Think a luxurious vehicle and an eco-friendly lifestyle are mutually exclusive? Think again. The Tesla Model S is just one of a growing number of dream cars that deliver zero-emission performance.
For many generations, the automobile represented America’s lust for independence, self-expression, and yes, wealth. Back in the 1950’s and ’60’s, no one was thinking about carbon emissions or dependence on fossil fuels. All we wanted was a shiny paint job, a big engine, and to feel the wind in our hair as we sped off into the sunset.
Some of us still want these things, but knowledge of what those gas-guzzling engines do to the planet keeps us from indulging. We choose tiny cars that get much better gas mileage, or perhaps we opt to bike or walk whenever possible. But what if it were possible to feel the thrill of screaming down the highway without leaving a trail of pollution behind you? The Tesla Model S, one of the most popular all-electric cars to hit the U.S. market, and the four other dream cars on this list, make it possible.
1. Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S offers two battery size options, with the biggest capable of supplying 300 miles of travel at 55 mph. But who wants to go 55? Top speed for the Tesla Model S is around 130 mph (not your average electric car, eh?). The average annual fuel cost for comparable gas-powered dream cars is over $5,000–the Tesla costs about $934. And have we mentioned it’s stunning to look at?
2. BMW i3
The latest to appear on the all-electric luxury car scene, the BMW i3 was only unveiled a few weeks ago. And while it is a hatchback, it still lives up to BMW’s high standards for aesthetic appeal and performance. “The car is designed to go from zero to 60 miles per hour (mph) in 7 seconds, up to top speeds of 93 mph,” reports Green Biz. About 25 percent of the plastics in the interior and 25 percent of the thermoplastics parts on the exterior were sourced from recycled materials or renewable sources, says BMW. The i3 will hit showrooms in the U.S. in spring 2014.
3. Fisker Karma
The Fisker Karma was one of the first brands to prove that you can have luxury and performance while eliminating carbon emissions. It features a “a very respectable 403 horsepower coupled with a jaw dropping 951 lb-ft of torque” which delivers “a zero-to-60 time of 7.9 seconds and a 95 mile per hour top speed – in electric-only “Stealth Mode,” according to Left Land News. The Karma offered it all, and many had high hopes for the brand. Unfortunately, the company has experienced money troubles in the past year, and some fear it will fold. Silver lining: the once $100,000 car can now be scooped up for about half the price.
4. Venturi America
Venturi calls the America a “high-riding sports car,” and with impressive ground clearance and a dune-buggy like appearance it’s not hard to see why. The valet will never bottom out when parking this two passenger beauty. “Powered by a 53 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, the America has a driving a range of around 186 miles (presumably in Cruising mode) with a top speed of 124 miles per hour,” reports Autoblog. The bad news? Venturi is only making 100 of these door-less electric enduro cars, and in an ironic twist, none of will be sold in the U.S.
5. Rimac Concept One
Developed by a Croatian company called Rimac Automobili, the Concept One is meant to destroy our assumptions about how dream cars operate. The Concept One uses a set of four electric motors, one for each wheel, which allow the car to go from 0 to 60 mph in only 2.8 seconds, not topping out until about 190 mph. The interior, designed by the leather-specialists from Vilner, makes you feel like you’re in a well-appointed space ship, right down to the high-tech dials and ergonomic, hand-tailored seats.
Related Reading on Ecosalon:
Images: Tesla Motors, Fisker, thesupermat, Rimac Automobili