All posts in “electric”

Here’s the first Pininfarina Battista customer car

Pininfarina continues its slow drip of news about the electric Battista hypercar today with details about the personalization program and photos of the first Battista commissioned.

Above, you can see the Battista in question. Pininfarina didn’t reveal who the client was, but did say that the car’s appearance is “inspired by New York City.” The dominating exterior element is carbon fiber done in Iconica Blu thread. The carbon fiber is black, of course, but Pininfarina uses the Iconica Blu thread in it to make the car appear blue. It’s a rather dark shade of blue, but you can easily see the black carbon fiber weave underneath the paint, providing an extra pop. It drifts heavily into the ‘Murica theme with the red “Exterior Jewellery Pack” adorning the windows and side sills. Plus it also has hand-painted white stripes, adding some sparkle to the exterior. Pininfarina says the white paint for those stripes is named Bianco Sestiere Metallic.

The wheels are done in Dark Matt Grey and have a black center-lock ring to match the roof, rear diffuser and wing. Its final touch is a light-up Pininfarina logo in front made of brushed and polished anodized aluminum. Just like the owner of this Battista, anybody who orders one will get to personalize it from nose to tail. Pininfarina says its customization program allows for a total of 128 million combinations, so there shouldn’t be any Battistas that are exactly alike. You’ll choose from numerous paint finishes, carbon fiber bodywork, different exterior trims and so on.

Pininfarina didn’t show photos of this car’s interior, but it says the car will have black leather upholstery with Iconica Blu Alcantara inserts to match the exterior’s blue-and-black combo. Iconica Blu stitching is matched with more red and white stitching. Plus, it gets white seatbelts and the same Iconica Blu thread on the back of the carbon fiber seats. 

There are very few stones left unturned — even the chassis plate engravings can be customized to whatever you’d like. Only 150 Battistas will ever be built, says Pininfarina, and every single one of them will have the owner go through a customization process that puts them at the actual location of production — the Cambiano facility — to make all of their build decisions.

Related video:

Everrati and Superformance team up to build an all-electric GT40

Britain’s Everrati and America’s Superformance are teaming up to build all-electric continuation models of the iconic GT40 race car. Everrati, which has developed electric overhauls for the Porsche 911 (964), Land Rover Series IIA and Mercedes-Benz SL Pagoda, will take the lead on the powertrain, with Superformance supplying the body. 

Superformance’s licensed replicas may conjure images of America challenging the best from Italy at Le Mans, but that was a trans-Atlantic effort as well; the body for the original was built in Coventry. The roles may be reversed, but the pairing is as old as the idea of dethroning Enzo Ferrari. 

“The Everrati and Superformance partnership will allow enthusiasts to drive an electric-powered GT40, with development of this first model already underway,” the two said in their announcement. “A prototype chassis has been built and is being comprehensively adapted from ICE power to advanced electric propulsion at Everrati’s UK development centre in Upper Heyford, a former U.S. air base in the English Cotswolds.”

Neither provided any details regarding the GT40’s potential powertrain or its ultimate performance, but Superformance has pretty much always left such things up to the end customer, letting them choose from existing vintage and modern powertrains for its licensed replicas. There likely won’t be as many options for the electric GT40, but we sincerely doubt it will be a one-size-fits-all setup. Stay tuned. 

Related video:

Rimac inks deal to purchase 55% of Bugatti from VW Group

ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatian electric supercar builder Rimac is taking over the iconic French manufacturer Bugatti in a deal that is reported to be worth millions of euros.

Rimac said Germany’s Volkswagen Group, including the Porsche division — which owns a majority stake in Bugatti — plans to create a new joint venture. The new company will be called Bugatti-Rimac.

Rimac Automobili announced Monday that it will be combining forces with Bugatti to “create a new automotive and technological powerhouse.”

Rimac has progressed in 10 years from a one-man garage startup to a successful company that produces electric supercars. Mate Rimac, who founded the company in 2009, says the venture is an “exciting moment” and calls the combination of the companies “a perfect match for each other.”

Porsche will own 45% of Bugatti-Rimac while Rimac Automobili will hold the remaining 55% stake, according to Croatian media reports. Financial details of the deal were not published.

Bugattis will continue to be assembled in eastern France, where the company was established in 1909. The vehicles will use engines developed and made in Croatia.

“In an industry evolving at ever-increasing speed, flexibility, innovation and sustainability remain at the very core of Rimac’s operations,” the company said. “Uniting Rimac’s technical expertise and lean operations with Bugatti’s 110-year heritage of design and engineering prowess represents a fusion of leading automotive minds.”

Audi Quattro Inspired E-Legend EL1 Boasts Over 800HP

A new EV startup out of Germany has just answered the prayers of all 1980s rally fans – sort of… E-Legend has just unveiled the all-new, all-electric, EL1. The boxy-looking EV gained its styling cues from the 80s Audi Sport Quattro and we think they nailed it. 

E-Legend-EL1

But the EL1 isn’t just about cool looks, the EL1 comes to the party packing a 90kWh battery in its 800V system – the same setup found in the Porsche Taycan. Weighing in at only 1680Kg, the EL1’s 805bhp electric powerplant sends it to 60mph in only 2.8 seconds and giving it a top speed of 158mph. 

With a claimed range of 248 miles (400km) on a full charge, the EL1 comes with a Sport Plus mode, three-way adjustable suspension, and a spoiler to keep the little EV monster planted on the track. 

E-Legend-EL1 Front

According to DriveTribe, the EL1’s interior is unfinished at the moment but is said to come with all of the creature comforts we expect in most production vehicles such as air conditioning, rearview camera, and a multimedia package. 

So what will an 800 horsepower electric remake of an 80s legend cost you? Well, about a million dollars or 890K euros. Should you decide to fork out the dough, just know that only 30 examples are being produced. If you don’t get your hands on an EL1, an EL2 (based on the  Lancia Stratos HF) and EL3 (base unknown) will be coming soon. 

Rimac reportedly planning stock IPO as it draws closer to Bugatti

FRANKFURT — Croatian electric hypercar maker Rimac is exploring several options for its future, a spokesperson for the group said in response to a report outlining plans for an initial public offering next year.

Germany’s Manager Magazin reported that Rimac, in which Volkswagen’s Porsche unit owns a 24% stake, was planning an IPO in 2022 at a valuation of 5 billion euros ($6.1 billion), without disclosing where it obtained the information.

“As for going public, we’re considering different options, but it hasn’t been decided which direction we’ll go in,” the Rimac spokesperson said.

Rimac has developed an electric supercar platform which it supplies to other carmakers, including Automobili Pininfarina.

It is currently working on a strategic partnership with Volkswagen unit Bugatti, which will likely result in a joint venture between Porsche and Rimac, with Porsche as a minority partner, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in March.

“The future of Bugatti is an issue that will be decided on a group level,” Porsche said in a statement, declining to comment further.

Porsche boss Oliver Blume earlier this year said intense discussions on Bugatti’s future were ongoing and that Rimac could play a role as the brands were a good technological fit, adding that a decision was expected in the first half of 2021.

Earlier this month, Rimac revealed the 1,914-horsepower Rimac Nevera.

Related video:

2022 Rimac Nevera: An In-depth Look

Introduction

At this very moment in time, if any of us were asked to write down a list of countries renown for producing supercars (or hypercars), it would likely turn out to be a redundant exercise. After all, almost everyone would come up with essentially the same answers; surely you’d have Italian stalwarts – Ferrari and Lamborghini – in the mix along with Porsche, McLaren and Bugatti. Fewer would make an argument for the more mainstream brands to be included, with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and heck, even Nissan, all proving in recent times that they too possess the wizardry to create some of the best performing automobiles on the planet. An even smaller (and more gear-headed) group than that, would not let us forget about “boutique” automakers such as Koenigsegg, Pagani and Hennessey.

Rimac Automobili

Ladies and gentlemen, all of that is about to change; here enters a new challenger whom hails from Croatia. The company known as Rimac Automobili – founded by its namesake, Mate Rimac – is a relatively small hypercar producer based in the Western Balkans. With a population of just 4 million people and no history of whatsoever when it comes to automobile production, Rimac is a bit of an enigma. However, the country is no stranger to seemingly improbable events. Not many people are aware, but Nikola Tesla – one of main the pioneers of electricity as we know it – also came from this part of the world.

To what degree this fact has influenced Mate Rimac and his company to focus on exclusively producing electric vehicles is up for debate, but this whole story is at the very least, a serendipitous one. Ironically, this could also give Rimac a more legitimate claim to commercializing the name of “Tesla”, though it doesn’t appear that Mr. Rimac is too concerned about getting into a bureaucratic joust with Elon Musk. Declaring war on who can produce a better electric car, though? Game. On.

Rimac has actually been around since 2009, and only recently showcased its first finished product to the world (much more on that below). Prior to this, the company has been hard at work perfecting their new electric hypercar and had unveiled two concept cars along the way – first the C_One, followed by the more production-ready C_Two. These were by no means audacious or far-fetched prototypes produced to generate little more than some fanfare and a few deposits from the wallets of billionaire prospective owners.

They were a solid, working proof of concept that showed Rimac was on to something – something game-changing. Even the old boys club took notice, with the likes of Porsche – who recently increased their stake in the company – and Hyundai pouring significant investment into Rimac. This alone tells us how important Rimac’s work is (and will be) to the broader automotive landscape, and is not just a one-off glamour project like so many other cars produced by smaller automakers. There’s no doubt that the R&D – particularly as it pertains to battery technology – from this project is being shared with the big guns, in exchange for their funding.

Nevera

Yeah, so naming your car the ‘Nevera’ is a bit of a weird one to English speakers. In fact, it’s an ominous (if not humorous) name which beckons any variation of “dad joke” in the essence of “2.4 million dollars!? I Nevera liked electric cars anyway!” It also has the potential to be cannon fodder for Tesla’s occasionally combative (i.e. Elon Musk tweets) marketing strategy. Pun vulnerabilities aside, understanding the origins of the name will help things make a lot more sense; the Nevera is named after an electrically-charged storm which often occurs on Croatia’s Mediterranean coastal line.

Rightfully so, as the Rimac Nevera is powered by four electric motors and has already proven itself to be a world-beater – and not to a detriment to the world itself (quite the opposite actually). Living up to its name, the zero emissions hypercar has certainly created a storm by repeatedly humiliating the Ferrari SF90 in a drag race and setting new production car records in the process. ‘Nevera’ is for the most part, just the new official name for the C_Two rather than a vastly more superior variant of it, although production versions will be delivered with some final tweaks and refinements.

As an automotive outfit Rimac might be small on scale, but it is the complete opposite when it comes to its impact. This car is going to redefine the hypercar, which to this point, has already been redefining what an automobile could and should ought to be. Limited to a production run of only 150 units, the Rimac Nevera is the next and most obvious step forward in this evolution. If you’re clinging to any reservations you might have about a future with EVs, the Nevera is here to put an end to that.

Performance & EV Drivetrain

Although it is not the first EV to be powered by 4 permanent magnet electric motors, the Rimac Nevera does come with its own unique electric drivetrain design. By strategically placing a pair of 200 kW electric motors in front and another two 500 kW electric motors in the rear, the engineers were able to give the rear-biased Nevera an ideal 48:52 (front:rear) weight distribution. However, a deeper inspection reveals more intricacies in the design, as the planetary gears for each of the 4 wheels are purposed in such a way that the Nevera is also optimally balanced from left to right as well. Genius.

It’s probably a good thing that this Rimac was built with a predisposition to exhibit ballet-like agility, because it’s going to need all the grace in the world to tame all that’s brewing within. In combination, all of the 4 electric motors can generate up to 1,914 hp (1.4 mW) and 1,740 lb-ft of torque (2,360 Nm). This allows the Nevera to absolutely annihilate the popular 0-60 mph benchmark in just 1.85 seconds, with an equally impressive 1/4 mile time of just 8.6 seconds – good enough to make it the fastest production vehicle ever made, by some margin. Top speed is stated as 258 mph (412 km/h).

Amongst a variety of systems marshalled by its supercomputer of an ECU, is an incredibly advanced torque vectoring system which is responsible for distributing power to the wheels in both a safe and performance-optimized manner. The Nevera is equipped with a pair of single-speed gearboxes; one located at the front, the other in the rear.

Battery & Range

No matter how insanely quick this car is, it would actually account for very little if its battery range made the driving/owning experience more of a novelty, rather than one with some semblance of practicality. I mean, what use would 1,914 hp be if you had to break a sweat about whether you’d manage a round-trip to the Whole Foods 5 mins away on a full charge? Thankfully, these fears should be put to bed almost as quickly as the Nevera can do 0-60 mph, with Rimac claiming an impressive range of 340 miles (550 km) WLTP. 

Now, don’t expect this type of range if you’re regularly hooning the car around town or on the race track. Regardless, for a car of this nature, it’s still more than most people would’ve expected. How does it manage this feat? Well for one, the Nevera is equipped with a massive 6,960-cell 120 kWh battery which sits low (in an ‘H’ shape) under the car’s flooring. This battery architecture was all designed and built in-house by Rimac – and if it sounds familiar, that’s because the Porsche Taycan uses the same design, which it also derived from Rimac.

Chassis

The Rimac Nevera tips the scales at around 2,150 kg, so while it’s not necessarily heavy for an EV, it’s certainly a bit stout compared to the typical supercar or hypercar. In otherwise normal circumstances, that would make the Nevera’s large frame more burdensome to accelerate, difficult to slow down and a chore handle. But it’s pretty clear that the Nevera is no ordinary automobile and it demonstrates exactly none of the aforementioned shortcomings. Despite the extra weight to lug around, the Nevera’s drivetrain and battery design contribute to a 48:52 front-to-rear weight distribution, which is at least on par with contemporary hypercars. Like other EVs on the market, it too benefits from having much of its weight sit near the ground and inherently possessing a low center of gravity.

In terms of good ol’ nuts, bolts and sheet metal (oh, and carbon fiber), the Rimac Nevera is also as advanced as things can get in that area.  The chassis is made entirely of carbon fiber, which Rimac claims, makes it the most rigid production car ever made. They’ve gone on to specifically state that it is about twice as solid as a Lamborghini Aventador; at this point, it would be a big ask to doubt them on this, especially when considering that it features a bonded roof, integrated battery housing and rear subframe as part of the design.

As for braking, the Nevera is equipped with massive 390 mm Brembo carbon-ceramic brake discs and 6-pot calipers. Per standard EV functionality, the hypercar also benefits from regenerative braking (which, surprise, surprise, Rimac also claims is the most effective of its kind). This not only equates to greater stopping power, but also a higher level of battery charge being restored from braking. An electro-hydraulic brake booster simulates the undulations of a more traditional braking system to give drivers all the feedback they need with regards to when to brake, and how much pedal force is required. Rimac has also stated that the forces from regenerative braking alone, are sufficient enough for “one-pedal driving” in most normal driving circumstances, though I’d suggest refraining from using this technique for anything other than demonstrative purposes.

Control Systems

We understand that the Nevera’s main ECU is actually comprised of 77 smaller computers which are programed to obey millions of lines of code. It’s responsible for controlling anything ranging from torque vectoring to active aerodynamics, and even self-driving capabilities. The Nevera also comes with a number of driving modes. Range and Comfort mode are probably what you’d be using for civil excursions around town, while Track and Drift mode are pretty self-explanatory – particularly when it comes to how soon you’ll need to throw on a new set of tires. There are also 2 Custom modes which will allow drivers to punch-in more individualized settings, while Sport mode would probably be the most centrist on the presets spectrum.

The aforementioned torque vectoring system has a special name: Rimac All-Wheel Torque Vectoring. R-AWTV is able to process 100 calculations per second, which ultimately allows the system to be both extremely predictive and responsive in its adjustments. This translates to an optimal cohesion of safety, comfort and handling precision, regardless of whether the car is being driven at the limits on the race track, or well within its potential on the city streets. Steering is also fully assisted, by an electric motor, fittingly. While not necessarily the most natural nor analog feeling steering system you’ll put your hands on, it is perfectly harmonized with the Nevera’s overall drivetrain and chassis setup. Each driving mode provides a different level of “involvement” in this regard.

Rimac is working on an “AI Driving Coach” program, which should be ready before the first examples roll off the production line. This system uses, as its name implies, an artificial intelligence which guides drivers while they’re on a race track. Using visual and audio aids, the AI will give drivers real-time tips on how to improve their lap times. An “augmented-reality” racing line will even be available for a select group of renown international race circuits. Awesome.

Design

The Rimac Nevera’s overall design philosophy is deeply rooted to aerodynamic and performance principles; it is anything but a gaudy and non-functional showpiece. It does present a contemporary silhouette as far as the mid-engine hypercar template is concerned, but as is the case with the rest of the car, the devil is in the details. Naturally, pictures will do the most justice when it comes to describing the car’s appearance, but I am obliged to at least attempt doing as much using less-than-a-thousand words.

After all, fitting a massive “H-shaped” battery within the confines of such a sublimely proportioned car must have been no easy feat. Especially when considering that its aerodynamic efficiency is over 34% better than that of the early C_One prototype. Carved in the right mold then meticulously positioned, are a combination of diffusers, splitters, fenders, wheel-arches and bumpers, which form the Nevera’s body shape.

At the front of the car is an intricate bumper with a carbon fiber splitter; one of the essential components of the Nevera’s active aerodynamics. Air intakes are strategically located to increase air-flow and provide cooling for the front brakes and electric motors. The bonnet features a large vent to allow trapped air to escape, while also improving downforce over the front wheels. Like most other exotic cars, the Nevera also features rear-fender intakes which draw-in air channeled by the car’s deliberate side profile. Instead of feeding air into a throttle body or a pair of turbochargers, they are used to cool the battery and electric motors in this particular application.

A retractable rear spoiler and motorized rear diffuser – both of which can move independently of one another – complete the active aerodynamics system. Speaking of that, this system – when toggled into the high-downforce mode – can increase downforce by up to 326% compared to its low drag setting. One of the most notable styling cues of the Nevera is its use of “butterfly” or “gullwing” doors, which were engineered in such a way that getting in and out of the car is not as difficult compared to previous applications of this design.

Interior

It would be easy to forgive Rimac, if not applaud them (hardcore enthusiasts usually endorse spartan-ism), should they have sold us short on the interior, but that was never going to be part of the Nevera’s blueprint. In no uncertain terms, the cabin is an exciting mixture of high tech amenities and quality refinements; the car’s interior serving as a largely blank canvas for bespoke customization based on the customer’s tastes. This means that any choice of seat materials, carbon fiber pieces, colors, etc. are at the behest of the buyer.

What is uniform across every build is the use of rotary knobs throughout the driver’s control panel. One of those knobs allows the driver to toggle between the 7 driving modes, while other knobs control functions such as traction/stability assists, front/rear power distribution, and the sound system volume. Rimac also supplies a proprietary infotainment system on the Nevera, which displays pertinent information on its graphical user interface. This is projected through LCD screens; the one closest to the passenger provides real-time data including torque distribution, g-forces and other performance-related tidbits, while the more central unit is your typical infotainment hub which controls features such as navigation, climate control and audio. Telemetry from each driving session can even be downloaded and analyzed on a computer.

The Nevera needs to be an absolute Einstein of a car to compute all of this simultaneously, and central to all this genius is the car’s use of the latest version of NVIDIA’s Pegasus operating system. This helps to process information from the multitude of inputs the Rimac uses to collect and make sense of data – this includes no fewer than 12 ultrasonic sensors, 13 cameras and 6 radars. Not to mention, the car will indeed be equipped to handle autonomous driving and will also be coming with the aforementioned driving coach feature, meaning that AI is at the core of the Nevera’s overall functionality. This thing puts Teslas to shame, not just in terms of performance, but also as it pertains to being a so-called “tech car”. Incredible.

Pricing & Availability

Rimac will be limiting production of its Nevera EV hypercar to just 150 units worldwide. Each example will start at around US$2,400,000 and will go up from there based on how bespoke-y the customer decides he or she would like to be. As is the nature of such automobiles, there is a general and unspoken consensus that all units have already been matched with a buyer, and that the Nevera won’t really be “for sale” in the way that most people are familiar with.

Verdict

Top Gear

“The first true pure-electric hypercar is a sensation, as is the company that makes it.”

Full article 

carwow

“Put quite simply, the Rimac Nevera is the most exciting electric vehicle on the planet. It’s phenomenally expensive, but its performance is out of this world.”

Full article

Car and Driver

“Hypercars like the Nevera aren’t for everyone, but there’s no denying its significance as the moment a battery-powered car toppled the Bugatti Chiron.”

Full article

Image & Video Gallery

[embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content]

Rimac C_Two morphs into the 1,914-hp Nevera electric hypercar

Rimac has introduced the production version of the C_Two concept unveiled in 2018. Called Nevera, it’s an electric hypercar with four motors that join forces to deliver 1,914 horsepower and a 1.85-second zero-to-60-mph sprint.

“This is it. This is the car I had in mind when I embarked on the ‘impossible’ journey 10 years ago. All of our hard work has resulted in the Nevera, our record-breaking hypercar,” company founder Mate Rimac said proudly.

Most of the Nevera’s key components were developed in-house in spite of high-profile partnerships with Porsche and with Hyundai, among other big carmakers, and nearly every part of the car has been improved since it made its debut as the C_Two at the 2018 edition of the Geneva auto show. Its 440-pound monocoque is the largest single piece of carbon fiber used in the car industry, Rimac claims, and it plays a significant role in increasing structural rigidity. It’s in this frame that engineers embedded an H-shaped, liquid-cooled lithium-manganese-nickel battery pack. Integrating the battery into the structure unlocks a near-perfect 48/52 front-rear weight distribution. 

Four individual motors (one per wheel) linked to single-speed gearboxes join forces to develop 1,914 horsepower and 1,740 pound-feet of torque. Rimac pegs the Nevera’s zero-to-60-mph time at 1.85 seconds, a figure which makes it one of the quickest production cars on the planet, and its top speed at 258 mph. On a drag strip, the Nevera reportedly posts an 8.6-second quarter-mile time. It’s even quicker across the board than Rimac expected.

The 120-kilowatt-hour, 6,960-cell battery stores enough electricity to deliver up to 350 miles of driving range on the WLTP testing cycle used in Europe. Charging it from zero to 80% takes 19 minutes when using a 500-kilowatt quick-charger. It’s presumably heavy, but the Nevera’s weight hasn’t been revealed. Rimac pointed out bringing this mammoth amount of power to a stop required developing a complex braking system that includes an electro-hydraulic booster, a pedal feel simulator, Brembo carbon-ceramic rotors, and a 300-kilowatt regenerative function.  

Designers made small but meaningful visual tweaks as the C_Two transitioned into the Nevera. Aerodynamic efficiency increased by 34%, while the revised body kit channels more cooling air to the brakes and the powertrain. Data fed to algorithms allows the Nevera to adjust its various active aerodynamic parts (like the underbody flap and the rear wing) independently for maximum downforce, low drag, or a balance of the two, depending on the situation.

Interestingly, the Nevera is not fitted with electronic stability and traction control systems. Engineers instead developed a technology called Rimac All-Wheel Torque Vectoring 2 (R-AWTV 2) that optimizes grip by calculating the amount of torque each wheel needs to receive. It can make the drivetrain front- or rear-biased, for example.

Rimac will make 150 units of the Nevera, it told Autoblog there are still build slots available, and each one will be personally tested and signed off by Mate Rimac before it’s sent to its new home. Pricing starts at €2 million, which represents about $2.4 million at the current conversion rate, before options enter the equation. Built in Croatia, it’s homologated for road use globally, which is an impressive feat for such a small company. Many limited-production supercars are show-and-display-only due to cost and time constraints; Rimac chose not to cut corners.

Buyers who sign the dotted line will be invited to travel to Croatia to configure their car. Several styling packages will be available, including GT, Signature, and Timeless, and customers will also have the option of starting from scratch. Regardless of the option chosen, Rimac stresses that it won’t make two identical versions of the Nevera.

One point that shouldn’t be understated is the leap the Nevera represents for Rimac. Its first car, the 1,224-horsepower Concept_One, was limited to eight units, though one was destroyed after former Top Gear host Richard Hammond accidently drove it off a mountain road. Going from a run of eight cars to one of 150 unit requires a massive operational expansion. Rimac recently hired its 1,000th employee, and it hopes to increase that number to 2,500 in the coming years as it invests nearly $250 million into building what it calls a Rimac Campus.

What’s in a name?

The name “Nevera” reflects the car’s Croatian roots. According to Rimac, locals know and fear the nevera as a quick, unexpected, and mighty Mediterranean storm that races across the open sea off the coast of Croatia.

2022 Audi e-tron GT: An In-depth Look

Introduction

The 2022 Audi e-tron GT is the four-ringed company’s first entrant into the high-performance EV weight class. It looks to shake up a playing field which includes the likes of the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan, the latter of which it shares many of the same underpinnings. Specifically, the two cars – which were developed in tandem by the Volkswagen Auto Group – both utilize an identical 800-volt battery architecture, with dual electric motors and a two-speed transmission responsible for sending power to all four wheels.

In a visual context, I would be hard-pressed to refer to the duo as “twins” as they share very little else in common – other than perhaps their side profiles – thanks to the e-tron GT having distinctly Audi signatures throughout its design elements. The cars are also packaged very different, with Audi currently only offering their product in two distinct trims – e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT – which both come exclusively with all-wheel drive, whereas Porsche offers their base Taycan with a rear-wheel drive configuration, plus a myriad of other trims with the Cross Turismo models now available.

This isn’t the marque’s first EV model, as it joins up with a roster currently occupied by Audi’s e-tron SUVs. However, the e-tron GT does have the distinction of becoming the first fully-electric car to don the company’s legendary RS badge via the highest and most expensive trim level currently on offer. The base model e-tron GT predictably comes with less of the go-faster, stop-harder and look-sexier ingredients that are typically reserved for an RS model, but it does share the same 93.4 kWh battery with its more glamorous stablemate.

Audi has marketed the e-tron GT as a fully-electric grand tourer, as a opposed to a sports saloon EV like the Porsche Taycan. This sets clear expectations right away of what makes the e-tron GT an entirely unique offering – not quite as powerful (compared to the Turbo and Turbo S), a little less nimble and sharp in the handling department, slightly more utilitarian with extra cargo room and a typically impressive Audi-esque interior.

All e-tron GT models will be produced at Audi’s Neckarsulm factory in Germany – where the same can be said for the company’s flagship R8 – with the goal of rolling up to 10,000 units off the assembly line every year. This would be less than half of the number of Taycan models delivered world-wide in 2020, so the two cars certainly can’t be compared like-for-like in that regard. Audi has ultimately done a fantastic job at making the e-tron GT look and feel like one of its own, and allays the fear about it being merely a reupholstered Porsche Taycan – it truly is a legitimate and unique player in this rapidly growing segment.

Engine, Drivetrain & Performance

The entry-level e-tron GT  produces 469 hp, which can be boosted up to 523 hp when using launch control. This is good for 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 152 mph, making it most comparable to the Porsche Taycan 4S which ends up being a smidge quicker using the same measuring stick. Stepping up to the RS model will net you 590 hp with 637 hp available in overboost mode. This allows the RS e-tron GT to complete the 0-60 mph sprint in 3.3 seconds, which is slower than Tesla and Porsche’s quickest EV models by 1.3 seconds (Model S Plaid) and 0.8 seconds (Taycan Turbo S) respectively.

Aside from the statistically-driven performance figures, the cars also differ from their competitors in less black-and-white, yet just as meaningful ways. For one, Audi engineered the e-tron GT to deliver its power in a more linear and progressive fashion – much like an internal combustion car – as opposed to being the torque-monster that we’ve come to expect from most performance-oriented EVs. This feature will certainly sway buyers who desire a more traditional driving feel, and are less inclined to be amused by the gut-busting characteristics of the e-tron GT’s closest rivals. The e-tron GT also gets more usable battery capacity, managing to squeeze out 85 kWh – compared to the Taycan’s 83.7 kWh – from its 93.4 kWh lithium-ion energy source. On paper, this should translate to a bit more range, all other things being equal.

Ultimately, the e-tron GT was always going to share certain characteristics with its German cousin through its sharing of the same platform. Afterall, the two-speed transmission which was once exclusive to Zuffenhausen, allows for an optimal balance of performance and efficiency. The e-tron GT will drive a lot more like the Porsche than the Tesla – which is a good thing in my opinion – particularly as it pertains to what is referred to in the biz as “one pedal driving”. This is where the latter cars can almost be exclusively driven using only the accelerator as merely taking the foot off the pedal is sufficient to bring the car to a stop in most situations, making the brake pedal more of a luxury than a necessity. I’m not a fan of this, but apparently many people are.

Another similarity with the Taycan is the use of an artificial “engine” noise to replace the roar of the inline-6 or V8 which would otherwise be expected to power the car. Dubbed ‘e-tron sport sound’, this sci-fi-derived soundtrack gently wails through speakers placed both inside and outside of the car and varies based on throttle inputs and speeds. This is a standard feature on the RS and optional on the base model.

Battery & Range

As mentioned before, every e-tron GT model – including the RS – comes standard with a 93.4 kWh battery (of which 85 kWh is usable). On the entry-level e-tron GT, Audi has officially claimed up to 238 miles of driving range, putting it slightly higher than that of the Porsche Taycan 4s. We’re still waiting to hear the official word on how the RS will fare in the range department, although it is expected to fall short of the aforementioned due to the extra juice required to dole out all that extra horsepower.

With regards to charging, the e-tron GT is inline with other performance oriented EVs on the market today. It is able to get from 5% to 80% of its battery capacity in around 20-odd minutes using a standard 270 kW DC fast charger.  Last but not least, the advanced cooling system integrated into the 800-volt architecture allows for more repeatable performance than your typical Tesla as overheating issues are far less likely to interrupt your customary hoon sessions.

Chassis & Handling

Like the Taycan, you can expect the e-tron GT to be remarkably responsive and precise – particularly when had with four-wheel steering – but more like the typical Audi, it could feel rather numb at lower speeds. That’s not to say that the e-tron GT doesn’t go where you’re pointing it. Just don’t expect the same level of feedback and weight tantamount to that of the Porsches. Ultimately, Audi still got the handling duly on point, especially as it pertains to being a grand tourer; if anything it does have a bit more body roll than the Taycan, but probably not enough to notice unless you were to drive each car back-to-back on a race track.

The Audi e-tron GT comes standard with a three-chamber air suspension system which allows for the driver to optimize the car for a variety of driving situations ranging from daily city excursions to canyon runs or even track use. Whether comfort or stiffness is what you require at any given moment, the selectable suspension settings have you covered. The air suspension can also lift the car by up to 0.8″ so that speed bumps and curbs can be negotiated with less fanfare.

Brakes & Tires

Braking is a similar exercise with comparable outcomes to that of the Porsche Taycan. This means that any braking forces within 0.3G are achieved entirely by the electric motors, with pad-to-rotor contact a relatively rare occurrence within the confines of non-aggressive driving. Subsequently, the standard steel brakes should suffice for just about any situation on public roads while the optional carbon ceramics are there for anyone who likes playing the min-max game when it comes to stopping power. Brake regeneration can also be toggled using controls on the steering wheel.

Working with the suspension, the e-tron GT’s ride quality is incredibly compliant when driven on the 21″ wheels and even more so when equipped with smaller 19″ wheels. Audi has looked to Goodyear to provide the OE tires on the e-tron GT as it did for its electric SUVs, this time using specially-designed Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 tires.

Design, Cabin & Amenities

Exterior

For those who care to measure, the Audi e-tron GT further differentiates itself from the Taycan by being a tiny bit longer, slightly narrower and just a whisker taller than the Porsche. This hardly makes it a mini-van, comparatively speaking, as the e-tron GT strikes a sleek, aggressive and sporty silhouette nonetheless. The e-tron GT has Audi’s DNA chiseled (quite literally) all over it, and that extends well beyond the four-ringed emblem sitting center stage.

At the front, there’s that familiar looking grille (albeit solid) and distinctive headlight design which doesn’t deviate far from the family tree. It’s a lot busier than the Taycan’s minimalist, yet somehow more exotic fascia, but I reckon this is a welcome change for buyers from either faction who prefer that there be less in common between the two vehicles.  The e-tron GT has one of the most exceptional looking rear ends of any car on the market today, with a rear lightbar connecting the decidedly Audi-esque LED taillights. The rear diffuser is a lot more pronounced compared to the Taycan’s as well – it looks really good, and I’m sure it’s very functional too.

Carbon side mirrors and a full carbon roof are also options, and can also be had as part of the Carbon Black and Carbon Vorsprung packages for the RS variants. The e-tron GT also has its own unique selection of wheels, of which the pricier choices come with functional aero blades to improve help improve driving range. Manufacturer exclusive paint colors such as Tactical Green are also available to further differentiate your e-tron GT from any other car on the road.

Interior

If there is one thing that Audi is universally recognized for, it would be the quality and design of their interiors. For the e-tron GT, Audi has decided to follow the more traditional formula that has earned them this reputation rather than embark on something groundbreaking as might have been the expectation, with the e-tron GT being a new EV and all that jazz. This equates to a palatable balance of touchscreen elements and actual plastic buttons, with a 12.3″ digital instrument cluster and a 10.1″ infotainment screen surrounded by physical toggles for the likes of climate control, driving modes, heated seats, and so on.

The finishes and materials inside the cabin are that of Audi’s highest standards, with no shortage of available luxury and convenience offerings. This includes features such as ambient interior lighting, heads-up display, heated/ventilated front seats with massage, etc. The rear outboard seats provide ample legroom, but its headroom is less generous, and the middle seat is more courteous than comfortable.

Expect to see plenty of high-quality leather upholstering and metal accents, with a generous dose of Alcantara and carbon fiber coming standard in the RS. If a more vegan approach is desired, Audi offers leather-free artificial hides made from recycled plastic bottles and old fishing nets.

For driver assistance, forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking come standard while blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning w/ lane-keeping assist are available as options.

Thanks to its dimensions, the e-tron GT is the marginally more utilitarian option compared to the Taycan with its 405L of rear cargo space plus another 81L in the ‘frunk’. That makes for ample space for luggage behind the back seats and a few grocery bags stacked up front. Two adults will be a snug but comfortable fit in the back, but rear visibility could become an issue if this arrangement is frequent enough. The standard rear-view camera and optional 360 degree camera should alleviate much of those problems, though.

Pricing

The entry-level 2022 Audi e-tron GT (Premium Plus) starts at US$99,900, while the Prestige package will add another US$7,200 on top of that. Stepping up to the RS e-tron GT will take you up to US$139,900 before options. All models come standard with all-wheel drive and a 93.4 kWh battery.

Verdict

What Other Experts Are Saying

Top Gear – 8/10

“A handsome four-door GT that plays to Audi’s strengths, with a blistering turn of pace.”

Read full review here

Car and Driver – 8.5/10

“The Audi e-tron GT excels as a stylish and sporty EV, but it’s pricier than a Tesla Model S and lacks a long driving range.”

Read full review here

EVO – 4/5

“The entry level e-tron GT is another great grand tourer but question marks remain over touring range ability.”

Read full review here

Car Magazine – 4/5

“By bravely focusing on true GT performance, Ingolstadt has diverted the e-Tron GT from an unexciting also-ran to a fascinating new addition to the Audi range.”

Read full review here

Auto Express – 4.5/5

“The Audi e-tron GT is another worthy entry in the luxury electric car market. It’s just the right mix of the new and the familiar, and it has a fair degree of separation from the Taycan because it’s a more comfortable electric grand tourer.”

Read full review here

Our Thoughts

So, what is it really? A simple reskin of the Porsche Taycan or a performance-EV contender in its own right? I think Audi addresses that big elephant in the room with a level of assertiveness that would make both e-tron GT and Taycan owners just as happy as the other with their choices.

It really comes down to looks, and to a large degree what your preference is towards either a 4-door grand touring EV, or a Sports Saloon which happens to be fully-electric. Hint: The e-tron GT is the former, as it’s literally in the name (GT is indeed meant to be an abbreviation for “grand tourer”). Think of the e-tron GT more as the gentleman and the Taycan more as the rebel; the Porsche perpetually taunting you to push it harder, while the Audi is there to keep things more civil and reserved. So, if you are a performance junkie who seeks the fun-factor above all else, you will get your fix in the Taycan, but do note that this will also come at an extra cost.

That’s because Audi made sure to play to its much-proven strengths when it came to the e-tron GT, as revolutionary as the car already is and may yet turn out to be. Dependably handsome aesthetics which are deeply rooted to the company’s philosophy. A familiarly high-class interior built around delivering comfort and quality. Superb performance and the heritage of the RS badge. All of things are done right, and done the Audi way.

With the Taycan and the e-tron GT both existing in their own elements, the latter car can also set its sights – through unmuddied waters – on the Tesla Model S. While the range and top-end performance figures are lacking behind the California-made EV, there is no doubt that the Audi provides a recognizable and trustworthy package in its electric grand tourer – comfort, elegance, and dependability, while manifesting a non-violent genre of sportiness.

It certainly deserves to be in the mix with these EV heavyweights and is by far the most exciting new car Audi has produced in quite some time. We hope that this is a sign of things to come; a car like the e-tron GT is just begging for an Avant version too, don’t you think?

Image & Video Gallery

[embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content] [embedded content]

Rimac’s next electric hypercar is going to be blindingly quick

From a rather inauspicious start in 2011, Rimac Automobili quickly made a name for itself with its first production car, the Concept One. The extremely limited all-wheel-drive Concept One pushed out a whopping 1,224 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. It had a range of 205 miles and cost a million euros when it was new. As impressive as that debut effort may have been, Rimac’s next electric hypercar is set to blow those benchmarks out of the water.

Company founder Mate Rimac posted a video on YouTube showing off a preproduction version of the Concept Two (also known as the C_Two). It will carry a different name when it goes into production later this year, and it will also be even quicker than the blindingly rapid version that stars in the video. As you’ll see when you click the play button, Rimac takes his creation down a deserted runway and manages to run the 1/4 mile in 8.94 seconds at 155.1 miles per hour.

A few points to consider: This preproduction model is running at about 85% torque capacity as the automaker continues tuning its motors and electronics. It’s also not equipped with the launch control programming that the 1,914-horsepower production model will feature. Put simply, the upcoming Rimac will very likely be the quickest production vehicle ever sold.

To put its acceleration into perspective, Rimac brought along a Porsche Taycan Turbo S and lined ’em up for a little race. See the results for yourself up above.

Related video:

[embedded content]

UPDATE: Porsche could raise its stake in Rimac, and Rimac weighs in

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this Reuters story said Porsche could raise its stake in Rimac to nearly 50%, but Rimac reached out to Autoblog to say that’s not so. Here is a statement from Mate Rimac:

“We have a very strong partnership with Porsche that is key for Rimac Automobili. Porsche is a shareholder in Rimac since 2018 with 15.5% ownership currently, accumulated over several rounds of investment. While it is true that we are discussing further expansion of this collaboration that will lead to increase of Porsche’s stake in Rimac Automobili, some media have mistakenly reported that Porsche would take over 50% or nearly 50% of the company.

We are very happy that the partnership with Porsche will strengthen even further, but it is in the interest of both Rimac and Porsche that Rimac is a fully independent company. We are working with many car companies that are not our shareholders and there is a clear separation between shareholding and projects. It is very important to us that our industry customers have the peace of mind that Rimac is independent and that there is an “Information Firewall” between projects and shareholders (not only Porsche, but also Hyundai and others) – and this will not change. Confidentiality is very valued in the industry and one of the basics for collaboration between companies. Our shareholders are happy with such an arrangement and expect the same level of professional behaviour and confidentiality for their projects and customer projects.

So, the point is: Porsche’s stake will increase but nowhere near to 50% and Rimac will remain independent with many industry customers that are not our shareholders/investors.”

The original story, with the 50% reference removed, appears below.

FRANKFURT — Volkswagen unit Porsche is participating in a financing round of Rimac Automobili that will see the electric supercar maker raise 130 million-150 million euros ($157 million-$181 million), its owner Mate Rimac told weekly Automobilwoche.

The fundraising should be completed in two to three months and another round is planned at the end of the year, Rimac told the trade journal.

Porsche owns a 15.5% stake in Rimac Automobili and could raise its stake in a deal that would also include the transfer of Volkswagen’s supercar brand Bugatti to Rimac, Automobilwoche said.

Volkswagen and Rimac were not immediately available for comment on Sunday.

Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume said earlier this month that intense discussions on Bugatti’s future were ongoing and that Rimac could play a role as the brands were a good technological fit, adding that a decision was expected in the first half of 2021.

Rimac has developed an electric supercar platform, which it supplies to other carmakers, including Automobili Pininfarina.

“Supercars have a limited market, the market for components is much bigger. That is why we are planning to expand our company,” Rimac told Automobilwoche.

That includes plans to more than double Rimac Automobili’s workforce by early 2023 to 2,500 from 1,000 currently, he said.

Related Video:

[embedded content]

How McLaren is rewriting the electric supercar formula

HEADLEY DOWN, England — There’s nothing quite like the roar of a revving McLaren engine to set a petrolhead’s pulse pounding, or the full-throated scream as it tears across the tarmac.

Yet new gas-fueled engines like McLaren’s could be illegal in many countries by 2030. The supercar maker, like all automakers, has to go electric — but that’s easier said than done for a niche player that can’t compromise the performance, and racing experience, that supports its rarefied pricing and exclusivity.

McLaren could probably produce a fully-electric vehicle tomorrow, said Ruth Nic Aoidh, the British carmaker’s executive director for purchasing. But the weight of today’s batteries “would kill all of the attributes that make a McLaren a McLaren”.

So instead, Nic Aoidh says McLaren is taking more time to rethink the way it builds vehicles from the wheels up. It is also looking to overhaul its business model, to generate revenue from selling some of its new technology to other automakers.

The people it ultimately has to keep happy are affluent enthusiasts like Steve Glynn, who make up McLaren’s base.

A racing driver, Glynn teaches others how to drive their supercars around private tracks, where the combination of raw speed and precise handling separate McLarens and Ferraris from cars that cost a tenth as much.

Glynn just bought his fourth McLaren, a black 620R, in January. He declined to say what he paid for it, but the 620R starts at around 250,000 pounds ($346,000).

“I’m a petrolhead through and through, but I think we have to accept the future of electrification beckons everyone,” he said at his home in Headley Down, a village in southern England less than hour’s drive from McLaren’s Woking headquarters.

“But an electrified McLaren would still have to put that same smile on your face.”

Even for deep-pocketed behemoths like Volkswagen AG, developing electric vehicles is an expensive proposition that is taxing their capital resources.

Other smaller premium carmakers like Volkswagen unit Bentley or Tata Motors Ltd’s Jaguar Land Rover, which both plan to electrify their model lineups by 2030, can rely on their owners’ financial backing to make the switch.

But for niche manufacturers like McLaren, lack of scale is a major challenge. Last year McLaren said it would cut 1,200 jobs – more than a quarter of its workforce – as it dealt with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

McLaren’s cars start at around 120,000 pounds and range up to 750,000 pounds. It sold 4,662 vehicles in 2019, but thanks to pandemic shutdowns the company said in November its 2020 sales would hit around 1,700 cars and its revenue could fall by up to half.

McLaren will reveal some of its progress toward it electric ambitions with the Artura, a hybrid model, launching on Feb. 16.

ALL ABOUT THE WEIGHT

Weight is of paramount importance to customers.

To cut cost and help reduce its vehicles’ weight 15% in order to carry heavy batteries, McLaren has developed a new in-house process to make a carbon composite chassis, or “tub”, in minutes at a 50 million pound site in Rotherham, England.

“If McLaren are going to take the electrified route to a supercar, they’ll need to maintain the light weighting as much as possible,” said Andy Abbosh, who owns a pearl white McLaren 650S Spider.

McLaren’s new chassis will be used in the Artura, and by 2026 all its cars will be hybrids using this chassis, Nic Aoidh said. The carmaker aims to have fully electric models on the road towards the end of this decade, she added.

The process has brought mass production of carbon composite parts a step closer and McLaren is talking to other carmakers and manufacturers in other sectors on how to monetize the technology, according to Nic Aoidh.

“The way companies like ours will find our way to electrification is through innovation,” she said. “That will potentially open up doors for return on investments.”

McLaren will also develop its own batteries, which could also generate fresh revenue streams, she added.

‘WE’RE SELLING EMOTION’

Electric hypercar maker Rimac, which aims to bring its C-Two model to market later this year, plans something similar.

The company plans to build four of the cars per month and has its first year of production sold out, according to founder Mate Rimac.

He said the market for these vehicles was limited and would probably hit a ceiling of around 100 vehicles per year, worth several hundred million euros.

But where he sees a far greater business opportunity is to operate as an auto supplier, where it licenses, develops and manufactures systems and components for other carmakers, as it does already for Aston Martin and a number of others.

“We want to showcase with our cars what’s possible, then help carmakers build exciting electric cars and make the transition to electric faster,” Rimac added.

But it remains to be seen whether supercar makers like McLaren, with reputations forged on gas-guzzling race tracks, can successfully reinvent themselves for an electric era.

Pietro Frigerio, dealer principal at McLaren Newport Beach in southern California, worries a McLaren electric car without the famous throaty growl of a combustion engine could get lost in a crowd.

“What we’re selling here is emotion,” Frigerio said. “When you come to spend $300,000-plus on a car, you want it to look different and feel different.”

Related Video:

Polestar 1 production will end this year

When the Polestar 1 was unveiled in 2017 the response was immense, and the orders started pouring in for this impressive PHEV Performance hybrid GT, first deliveries didn’t happen until 2020, but by the end of 2021 the production of this “technological tour-de-force” will be halted, so if you want to add this $155,000 to your garage you will have to secure one of the final remaining build slots as soon as possible.

The Polestar 1 might remind you of a Volvo by her looks, but Polestar is the stand-alone Performance department from Volvo, and they’ve created some really impressive cars, remember the Volvo V60 Polestar in that bespoke blue shade, a great estate to get to your destination in a hurry.

But the Polestar 1 is a car from a new breed, a high-performance Hybrid GT packing a massive 619 hp and 738 lb.-ft. of torque from the combination of two electric motors on the rear axle and a 2.0-liter, in-line four-cylinder, supercharged, and turbocharged petrol engine, an integrated starter generator at the front is another plus.

The Polestar 1 features a lightweight, carbon fiber body with a distinctive low roofline, that includes a fixed, panoramic glass roof stretching the full length, and width of the car. On the stylish interior of this 2+2 seater, you’ll find a Bowers & Wilkins sound system and intricate leather upholstery with handcrafted detailing.

The Polestar 1 still holds the record for the longest range in pure electric mode, thanks to a triple battery system, you can complete 60 miles on battery power alone, with two electric motors on the rear wheels, each with a power output of no less than 116 hp (85 kW), acceleration from 0 60 mph takes only 3.8 seconds, the quarter-mile is completed in 12.0 seconds, reaching a speed of 119.1 mph, despite the weight of 2,345 kg (5,155-pound).

The top speed of the Polestar 1 is 163 Mph, or just over 260 km/h, and thanks to the adjustable Öhlins dampers the ride on those massive 21-inch wheels (with 275/30 R21 for the front and 295/30 R21 for the rear) isn’t too bad in the end, it’s not a luxury car after all, but a performance GT, so expect a harder ride than usual from lesser models from Volvo. The 6-piston Akebono brakes behind the stylish wheels make sure all that acceleration and high-speed can be stopped in a hurry when needed.

The Polestar 1 is built in Chengdu, China (remember Polestar is part of the Geely-owned Volvo Car Group), and while you can still order this very special car today, time is running out, once production reached 1,500 units, it’s all over, and you can’t get one anymore, so it’s time to hurry up and visit Polestar Spaces across North America for a hands-on experience and test drive.

Audi’s E-Tron is the EV Answer to Porsche’s Taycan

Audi released the E-Tron GT concept about three years ago. It was marketed as Audi’s all-electric touring flagship and today the long-awaited grand tourer hits the production stage. 

At first glance, you notice it looks virtually identical to the concept design from years ago. This is every petrolhead’s hope when they lay eyes on a new concept for the first time. There’s nothing more exciting than envisioning a concept or prototype on the streets in its ultra-cool concept form, Audi has done just that with the E-Tron GT and RS E-Tron GT. 

Audi E-Tron
Photo by: Audi

The E-Tron GT produces 469 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque with its dual motors, though when launch control is activated horsepower jumps to 522 HP for a short 2.5-second period. The RS model achieves a massive increase in horsepower to 590 and 612 lb-ft of torque. With the launch control switched on, the RS leaps to 636 HP. The E-Tron’s are powered by an 85 kWh battery with a predicted range of 298 miles of range on a full charge based on WLTP estimates.

While the shares a lot with the Porsche Taycan, like its 270 kW DC fast charging, Audi has developed something that assists in faster charge times. Thermal constraints can wreak havoc when attempting to charge a battery quickly. Audi has developed a preconditioning feature that works alongside the navigation system to ensure optimal battery temperatures for you when arriving at a fast-charging terminal. Audi E-TronBoth E-Tron GT models have all-wheel drive and also include the Porsche Taycan’s high-tech 2-speed automatic transmission. Audi has claimed the base model has a zero to 60 time of 4.1 seconds, while the RS gets there in just 3.3 seconds. 

Handling and suspension via controlled dampers and a locking rear differential are standard on both E-Tron GT models, though the RS has the ability to control the variable lock on the differential with its multi-plate clutch. The RS’s standard three-chambered suspension can also be added to the base model as an option. Both E-Trons can be optioned with all-wheel steering in addition to carbon-ceramic brakes. The RS model includes tungsten carbide-coated discs out of the box. Audi E-TronAccording to Jalopnik, the Audi E-Tron GT’s interior was reportedly manufactured using a percentage of recycled materials. This is a refreshing feature instead of Audi pouring leather, plastics, and a bunch of other materials that ultimately go against the vision of an EV evolution. 

The E-Tron GT will start at 99,800 euros or roughly $120,000 and the RS model will start at 132,000 euros or $160,000. If compared to a similarly performing grand touring car like the Porsche Taycan 4S, the Audi E-Tron GT sits just below in terms of price but maintains the specs to back it up should they go head to head.

Tesla Model S Receives Plaid+: Supercar or Family Sedan?

Tesla has been keeping the EV market on its toes for years and today is no different. In Q4, Tesla announced that there would be some major changes to an upcoming Model S. Production for that much-needed model refresh are to start production in the coming weeks. 

Typically when a vehicle model update takes place, the exterior is what receives the most attention, not the case for Tesla. The new Model S interior received a lot of attention, with good reason. It will now feature a 17.0-inch display that is very similar to the one in the Model 3 and Model Y. Tesla says the new tablet display has a brighter screen with a resolution of 2200×1300 and improved responsiveness.

Model S Plaid

In the released photos of the Model S, it appears that Tesla has cut the steering wheel in half. It appears to be a larger, minimalist rendition of an F1 steering wheel. It is also missing the indicator stalks, which tells us these controls will likely be mounted on the steering wheel. The dash and ventless HVAC systems appear to be similar to the Model 3.

Model S Plaid

The images released also show an additional display where you would normally see climate controls for passengers in the rear. The rear seats also receive bolstering on both sides, giving the new Model S a welcome refresh as it has been the same for years. 

Model S Plaid

As far as exterior updates are concerned, the new Model S appears to have a more aggressive look overall. The lower section of the front fascia comes with the majority of the updates, though Tesla has included new wheels for the Model S. It now looks a bit more sporty and more reflective of its performance. 

A new trim level has been added to the Model S and Model X. The Long Range base models will still include dual-motors, while the performance models will be replaced with the Plaid model. This is simply just a rebranding of the performance model name. However, the Model S will have a Plaid+ option to come later this year, which will have Tesla’s new batteries incorporated into its structure. The Plaid+’s new batteries will provide 0-60 times of less than 1.99 seconds and a range of 520 miles on a single charge.

According to Motor1, Tesla has also confirmed that the Model X will receive the same interior and exterior updates as the new Model S. 

The Aspark Owl, dubbed the fastest accelerating car in the world, is now on sale

The Aspark Owl, a 1985-horsepower electric hypercar that has been dubbed the fastest accelerating car in the world, has gone on sale. A showroom opened in Aspark’s hometown of Osaka, Japan, yesterday, and the company is taking orders from Europe and North America as well.

In October, the Owl set a claimed 0-60 time of 1.72 seconds during testing at Misano World Circuit in Italy. Though that time was achieved using one-foot of rollout (typical of many publications’ 0-60 times), it should still obliterate anything in the next lane over. Previous tests of a prototype have alleged a 0-60 time of 1.87 seconds on race tires, but the latest time was clocked with street-legal Michelins.

Production will start with a limited run of 50 units, with 20 planned for Europe and 20 for Asia and the Middle East. That leaves 10 for North America, whose sales will be handled by The Gables Sports Cars, which seems to be a used exotic car dealership in Miami, Florida.

One of the things that seems to be holding the Owl back is that it’s not a dedicated car company. It’s an industrial engineering firm that has built a hypercar as a side project. As such, it has no sales network, seemingly very little in terms of PR or marketing, and an inconsistent website.

Parts of the site still say that the 0-60 time is 1.69 seconds, while horsepower ranges from 2,012 to 1,985. The latter number seems to be more recent, so we’ll go with that. One thing we do know is that the Owl has four electric motors. Aspark says that motor’s rotation speed of 15,000 rpm “should be” the fastest in the world.

The company also says the Owl makes 1,475 lb-ft of torque, has a range of 400km (249 miles), and tops out at 400 kph (249 mph). Back in March, a press release teased a second project from Aspark to be revealed in a few weeks, but as far as we can tell it hasn’t been announced.

If you would like to own an Owl, you can fill out an application on the Aspark website. It’ll set you back $3.56 million at today’s exchange rates. It’s a machine that piques our curiosity, but hopefully the company can get its messaging act together so we can have more faith in the car itself. 

Nissan GT-R (X) 2050 envisions what a GT-R of the future could look like

Most of our Nissan GT-R thinking energy these days goes toward wondering about what the R36 has in store. Nissan is out here thinking about what the GT-R will be like in 2050. If we continue along at the R35’s production timeline pace, it might still be the R36 then. We kid, but hey, the R35’s been out for over a decade now with no end in sight.

As an answer for what the future of Nissan performance looks like, Nissan has brought an intern’s thesis project to life. It’s called GT-R (X) 2050, and it’s a fresh take on our dystopian future of sports cars. Jaebum Choi, a former student at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., set forth to design a vehicle for car enthusiasts in the age of self-driving cars (whenever that may be). Instead of leaving the project on paper and computer renderings, Nissan Design America decided to bring it to life in the form of an official Nissan concept vehicle.

The GT-R (X) 2050 is a tiny car — two feet high and 10 feet long — meant for just one person, and most of the details require some stretching of the imagination. For starters, the operator “sits” in the car in a prone position, laying on their stomach with their limbs in an X position. The exterior design is meant to mimic the body in this position, which explains why it looks like an X from an aerial perspective. Of course, there are some GT-R elements tossed in there, too. The distinctive quad circle taillights sit in back. It uses a very broad, slab-sided design like the R35, and the V-Motion front end style is noticeable from head-on. The rest of the vehicle has a very tenuous grip on what we might typically envision a vehicle to be.

The driver “sees” out via a special VR helmet that you connect to the car’s extensive camera system. There is one window, but it’s at the top and doesn’t provide a view forward. It’s not a fully autonomous vehicle either. Choi told media in a presentation that he envisions drivers steering via controls operated by moving your hands and arms that are splayed outward. You’re meant to “wear” the car to the extent that it feels like an extension of the body.

“Exo-skeletons today make people stronger by wearing mechanical structures. I tried to fit the size of a person’s body as much as I could, as if I were wearing a car,” Choi explains.

As for what makes it go, Choi says he took inspiration from Iron Man when he envisioned an “arc reactor” type of power source. This would create electricity for the motors. Nissan didn’t provide performance figures, likely because the powertrain is far too nebulous to even make any predictions. Being a GT-R concept, though, it’s meant to be extremely quick. Choi says it’s meant to be more supportive than a superbike, but not much more than that. All design priorities go toward making it a pleasing and fun time for the operator after all.

You might be wondering about the wild looking wheels, and Choi has an answer for those, too. The wheel/tire combo is a one-piece unit that, due to its shape, allows the car to turn 360 degrees. Its design is meant to help the wheel cool down quickly when driven hard. It even has an active wing that pops up to promote more downforce.

We turn further to fantasy land with Nissan’s Brain-to-Vehicle technology it showcased at CES a few years ago. Choi believes that the GT-R (X) 2050 would use this technology that interprets signals from a human’s brain to make the vehicle an even better self-driving car than ordinary computer-controlled ones. But you wouldn’t be forced to use the autonomous mode all the time.

“Choi has essentially envisioned a new mode of transportation that people could experience like clothes, “wearable,” instead of a traditional vehicle “carriage,” says David Woodhouse, Nissan Design America (NDA) VP. “It is the kind of breaking-the-mold thinking that has always been encouraged here at NDA. We’ve been honored to help bring Choi’s vision to life.”

Related Video:

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. 

Related Video:

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.

Related Video:

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.

[embedded content]

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.

Related Video: