Give Performance EVs a Chance

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

I see you, Instagram commenters. Whenever I read something on a Motor1 post like, “Abomination,” and “Nobody wants this,” it makes me smirk—especially when we’re talking about the quickest and most powerful Porsche ever built. My favorite line: “Even if vegan cars have 2,000 horsepower they are still trash.” Chef’s kiss.

It’s fair to be skeptical of electric vehicles, especially since the push for mass electrification has dragged on for years. And most certainly, those are fair criticisms to lob at appliances like the Volkswagen ID.4 and Nissan Ariya—electric crossovers that truly do nothing to separate themselves from the swathes of better gas alternatives, other than “battery.”

But when those insults are directed at a 1,092-hp Porsche that gets to 60 mph in 2.1 seconds—what are we even doing here?

Part of the problem comes down to exposure, or lack thereof. It’s easier to say an EV sucks when the only one you’ve experienced firsthand in is an eight-year-old Nissan Leaf. If someone handed you an iPhone 7 in 2024, you’d say the same thing.

Technology evolves rapidly, and modern EVs have come a long way in a short time. The current market has so many awe-inspiring and soul-stirring electric vehicles that you’d be shocked (pun intended).

Take the Rimac Nevera. Two years ago I spent a glorious 30 minutes behind the wheel of what is still the quickest production car in the world. No, the batteries don’t roar to life like the W-16 in the Chiron, nor does an electric powertrain offer the same delectable character as a 911 GT3’s flat-six at 9,000 rpm. The Rimac does other things spectacularly.

The Nevera launches to 60 quicker than the mind can comprehend. No gas engine in the world delivers the same wallop of torque. And a clever torque vectoring system sends the exact amount of twist to each wheel, adjusting that amount at a rate of 100 times per second, so you can go full speed into a turn and the Nevera knows exactly how much twist you need to maximize exit speeds. Try that in a Bugatti and see what happens.

2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review

The Nevera is a technological marvel. It’s the amalgamation of my wildest childhood automotive fantasies come to life. Nineteen hundred horsepower packed into a futuristic design with spaceship sounds pumping from the speakers while you full send it into a corner—it’s everything video games promised.

The Porsche Taycan has a lot of those same qualities; Instant acceleration matched with an excellent chassis and a world-class suspension. I rode shotgun in the Taycan Turbo GT for a few laps of Porsche’s Atlanta test track with pro driver Jörg Bergmeister at the wheel. And for a posh four-door that weighs nearly 5,000 pounds, it was one of the most dynamic passenger experiences in recent memory.

Engineering is truly amazing.

2023 Rimac Nevera First Drive Review

The Nevera is a technological marvel… it’s everything video games promised.

And it’s not just the most extreme and unattainable, either. Even on the more affordable side of things, cars like the BMW i4 M50, Polestar 2 Performance, and Kia EV6 GT are ripe with instant torque and mind-bending acceleration. The EV6 GT will get you to 60 miles per hour in nearly 3.0 seconds flat. In a Kia.

Soon the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N will go on sale and—given the brand’s track record—it’s bound to be another smash-hit from Hyundai’s N Performance division. That, too, is packed to the gills with power (641 hp) and will get you to 60 in just over 3.0 seconds.

That’s not to say you won’t have to make sacrifices, though. There’s certainly an emotional connection missing. Even the quickest and most powerful EVs are about as feelsome as an iPhone when you’re just driving around town; Batteries and electric motors have very little personality. Bugatti’s W-16 (RIP) feels alive underhood of a Chiron—you can barely tell Rimac’s batteries are even there.

2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Front
2023 Kia EV6 GT Exterior Rear Quarter

The sound and vibration you get from a real gas engine is missing, obviously. Some companies, like Hyundai, are trying to simulate the noise of a gas engine—and it doesn’t sound half bad on the Ioniq 5 N, to be honest. But it’s still a far cry from the real thing.

And then there’s the big one: No manual transmission. The single-speed gearbox in most EVs is duller than dirt; it virtually does away with the idea of shifting entirely. Some companies like Toyota, to their credit, are trying to figure out how to get manuals in their EVs. But it’ll probably still feel a lot like your little brother playing a video game with the controller unplugged. Disconnected entirely.

Affordability is still an issue too. Of all the cars mentioned above, the Kia EV6 GT is the cheapest—and it still costs $62,975. Prices overall will eventually get cheaper as the initial investments in tooling, manufacturing, and battery technology settle, and electric performance cars (in theory) should get cheaper too. Volkswagen recently tempted us with promises of a $25,000 electric GTI, and there are rumors of other sub-$40,000 performance EVs on the horizon

Polestar 2 BST Edition 270

So no, performance EVs aren’t perfect. At least not yet. Even some of the cars I mentioned here don’t move the needle as much as their gas counterparts do in many respects. But electrification is inevitable, so instead of poo-pooing the idea of performance EVs entirely, it’s worth giving some of them a shot. The experience is different, but there’s still a lot to like.

Go take a ride in a Taycan or borrow a buddy’s EV6 GT—who knows, you might actually enjoy yourself.

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