Best hybrid and electric sports cars
Hybrid and electric sports cars are becoming increasingly common, as developments in technology allow manufacturers to harness more power and speed to entertain drivers.
Hybrid technology especially is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible from performance cars: the addition of things like batteries, electric motors and regenerative braking is making desirable cars quicker, more economical and cleaner too.
The latter point is perhaps the most important, ensuring that eye-catching sports cars can remain a feature on our roads as the issue of CO2 emissions gains more and more traction.
Electric cars are also challenging the benchmarks traditionally set by the supercar elite. Gone are the days of milk floats trundling along at walking pace: modern electric cars are naturally fast off the line, and the best equipped models are more than a match for your Ferraris and Lamborghinis from a standing start.
So, which hybrid and electric sports cars are the pick of the bunch? Scroll down to see a handful of our favourites, including established models and cars that are due to arrive in the very near future...
The Porsche Taycan is the German manufacturer's first electric car, and it's fair to say that they've hit the ground running: in its most powerful form – the top-spec Turbo S – the Taycan can hit 0-62mph in just 2.8 seconds on its way to a dizzying top speed of 161mph. How? Two electric motors that combine to produce 751bhp in 'overboost' mode, that's how.
The performance is especially impressive given that the Taycan weight in excess of two tonnes. We dread to think what it would be capable of if it was stripped down for a run at a race track...
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S isn’t a true sports car, but it’s still about as fast as anything else on the road today. Using Tesla’s fabled ‘Ludicrous Mode’ setting, the Model S is capable of 0-60mph in a savage 2.4 seconds, en route to a top speed of 155mph.
Its two electric motors – one of which is a ‘high-performance’ unit – combine to produce 751bhp; the same as you get in the Taycan and more than you get from most supercars. True, it's not especially agile around a corner, but in a straight it's line nothing short of astonishing.
The Pininfarina Battista has yet to be released, although if its numbers are anything to go by it should be jaw-dropping to drive: four electric motors join forces to produce a scarcely believable 1,873bhp, as well as 2,300Nm of torque. 0-62mph is said to take less than two seconds, and you'll be passing the 186mph mark in 12 seconds. The top speed? 217mph.
Better still is that the Battista will be sold with a 120kWh battery, meaning that long-distance driving should be a piece of cake on roads lined with rapid-charging stations. Only 150 are set to be built, however... at a cost of £2 million apiece.
The hybrid Honda NSX produces 573bhp, the majority of which comes from its 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine. The rest is developed by three electric motors: one for each front wheel and a third for the rear axle, giving the NSX four-wheel drive.
This helps the handling enormously, providing lots of grip and making the NSX extremely fun to drive. It’s fast, too, with a punchy 0-62mph figure of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 191mph.
The Lotus Evija is another of those electric hypercars that's due to be released soon, but hasn't quite made production just yet. It's worthy of inclusion on this list though, thanks to its 1,972bhp and a top speed of over 200mph.
For purists, the Evjia is a very un-Lotus type of car, as it makes up for its (probable) high kerbweight with vast amounts of power. Like the Battista above, it will only be sold in limited numbers and the asking price will be enormous: something in the region of £2 million. It's a case of 'if you have to ask, you can't afford it'.
Lexus LC 500h
The hybrid version of the Lexus LC is slightly less of a dinosaur than its gas-guzzling, non-hybrid sibling: while the latter will return 24.4mpg from its 5.0-litre V8 engine, the former sees a much more reasonable 43.5mpg thanks to its 3.5-litre unit.
In conjunction with the electric motor, the LC 500h produces 354bhp, which translates into a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds. A cutting-edge platform and low centre of gravity make for superb handling, while the interior is one of the most luxurious and attractive on the market.
There are two versions of the BMW i8: the Coupe and the Roadster. Both are excellent, and with the Roadster you have the option (albeit an expensive one) of trading a small amount of performance for exquisite open-top driving. The Coupe is capable of 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds; this is two tenths faster than the Roadster, which weighs 60kg more due to the retractable roof mechanism.
Both are limited to a top speed of 155mph, and both will do up to 75mph on electric power alone, so you can enjoy zero-emissions driving even on the motorway. The combination of the i8’s 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor is a technological tour de force, making it the best hybrid sports car you can buy.
And compared to some of the electric hypercars higher up the page, it's positively cheap too.
DrivingElectric: related articles
|These are the fastest electric cars in the world|
|Top 10 long-range electric cars on sale|
|What is a plug-in hybrid, or PHEV?|