World's Fastest Car Moves With Electric

THE guys at Shelby SuperCars, having taken down the mighty Bugatti Veyron to claim the title of fastest car on the planet, are challenging Tesla Motors for electro-supremacy with an EV which promises to put down 1,000 horsepower.

The boutique automaker caught our attention when it first mentioned the Ultimate Aero EV last summer, and now it has come through with some specs. They are pretty outlandish with a speed of zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds and a 10-minute recharge time but we will suspend our skepticism long enough to clear some space in the Autopia Fantasy Garage.

Shelby says the Ultimate Aero EV will showcase the company's "All-Electric Scalable Powertrain," which it says can be tailored to suit a wide variety of vehicles, from compact city cars to heavy-duty trucks and even military vehicles.

For the uninitiated, Shelby SuperCars builds insanely overpowered and absurdly fast cars. The fossil-fuelburning 2009 Ultimate Aero produces 1,287 horsepower and is said to be capable of 270 mph. That oughta be enough to retain the "world's fastest car" title Shelby took from Bugatti back in 2007 when an Aero hit 256.18 mph.

As for the car's electric twin sister, Shelby says it'll feature twin liquid-cooled motors that together produce 1,000 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque. The Tesla which, it should be said, favors agility over brawn, having been born of Lotus DNA puts out 248 horsepower and 276 pound-feet. The twin-motor approach is not unusual: Fisker Automotive is using it in the Karma plug-in sedan it showed off at the Detroit auto show.

That power will flow through a three-speed automatic transmission that is electronically controlled to shift gears in less than a quarter of a second. Shelby says the Ultimate Aero EV will do zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds and top out at 208 mph. The battery is presumably made of lithium-ion, but Shelby does not say if it will be good for 150 to 200 miles on a single charge. That seems reasonable, given that Tesla claims 224 for the Roadster. But Shelby's claim that its "Charge on the Run" on-board charging system recharges the battery in 10 minutes (at 220 volts) leaves us dubious.

Shelby says the super EV will roll out of the factory by the end of this year. We are skeptical, because if there is anything Tesla has shown us, it is bringing a high-performance electric sports car to market on time and on budget is really tough. Still, Shelby says it will have a running pre-production model by the end of the second quarter and promises to bring it to "one of America's super-speedways to prove its claims" in front of journalists.


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