Today's electric vehicle market is becoming quite familiar with the world of luxury vehicles and sports cars. That shouldn't be surprising considering recent advancements in battery systems have enabled electric cars to rival some of the features of many of their gas-powered counterparts. After all, nothing says "modern" quite like a sleek supercar with a practically silent engine that can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds. So for those of you who feel like ditching the Prius for something a little more James Bond-like, here's a list of some of the hottest, most exclusive EVs on the market today.
A pioneer in electric sports car capabilities, Tesla's Roadster was the first to offer highway-capable all-electric vehicles in the U.S. At a base price of about $109,000, Tesla's Roadsters are limited to just 2,500 cars, with few remaining. According to the EPA, the electric sports car can travel 244 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack, and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds. As Tesla's supply of Lotus Elise gliders runs out under a contract with Lotus cars, the innovative automaker stopped taking orders in 2011. Just 15 Final Edition Roadsters were produced to close its manufacturing cycle, but Tesla's next generation of electric luxury vehicles is expected to be introduced in 2014 for about half the price of the original Roadster.
Launched last year in the US, Fisker Karma's plug-in hybrid luxury sports sedan runs around $102,000 to $116,000. With an electric range of 32 miles per charge, the total range with a full tank of gasoline and fully charged battery is 230 miles, according to the EPA. However, depending on conditions, the Fisker Karma could get up to 50 miles of driving range on a single charge. Its solar paneled roof not only aids in the recharging of its lithium-ion batteries, but also in cabin climate control. Additionally, the car comes with the offer of an extra set of solar panels for the garage at home to charge the Karma even more efficiently.
BMW i8 Series
You may recognize BMW's i8 hybrid electric from the last “Mission Impossible” film—a title not far off from the description of actually obtaining one of the $400,000 vehicles to be released in 2014. Pairing an electric motor with a 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower, the i8 can go from 0 to 62 mph in under five seconds. A perfect combination of efficiency with exhilaration, wrapped with an incredibly chic, glassy carbon fiber chassis, the i8 could potentially be the most desirable, sexy BMW in decades.
Rimac Concept One
The Rimac Concept One electric sports car is one of the world's most expensive, luxurious electric vehicles to date. Available to only the 88 drivers willing to pay nearly $1 million, the Concept One boasts a 92 kilowatt hour LiFeP04 battery system with a range of over 370 miles, competing against the likes of Tesla Motors. Sporting a 1,088 horsepower output and 250 kilowatt electric motors for each wheel, the Concept One is far from your father's electric car. Last year, the Croatian-built electric supercar was reported at being capable of going 0 to 60 in just 2.8 seconds. Back again today, the car was showcased at Top Marques Monaco, one of the world's most exclusive car shows.
Phantom 102EX Experimental Electric
Topping the list, Rolls Royce unveiled its first electric version of its Phantom model at the Geneva motor show in March, becoming the world's most expensive electric vehicle at a jaw-dropping $1.6 million. Through the end of the year, the vehicle will tour across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America to gauge the public's reaction. Presented to a selective clientele, Rock-It Germany will be responsible for the safe and on-time delivery of the six meter long, 2.7 ton vehicle to local dealers.
But, will the old-world lineage and luxuriousness that these brands represent be a successful path of entirely new territory? Rolls-Royce Motor's CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös says it perfectly:
“I'm here to ignite a debate about electric luxury—Is it a compromise or is it perfection?”