Photo: Genovation Cars
16.09.2020 | 7 minutes

Top speeds of 260 kph: Electric sports cars conquer the automobile market

The number of vehicle registrations for new electric cars has grown drastically. It jumped 40 percent in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year. High powered models with more than 400 hp are increasingly gaining in popularity.

Capable of reaching 100 kph in less than five seconds. It’s a rate of acceleration that pounds your body into the vehicle’s seatback. Driving a new electric car with an extremely powerful engine makes you feel like you’re sitting in the cockpit of a Formula E 2020 racecar.

High speeds, even at the charging station

The new electric sports cars, including the Volvo Polestar 2, Porsche Taycan Turbo S, and the planned BMW i7, not only break records in terms of top speeds, but they are also capable of rapidly charging their batteries.

The new models have a system voltage of up to 800 volts, which is previously unheard of in a “traditional” electric car. Developers at Porsche reduced the cable cross-section in the Taycan, which shrunk the necessary installation space and reduced the vehicle’s weight. These moves resulted in shortened charging times and higher power output. The connection to a rapid DC charging station, such as the ABB Terra 54 or 94, is a prerequisite for the rapid charging time. It takes less than 30 minutes to charge the Taycan’s battery to 80 percent of its capacity.

The charging process at the rapid DC charging station takes only slightly longer for the Volvo Polestar 2. The vehicle reaches 80 percent of its charge in just under 40 minutes at charging capacities up to 150 kW.

Rapid charging is also becoming increasingly important in everyday life, such as in restaurant and supermarket parking lots where people stay briefly and the vehicle needs to be charged quickly. Electric car drivers also want to charge more quickly in hotel parking structures and surface lots. ABB, supplier of the charging current for the Formula E 2020, provides the appropriate hardware, which is also suitable for everyday commercial use when coupled with the right digital service.

Improved recuperation providing greater range

All processes in an electric car should run with the greatest energy efficiency possible. This is all the more important for electric sports cars, as they feature powerful engines, thereby requiring more energy. Energy recovery through recuperation is critical here.

The car brakes as soon as you take your foot off the gas pedal – that’s recuperation. The kinetic energy that results is used to power a generator, which in turn produces electricity through the electromotive resistance. This energy can then be used to accelerate the vehicle. In this manner the vehicle’s range can be used more effectively, increasing it by up to 20 percent.

Formula E technology

The Volvo Polestar 2 and the Porsche Taycan can be adapted to accommodate a recuperation system, similar to the Formula E racecars. This means that experienced drivers can manage without almost ever using the brake.

The Formula E is the world’s first fully electric racing series and has been taking place since 2015. The major car manufacturers from Audi to Renault demonstrate the sportiness of electromobility every year. Their racecar know-how has also influenced research and development of the electric sports cars that are now coming onto the market. For example, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team’s PorscheX Electric served in some areas as a template for the Porsche Taycan models.

Gradually getting a feel for the new way of driving

However, anyone sitting behind the wheel of an electric sports car for the first time should not “put the pedal to the metal.” “Even for more experienced drivers, I advise that they first slowly get used to the new driving experience. The difference is tremendous,” explains driving instructor and electric car expert Daniel Pacher. Vehicles like the Polestar 2 (408 hp) and the Taycan (530 hp and up) accelerate to 100 kph in less than five seconds – without shifting. “You literally get pounded into your seatback. Gasoline and diesel engines cannot keep pace. As a driver, you shouldn’t underestimate how much focus is required,” the expert advises.

What’s more, electric cars are generally quiet, which means that you lose the feeling of acceleration. “You get used to it, of course. But especially for your first few drives, it can’t hurt to check the speedometer regularly. You quickly find yourself at speeds beyond the permitted speed,” explains Pacher.


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