Rimac C-Two and Pininfarina Battista, though, have proved Lister’s trio of targets achievable with far less aggressive looks. We won’t be surprised if Lister has a terminal velocity in mind well beyond the Rimac’s 258 mph.

We hope Lister can show us something more than another rendering come 2022. For now, the company seems busy building the F-Type-based LFT and F-Pace-based LCP, various versions of the continuation Lister Knobbly race cars, and selling classic and performance cars out of its new dealership in Blackburn, England.

Production Rimac C_Two coming next year in Geneva, with prototypes testing now

Rimac likes to make sure we don’t forget about them. The company consistently shares intriguing bites of news with us, like behind the scenes aero development or crash tests for its upcoming $2.1 million electric hypercar. Rimac is doing the same today, as it announced that Rimac C_Two prototype testing is beginning at various tracks and testing facilities. This will be followed by a pre-production phase starting in early 2020.

Rimac says it’s going to make 17 prototype vehicles in total. As of now, Rimac has plans to produce and sell 150 C_Twos, so 17 separate cars for testing purposes is a significant amount. As one would expect, each of the prototypes will be made with different testing purposes in mind. For example, Rimac says one will be tortured in chassis rigidity testing, while another will be used for high-performance autonomous driving development.

The final production version of the C_Two is set to be unveiled at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, where Rimac will give the car a proper name — C_Two has only been a placeholder. Rimac went on to say that the production car will differ from the concepts we’ve seen in 2018 and 2019 “with improvements in design, ergonomics and performance.” Customer deliveries are scheduled to begin at the end of 2020.

The predicted power figures are still the same as before, as Rimac claims the C_Two will make 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 pound-feet of torque from its four electric motors.

Rimac CEO rules out SUVs, says brand will stay focused on supercars

It sometimes seems as if the entire automotive world is consigned to a future of nothing but high-riding sport utility vehicles, even among brands known for high-end sports cars. Porsche long ago gave into the craze with the Cayenne, Lamborghini has given us the Urus, we just saw Aston Martin unveil the DBX, and Ferrari has its own plans for a lifted performance family hauler. But Croatian electric vehicle maker Rimac Automobili is signaling that it’s not going down that road.

CEO and founder Mate Rimac spoke with Top Gear about plans for future models, telling the site, “We ourselves? No. We will not do a performance SUV. For sure.” He told the site he understood why automakers like Aston give in to the SUV craze, but insists Rimac will remain focused on two-seat supercars with innovative features in areas of aerodynamics and weight. “But I don’t want to make SUVs or stuff like that,” he added for good measure.

For now, Rimac has been working on homologating the C_Two, a limited-edition, 1,914-horsepower battery-electric supercar that it unveiled in 2018 in Geneva. It’s powered by four electric motors that draw from a 120-kilowatt-hour battery pack, boasts a range of 404 miles on the generous NEDC cycle, a top speed of 258 mph and adds 1,969 pound-feet of torque to the mix.

Production is set to start next year, capped at 150 examples, which have long been sold out at a base price of around $2.1 million. We’ll reportedly see the production version in March at the Geneva Motor Show.