Electric cars can slash our fuel bills to pennies and cut the cost of car ownership. For most of us that’s a good thing, but some people want to pay a premium.
Some want you to advertise the fact they have money to burn. It’s the very basis of a capitalist society. Think about it, without that innate desire to rub our success in our neighbour’s face then designer labels just wouldn’t be a thing.
It’s just the way of the world. So when the electric car hit the streets we already knew there would be someone there to make it faster, plusher, grander and more gold-plated.
So what are the most expensive electric cars in the world?
Not all of this selection is currently in production. Some of them haven’t made it to the streets and others have quietly disappeared. In fact, it’s stunning how many of the world’s most expensive electric cars you actually can’t buy…
This, though, is an amazing insight into the ridiculous world of crazy electric cars with equally crazy price tags.
1. Rimac Concept One
Price: $1 million
The most expensive electric car in the world is also an exception to the rule. It might cost $1 million, but the Rimac One is a technical masterpiece that recently blew the LaFerrari off the dragstrip.
This isn’t about window dressing or overpriced ornaments, pretty much every cent comes with an ROI you can understand. It might actually be the best hypercar on the planet.
It comes with the electrical equivalent of 1088bhp and a separate motor for each wheel. That means the Rimac One comes with something more than four-wheel-drive. It’s actually four-wheel torque vectoring that you can tweak with the onboard computers to make the car oversteer, understeer or four-wheel drift.
For tech geeks, that’s worth the price of admission on its own.
It hits 60mph in 2.8s, 125mph in 6.2s and it tops out at 227mph. It’s head and shoulders above any other electric car on the road when it comes to performance. In fact, scratch that, it’s faster than pretty much anything.
You can add exclusivity to the mix as well. Rimac has promised to limit production to just eight. That’s eight, globally, so there’s just no chance of one parking next to you at the yacht club.
The Rimac gets the basics right, too. It’s elegant, muscular lines are dressed in carbon fiber and the interior is a high-tech, touchscreen-led paradise that makes the inside of a Ferrari look like a cluttered mess.
It’s the car we wanted the next generation Bugatti Veyron to be. It’s a technical masterpiece, a car that challenges the way you think about cars and a tiny company in Croatia made it all work.
This, right here, is a modern day miracle. It’s the benchmark, the Bugatti Chiron of the electric car world. Almost…
The only people that could beat Rimac right now are themselves. So Mate Rimac and his team have done exactly that. They’ve just revealed the first pictures of the Concept One S. That car will have 1384bhp, it will hit 60mph in 2.5s, top out at 227mph and it will be even more expensive.
It’s ludicrous, it’s over the top and it’s a crazy price. But we love the Rimac One, it’s the poster child of the EV world.
2. Faraday Future FFZero1
The Faraday Future FFZero1 concept looks like the result of an artistically-gifted child’s overactive imagination. But then so did the Rimac, and Faraday Future is making all the right noises behind the scenes.
Designer Richard Kim is the man behind the BMW i3 and i8, the company has poached staff from Tesla and BMW and it has 550 staff working at the company now. It has also started work on a $1 billion factory near Las Vegas.
Then there’s the owner, the obscenely rich Jia Yueting. Known as the Chinese Steve Jobs, Yueting’s empire spans everything from Smart TVs to bicycles and mobile phones. His holding company is worth more than $15 billion, he’s personally good for $7.9 billion and he has now set his sights on becoming China’s Elon Musk.
Faraday is just one part of the all-electric assault. LeEco is working on an autonomous luxury taxi and a partnership with Aston Martin to create an electric production version of the Rapide. It’s a complete collection and it needs a halo car.
That’s the FFZero1 and, in some form or another, it’s going to happen. It will be a toned down version of this madcap concept. It will have more than one seat and it won’t hug the ground quite like this or it won’t clear the kerb. The sharp edges on the front end might need filing off and we’re not sure the helmet that delivers water and force feeds oxygen to the driver will make it through the planning stages either.
It should be good for 200mph, though. It should have downforce to spare and it should be a modern hypercar that footballers and movie stars are falling over themselves to buy.
FFZero1 also has another problem. The Rimac One is already here and the problem with a halo car is that it can’t be ‘quite good’. It has to be the best, so look for something truly memorable, with a price tag to match, when it finally hits the road.
If there’s change from $1 million, it will be more shocking than this car’s cornering speed.
3. Mercedes Benz SLS Electric Drive
The electric Mercedes sportscar actually made it into production, briefly, but there are almost certainly less than 20 of these plug-in SLS in private hands. So you can write it off as a failure or start tracking one down, because it could be worth a fortune one day.
Like the Rimac, the SLS comes with an electric motor for each wheel and the electrical equivalent of 740bhp. It has a massive 737lb/ft of torque, too, but the 1200lb battery pack slows the car down. Even a full carbon-fiber monocoque can’t make up for that kind of handicap.
So the 0-60mph time of 3.9s is about as good as things were likely to get and it was always going to be electronically limited to 155mph on paper to respect an age-old agreement between Mercedes, Audi and BMW.
Mercedes put the car into production in 2014 and it’s a stark indication of how far the technology has come in just two years. This car took 3 hours to charge with a 400v predecessor to the supercharger, it weighed 4650lb, 1230lb more than the petrol version and the range was limited to 155 miles.
Still, Mercedes was brave enough to go public with this car and actually put it on sale at a time when Audi was teasing us with R8 e tron concepts and BMW could only offer hybrids. It was rough, it was heavy and it was expensive. But the SLS Electric Drive was also a pioneer and it deserves its place in the history books.
4. Rolls-Royce 102 EX
Yes, we know Rolls-Royce has already revealed the 103 EX, but that isn’t a car. It’s a futurist’s dream of what motoring could be like. The Electric Phantom, though, is a realistic proposition.
Rolls-Royce has already built one and let journalists loose in it, even though it claims it won’t make it. This is the future of the world’s most luxurious car manufacturer, though, traditional craftsmanship with electric power.
It’s a marriage of old and new that could become Rolls Royce’s USP. It doesn’t need to follow the herd to try and create a sci-fi program on wheels. Heritage is the company’s calling card, so it needs to actually build and sell cars exactly like this.
Don’t expect anything particularly revolutionary, the iconic British manufacturer has basically just swapped out the V12 petrol engine for a battery pack and motor that gives it 290kW and a 124-mile range.
But it’s a Rolls-Royce, it doesn’t need massive performance. It needs to waft along in perfect silence, with the Lord of the Manor in the back reading a newspaper and Jeeves doing the driving.
5. Genovation GXE
Price: $330, 000
Take $330,000 in crisp banknotes to Genovation GXE and they’ll give you the fastest street-legal electric car in the world. They’ll also give you a rebuilt Corvette Z06 C6, because they are one and the same thing.
The Genovation GXE hit a verified 205.6mph at the Space Shuttle Landing Facility at Cape Canaveral. It’s probably a matter of time before Rimac takes that record, or even Tesla if it wants to turn up the wick on the P100D. But right now this car has the bragging rights.
The GXE has two electric motors, with 250kW each at their disposal. That means it has 602lb/ft of torque, on tap from a dead start, and the equivalent of 660bhp.
It’s rear-wheel-drive and it was developed with a specific goal in mind, but despite the additional weight the team was determined to make it a proper sportscar. The weight distribution is 50/50 front/rear and the US outfit will take the car to the Nurburgring in Germany to prove its handling chops soon.
You get 130 miles of range with the GXE, under normal conditions. That’s enough, but you have to make allowances for this car. It isn’t a Tesla.
6. Lightning GT
We all want this to be true, but the Lightning GT has had more comebacks than Rocky and it’s due for yet another relaunch this Summer.
Now we’re not calling shenanigans just yet. Launching a boutique car company is a rocky road, but we thought twice about including it here just because it is starting to look like vaporware. Lightning needs to stop launching this car and start producing it.
The British firm launched a traditional petrol-powered version of this very car all the way back in 2008. Since then it has evolved into a diesel and now it’s an all-electric supercar. We just hope that’s the final spec and we don’t see a nuclear GT at the motor shows in the coming years.
Lightning claims to have two 22kWh Lithium-Titanate battery pack strings, that can recharge in ten minutes. It also comes with an onboard charger can fully charge the car in five hours. It’s possible, we guess.
You can technically order a Lightning and you might technically be able to put down a sizeable deposit on a $300,000 purchase. But just because you can, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.
7. eRuf Model A
The world is waiting for an electric Porsche 911. But here’s the thing, there already was one. The eRuf Model A was hiding in plain sight the whole time.
If the name Ruf rings a bell then you either remember its iconic Yellowbird from the 1980s or you’ve played a lot of Gran Turismo. When Porsche rejected the chance to star in the game, this boutique German manufacturer stepped in.
Ruf specialises in stripping Porsches to the bare shell and building them back up into war machines. It isn’t a tuner, the cars get their own plates, but they sure look like Porsches.
Alois Ruf is an environmentalist, though, and was one of the leading lights of the electric scene before Tesla was even a thing. The eRuf Model A concept hit the streets back in 2008 and Ruf wanted to make zero emissions cars the core of his business.
He couldn’t do it. Economies of scale work in reverse, too, and the handful of cars he created were just too expensive for the market. That’s a shame, because his 4210lb Porsche 911 came with 150kW (200bhp), 479lb/ft of torque. It hit 60mph in less than seven seconds and it returned 200 miles on a single charge.
This all happened six years ago. If Ruf could have made a success of his electric venture then the car would have been exponentially better today.
8. Audi R8 e-tron
Price: $170,000 (TBC)
We’re guessing at the price, we have to be honest, because Audi just won’t tell us. We do know, though, that the electric R8 is coming. It has been with us since 2009 before it was canned. Now the project is back on the table, but Audi insists on 400km (250 miles) and we’re within touching distance of that goal.
Audi has laid out a plan for an electric SUV, but the R8 will be hot on its heels. It’s going to be incredible.
Of course it looks stunning, but it should also have 456bhp and torque to spare. Audi has come up with an innovative T-shape battery layout, too, to get the balance right on this rear-drive monster.
As soon as the Ingolstadt marque confirms the car, there’s going to be a queue round the block. It’s just that good.
9. Mansory Tesla Model S P90D
The German tuning scene has taken a while to catch up with the electric car craze, partially because there’s just no way that they can extract more horsepower from the electric motors.
Apart from the odd crazed concept car, they have left well alone. But now Mansory, which is famous for creating insane carbon-fiber versions of petrol-powered supercars, has created a kit for the Model S.
Pretty much the only accusation you can level at the Tesla is that it looks, well, a bit too ordinary for its performance.
This is a car that can humble bone fide sporting legends on the drag strip thanks to its four-wheel-drive system and 713lb/ft of torque on tap that gives it a 2.8s 0-60mph time. But it looks like an anonymous sedan.
Mansory has taken care of that with a set of wheels, some carbon-fiber aero add-ons and a serious splash of color and verve on the inside. It used the standard Model S to demonstrate its wares, but the kit works for the P90D, too.
It doesn’t make the car any faster, but it does give it a touch of flair that some people will love. Nothing Mansory does comes cheap, though, so that means this is a seriously expensive car.
10. Tesla Model X P100D
A car you can actually walk into a showroom and buy is a bit of light relief in this rarefied list.
The Tesla is good, too, really good. The Model X is the SUV that can demolish a Ferrari or Lamborghini off the line. This shouldn’t even be a contest. When it’s equipped with the Ludicrous pack, it’s a seven-seater sportscar.
It comes with 289 miles of range, hits 60mph in 2.9s and a huge amount of horsepower. So even though this bus weighs in at around 5400lb, it is still just insane fast.
The interior is a quantum leap forward for the automotive world thanks to its 17” touchscreen, the falcon doors are cool now they work properly and it comes with the Autopilot system that even helps you drive.
The Model S P90D isn’t just great for an electric car, it’s a great car period. In this company, it looks like a performance bargain.
There you have it – these electric cars are definitely expensive, but if money was no object, which one would you pick?