Electric vehicles benefit from instant torque, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re quick.
The more affordable electric cars, like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Hyundai Kona Electric, are zippy around town but nothing to brag about on a drag strip. However, higher-end models like the ones we’re looking at here can keep up with some of the most powerful gasoline-burning sports cars in the world — and in many cases beat them.
We’re focusing on larger brands, not smaller companies like Rimac and Pininfarina, due to limited availability and the lack of third-party testing. Finally, not wanting to rely solely on manufacturer-issued numbers, we’re also including zero-to-60-mph and quarter-mile times published by Motor Trend. Finally, we’ve split up this piece into two sections: The first highlights EVs currently on the market, while the second looks at upcoming models.
Tesla Model S Plaid (1.98 seconds)
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The Model S is quicker than the Porsche Taycan Turbo S at lower speeds, and it takes the zero-to-60 crown with a Tesla-claimed time of 1.99 seconds for the current Plaid model. That’s pretty huge. When Motor Trend tested the Plaid, however, the EV hit 60 mph in an eye-watering 1.98 seconds.
The Model S uses a 100kWh battery pack, and Tesla advertises the car as offering an impressive 1,020 horsepower. It’s head and shoulders above any of the competition, with the second car on our list still coming in at 0.4 seconds slower than the Model S Plaid. That’s pretty interesting considering how close many of the options further down this list are.
Porsche Taycan Turbo S (2.4 seconds)
There was a time when the top Tesla hit 60 mph faster than the top Porsche, but the top Porsche had a faster quarter-mile time. These days, the Model S Plaid wins in both cases — but the Porsche Taycan Turbo S is still very quick. The car can hit 60 mph in an impressive 2.4 seconds, and a quarter mile in a speedy 10.3 seconds.
The Taycan has a slightly smaller battery pack than the Model S (93.4kWh), but its electric powertrain still produces an impressive 750 hp and 774 lb.-ft. with Launch Control activated. It makes 616 hp in normal driving conditions.
Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance (2.7 seconds)
Lucid is another tech-focused new company, and its efforts have yielded some pretty impressive results. The Lucid Air is available in a number of variants, but the fastest is the Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance, for now. A faster one, called the Lucid Sapphire, is on the way, but it’s not available just yet.
So what about the numbers? The Lucid Air Dream Edition Performance offers an impressive 1,05 hp and 921 lb-ft of torque, and with that, it can get from zero to 60 mph in a super-fast 2.7 seconds. That puts it at a slower speed than the fastest Tesla and Porsche cars, but still at extremely zippy speeds compared to almost anything you can drive right now.
Audi RS e-tron GT (2.9 seconds)
Audi offers a number of cars in the e-tron lineup, but the fastest (and coolest) of those is the RS e-tron GT. This car may not be as fast as the Teslas and Porsches on this list, but let’s be honest — zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds is stunning, and it looks cooler than the Model S in the process.
The RS e-tron GT delivers an impressive 637 hp depending on the mode, and it has a 93.4kWh battery. That’s not huge, and you won’t get as much range as the likes of the Model S or the Ludic Air. That’s the cost of such a cool design, I suppose.
Mercedes AMG EQS (3.0 seconds)
The Mercedes-AMG EQS is the only car on this list to not have a “3” at the start of its zero-to-60 time, but that doesn’t make it a slow car. The EQS may not be quite as pretty as the Audi RS e-tron GT, but it still has a lot going for it. For starters, it boasts an incredibly luxurious and comfortable interior, with all the creature comforts that you could want.
And then there’s the acceleration, and it’s pretty stellar. As mentioned, the EQS will hit 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, which is very quick. That’s thanks to the fact that it delivers an impressive 649 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque. Ultimately, while not as fast as some of the other options, if you’re looking for speed and luxury, this may be the way to go.
Notable Upcoming EVs
Tesla Model X Plaid
The Model X Plaid is extremely close to being in the top section of this list, but having just started rolling out, there’s not enough testing out there to verify its speed just yet. Safe to say, however, it’ll be fast — if you want an SUV-size car that’s so fast it’s silly, the Model X Plaid may be for you.
Lucid Air Sapphire
Lucid is planning a new car called the Lucid Gravity, but in the meantime, the latest iteration of the Lucid Air is enough to get us pretty excited. The Lucid Air Sapphire could end up being the fastest production car out there, with its 1,234 hp motor and expected acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 1.89 seconds. Time to give Tesla a run for its money.
The most powerful Cybertruck will be the three-motor Plaid model. Tesla claims the truck will reach 60 mph in less than 2.9 seconds. When it comes to power numbers, yet again Tesla hasn’t and likely won’t release them. Keeping with consistency, Motor Trend estimates the range-topping truck will produce about 800 hp and 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque.
If Tesla’s upcoming Roadster supercar claims are accurate, this is one of the fastest EVs on the list. Its 1.9-second zero-to-60 time and an 8.8-second quarter-mile time are mind-boggling. This is partly thanks to its large 200kWh battery pack. We don’t know how much power the EV makes yet, but some estimate it could be in the range of 1,000 hp. That would make sense. We’ll have to wait longer than expected to see if those figures are accurate because Tesla has delayed the $200,000 Roadster several times already, and it’s still not here.