Shifting consumer demand has created a new niche of vehicle buyers — customers interested in battery-electric sports cars.
Pressure from this segment is pushing sports car brands to take electric car manufacturing more seriously and may even inspire a transformation of the sector.
Sports Car Brands Prepare Pivot to Electric
Sports car brands pursuing the new electric niche include major names like Porsche and Audi, as well as Lotus and Rimac. These brands have either already brought EVs to the market or are preparing to launch new offerings shortly.
Porsche launched its new Taycan line in 2019. The 2022 model offers 0-60 mph acceleration in around 3 to 3.8 seconds, a modest 192- 201-mile range and one of the best high-voltage battery warranties available so far.
The 2022 Audi e-tron GT arrived on the market in late 2021 and offered 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.1 seconds, a 10.1-inch MMI touch screen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. It also features complimentary white-glove in-home charger installation with purchase of the vehicle.
Croatian manufacturer and Porsche partner Rimac began delivering its electric C_Two — a sports car with 1,888 bhp, double-wishbone suspension and torque vectoring — in 2021.
As in other EV niches, several smaller players and electric vehicle startups are also attempting to capitalize on the trend. For example, Italian design firm Pininfarina is preparing to bring its first car to the market, the Battista, a $2.4 million electric supercar. Chinese startup Faraday is set to bring its electric sports car, the more affordable Future FF 91, to the U.S. in 2022.
Other brands may be poised to jump in on the trend shortly. Rumors suggest that Chevrolet — already heavily invested in the EV space — may be on track to bring the first electric Corvette to market sometime in 2023.
Why Sports Car Makers Are Switching to Electric Vehicles
As the larger electric vehicle market sees record growth, sports car designers are betting that their customer base is either already interested in EVs or willing to make the switch soon.
Editor-in-chief of Road & Track Mike Guy told ABC News that he believes while sports car buyers “talk a big talk,” they’ll eventually be won over by the new EV offerings.
In Guy’s view, EVs make for a good addition to any sports car manufacturer’s lineup. Market forces will also likely force skeptics to eventually adopt electrification, even if they have concerns about performance or the potential loss of manual transmissions.
How EV Demand May Change the Automotive Industry
The shift toward electric sports cars reflects bigger moves being made in the automotive industry at large. New electric trucks, motorbikes, plug-in hybrids and a growing range of affordable electric vehicles are hitting the market with some regularity. Startups, niche players and big-name automakers are all investing in the trend.
The success of EV automaker Tesla — which became one of the few companies to trade with a market capitalization of $1 trillion in October 2021 — may also be encouraging companies to consider EV manufacturing.
At the same time, new EV infrastructure is being built around the U.S., helping to make charging these vehicles faster and more practical.
While drivers are still likely to have an easier time finding a gas station than a charge point, more chargers are available than ever. This will make “range anxiety” less of a threat to would-be EV adopters.
The Current EV Moment Will Likely Change Sports Cars Forever
As EVs become more popular, there will likely be even more buy-in to electrification by sports car brands.
The success of early electric sports car experiments may also push brands toward EVs. If consumers embrace the new offerings from Audi, Porsche, Tesla and other manufacturers, other sports car companies may invest more heavily in the EV space.