There are a lot of things to prioritize when you’re buying a car, and electric cars are no exception. For some it’s all about the range, others it’s the hi-tech features. But for many it’s performance and the thrill of being able to drive a fast car at high speeds. And that’s one thing that gives EVs a real chance to shine.
One key benefit to driving on electrical power is the fact that the car just goes. No gears, no fuel to ignite, just raw power soaring through the motor as soon as you put your foot down. That means electric cars have the potential to be incredibly quick off the mark, even if they might struggle to hit the same top speeds as engine-powered vehicles.
So if you have the need for speed, without leaving a cloud of pollution in your wake, these are the fastest electric cars on the road. And you can buy them all, which means no prototypes, super-limited edition sports cars or anything that isn’t street legal.
Tesla Model S Plaid: 1.99 seconds, 200 mph
Tesla loves to boast about the Model S Plaid, especially where speed is concerned. The automaker claims that its 1.99 second 0-60 time means it “has the quickest acceleration of any vehicle in production.” Not to mention the fact the car has a 200mph top speed, which easily makes it the fastest electric car on the market.
Had the Model S Plaid Plus, which promised to surpass that time, ever arrived, Tesla claims the car would have had the quickest quarter mile acceleration of any production car ever made. Unfortunately we never got to see what that vehicle was truly capable of.
On top of that the Model S Plaid has 396 miles of range, Autopilot as standard and the option to upgrade to Enhanced or Full Self Driving Autopilot packages. There’s also the yoke steering, a driver information display behind the wheel, and access to Tesla’s 250kW Supercharger network.
Lucid Air Dream P: 2.5 seconds, 168 mph
The Lucid Air Dream is known for being one of the few electric cars that can beat Tesla on range, with the long range model offering 520 miles on a single charge. But opting for the Performance model means you drop to 406 miles of range in exchange for some speed. Not only can the car go from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, it also has a top speed of 168 mph. That’s not quite as good as the Tesla Model S Plaid, but it’s pretty darn speedy.
On top of that you have up to 300 kW charging speeds, a glass canopy roof, premium sound, and the promise of serious updates to the DreamDrive Pro system in the future. Lucid’s autonomous driver assistance feature is nothing special right now, but it’s claimed that Level 3 autonomous functionality will eventually arrive via an over-the-air update. When that’ll happen is not entirely clear.
Of course Lucid also has another Performance-focused car coming sometime in 2023. The Lucid Air Sapphire promises Model S Plaid-tier performance with a 0-60 time of under 2 seconds and a top speed of over 200 mph. Assuming you have a quarter of a million dollars to pay for it, that is.
Tesla Model X Plaid: 2.5 seconds, 163 mph
SUVs are not usually known for their speed, which is a credit to what Tesla can accomplish — especially with the Plaid powertrain. The Model X Plaid, despite its gargantuan size, can hit 60 miles per hour in just 2.5 seconds and reach speeds up to 163 mph.
Alongside all the usual benefits of driving an SUV, like 92 cubic feet of storage space, 311 miles of range, up to 5,000 lbs of towing capacity, and the ability to sit higher than most other traffic on the road. That’s on top of the same Autopilot capabilities as other Teslas, gaming in the center console, york steering, and up to 250kW recharging at Tesla Superchargers.
Porsche Taycan Turbo S: 2.6 seconds, 162 mph
The Porsche Taycan Turbo S just slips behind the Model X Plaid in terms of acceleration and overall speed. Which must be a little bit embarrassing, but that’s not to say this is a slow car — far from it. With a top speed of 162 miles per hour and a 0-60 time of 2.6 seconds, this is an electric car that can get you where you need to be pretty darn fast.
Just as long as that place is the finish line, or the other end of a German Autobahn. Good luck finding anywhere else that’ll get you up to those sorts of speeds. Of course the range is far from the best, with this particular model only packing in 212 miles per charge. It’s not terrible, but it proves speed enthusiasm is going to dent your mileage — and not even electrifying is going to stop that.
Tesla Model 3 Performance: 3.1 seconds, 162 mph
While the Tesla Model 3 is generally seen as the “entry level” Tesla, the Performance model is anything but. In fact this particular Model 3 can reach speeds that almost rival the Model X Plaid — even if it isn’t quite as quick off the mark.
Still a 3.1-second 0-60 time is nothing to sniff at, nor is the fact that 162 mph is more speed than most people know what to do with. And that’s on top of all the usual Tesla features, like 315 miles of range, minimalistic interiors, Autopilot, Supercharger access, and one of the most feature-packed infotainment screens around. If you wanted to drive a farting car at high speeds, Tesla has you covered.
Kia EV6 GT: 3.5 seconds, 161 mph
Currently our pick for the best electric car, the Kia EV6 has a heck of a lot going for it. Least of all a top-end GT performance model with 161 mph top speed and a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds. Granted your range drops to 232 miles as a result, but you still get all the same fun features included in all EV6 models.
That includes 800V charging systems, which max out at 350 kW and can take your battery from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes. There 44.4 cubic feet of total cargo space, a 0.7 cubic foot frunk, an optional augmented reality heads-up display, and a roomy spacious interior. All in a car that really looks the part, even if the SUV design isn’t what you’d normally expect from a performance car.
Tesla Model Y Performance: 3.5 seconds, 155 mph
The newest Tesla to hit the market is also the slowest. But in this case “slow” is relative, especially when the Model Y Performance is involved. It may not be as fast off the mark, and can’t reach the same top speeds, but there’s still a lot of love from an SUV that can reach 155 mph and can go from 0-60 in just 3.5 seconds. That’s with all the same kind of SUV features enjoyed by Model X drivers — albeit in a smaller shell.
This particular Model Y offers 303 miles of range, and packs in up to 76 cubic feet of storage space. On top of that you have Autopilot features, a minimalist and spacious interior, up to 250 kW Supercharging, and up to 3,500 lbs of towing capacity. All for less than half the price of a comparable Model X.
Mercedes AMG EQS 53: 3.4 seconds, 137 mph
A car that’s very quick to get going, but tapers out a little sooner than we’d have liked. Still, the Mercedes AMG EQS 53, aside from being a mouthful of a name, is a pretty speedy beast. It can travel from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, which is bound to send your skull back into your seat, with a maximum speed of 136 mph. A little disappointing, but not too shabby.
This particular EQS also comes with up to 63 cubic feet of cargo capacity, which is an impressively SUV-tier amount of storage in a sedan. There’s also 353 miles of range, active steering and distance assistance, massaging and ventilated seats, a built-in garage door opener, the giant-sized MBUX Hyperscreen and an optional augmented reality display.
In short this is a car that can go quite fast, in one of the most luxurious ways imaginable. It may not have a record-breaking top speed, but I think we can let that slide this time.
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition: 3.5 seconds, 124 mph
While the all-electric Mustang Mach-E doesn’t have the best top speed, it’s still pretty quick off the line. 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 124mph. That may not be as much as a traditional Mustang, but that’s what happens when you slap a sporty brand onto a crossover SUV. Though naturally you need the high-powered GT Performance Edition model if you want to hit these sorts of speeds.
But what else do you get to make this motor worth picking up? 260 miles of range, 59.7 cubic feet of total cargo space, a 10.2-inch digital screen with actual buttons, Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free autonomous driver assistance, and the ability to use your phone as a key. Charging speed tops out at 115 kW, which promises to go from 10-80% in 38 minutes. Which isn’t particularly fast, all things considered, so bear that in mind before you go speeding off.
Audi e-tron GT: 3.9 seconds, 152 mph
If you’re after some German engineering, but Mercedes is not quite to your taste, then Audi might be the automaker to offer some high-speed thrills. It’s not offering Tesla or Lucid tier speeds, but you can still go from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and reach speeds as high as 155 mph. Perfect for a jaunt down a quiet Autobahn on a Saturday night.
With that you get 238 miles of range, a panoramic glass roof, the sport version of Audi’s adaptive air suspension, parking assistance, lane departure warnings, built-in navigation and more. Of course, unlike some of the other cars in this list, it’s not an SUV. So interior space is at a premium — which means just 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
And, as our Audi e-Tron GT review notes, there isn’t a lot of space in the back. Which is a good thing, because passengers are usually just dead weight. You won’t be able to drive that fast with your friends in the back seat.
Honorable mention: Tesla Roadster Gen 2: 1.9 seconds, 250+ mph
With every other Tesla on sale making this list, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the upcoming second generation Tesla Roadster. While the car has been perpetually delayed, and seems to have been in development since the launch of the original Roadster 14 years ago, it does pack in some impressive specs.
Tesla claims that the car will be able to go from 0-60 mph in less than 1.9 seconds, undercutting the Model S Plaid by almost a full second, and will offer a top speed in excess of 250 miles per hour. Granted, we haven’t seen this car in action, but considering Tesla’s achievements with the Plaid powertrain we’re inclined to be optimistic. Not that many people will be driving one. Not only is this car expected to cost at least $250,000, it would rely on Tesla actually releasing the thing.