One of the advantages to buying an electric vehicle instead of one that packs a conventional internal combustion engine is that most deliver surprisingly quick acceleration.
That’s because an electric motor generates 100 percent of its available torque instantly and maintains it across the full power range. With a gas engine, torque is produced on a curve, with less at the beginning and end, and the most registering at about the center. What’s more, EVs use a single-gear transmission that further enlivens performance by not having to shift into higher ratios as engine speed increases.
As a result, when someone driving an EV pushes the accelerator pedal to the floor, the transition from stationary to speed is both instantaneous and continuous.
In fact, one of the quickest rides among all production cars (and at any price) is the Tesla Model S. The line’s top P100D version with dual electric motors and its insane “Ludicrous” mode is good for a 0-60 mph sprint in a scenery-blurring 2.4 seconds. Next year the automaker’s reborn Roadster is primed to beat the Model S in terms of off-the-line acceleration with a projected 0-60 launch in a dizzying 1.9 seconds and a highly illegal top speed of 250 mph.
Among the nation’s top-selling EVs not to carry Tesla badges, the Chevrolet Bolt EV takes the checkered flag at 6.5 seconds to 60 mph, while the Nissan Leaf accomplishes it in 7.7 seconds. Sporty new entries for 2019, the Audi e-tron and Jaguar i-Pace, sit near the top of the pack with 0-60 mph times of 5.5 and 4.5 seconds, respectively.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the slowest battery-powered vehicle for 2019 – at a languid 11.4 seconds to reach 60 mph – is also the cheapest ($23,900) and shortest-range model (58 miles on a charge), namely the Smart EQ ForTwo.
We’re featuring the seven quickest battery-powered rides for 2019 in the above slideshow for those having both environmental concerns and a need for speed. All can reach 60 mph in less than seven seconds, which a few years ago would have been respectable for a sports coupe. Zero-to-60 times cited come from the automakers and other sources.
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The S version of the forward-looking BMW i3 compact electric car can run from 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, with its electric motor generating 181-horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the base model takes a slightly less urgent 7.2 seconds to reach 60. A new battery for 2019 extends the i3’s range to 153 miles on a charge.
Delivering a 238-mile range, the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s electric motor produces 200 horsepower with 266 pound-feet of torque and can sprint to 60 mph from a standing start in 6.5 seconds.
New for 2019, two electric motors enable the all-wheel-drive Audi e-tron luxury crossover SUV to reach to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, with a top speed of 124 mph and an operating range of 248 miles.
Also debuting for the 2019 model year, Jaguar’s first EV is a rip-roaring sporty crossover SUV. Its twin electric motors produce the equivalent of 395 horsepower, which allows the iPace to reach 60 mph in a brisk 4.5 seconds. It will run for an estimated 234 miles per charge.
The compact Tesla Model 3 sedan may not be as outrageously speedy as its showroom siblings, but it’s no slouch in the acceleration department. The dual-motor Performance version can run from 0-60 mph in only 3.3 seconds, and can last for 310 miles on a charge. Meanwhile the Long-Range model takes 4.5 seconds, and the mid-range Model 3 can make it to 60 in 5.6 seconds.
The large and family-minded Tesla Model X crossover SUV comes in at a close second to its sedan counterpart, the Model S, with the Performance model clocking in to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds with a 289-mile range. The Standard version can go at bit farther with a full battery at 295 miles, but it's slower, albeit at a still respectable 4.7 seconds.
The fastest EV sold in America is the appropriately named Performance variant of the flagship Model S sedan. With an operating range of 315 miles on a charge, it can rocket to 60 mph in a momentary 2.4 seconds. The standard version takes a few more ticks to reach that mark at 4.1 seconds, but it delivers the longest battery range among all EVs for the 2019 model year at 335 miles.
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