How much does a couple of hundredths of a second cost? Somewhere in excess of US$4 million, it would seem, as this Japanese supercapacitor supercar fractionally out-accelerates an upcoming Tesla Roadster worth less than 1/20th the price.
As EV genius Luke Workman once told us, electric vehicles have virtually limitless performance potential. "Your tire to street interface is your performance limiter," he said, and that's the first thing that came to mind when we saw the Aspark Owl blast onto the scene.
The Owl is a spartan electric sports car from Japan, and using an enhanced tire-to-street interface, it's just recorded a 1.89-second 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint.
That's a hundredth or two quicker than the purported 1.9-second 0-60 mph time on the upcoming Tesla Roadster, but to be fair, the Aspark team used hot race tires to get there.
The Owl itself looks like barely more than a drivetrain, a hastily assembled frame and a carbon fiber shell at the moment. And the test track where the feat was recorded wasn't even a test track at all. The Aspark team appears to have done it in the parking lot of an industrial estate, in pretty cramped quarters.
In a Facebook video released yesterday, the driver hits the gas, chirps off the line, hits triple digit kilometers in around 27 meters (88 ft) and then slams on the brakes to stop himself running into a vertical cliff face not much further in front of him. Watch the video here.
Still, as if we needed any more proof of how fast electric sports cars will be, a 1.89 second sprint will represent the quickest production car on the road if Aspark isn't gazumped by the time the Owl goes to production in around 2 years. And as these guys point out, acceleration is all that really counts on the road, where you'll humiliate any Lambo or Koenigsegg up to the speed limit and just have to sit there like everyone else.
The company is hoping to build 50 units, with gullwing doors, a fully digital dash, a steering wheel that has more buttons than a 90s stereo, a total weight of 850 kg (1,874 lb), a maximum power output of 320 kW (429 hp) and 764 Nm (563 lb-ft) of torque.
It'll be a 300-volt, 2,000 amp 4WD system powered by a combination of supercapacitors and batteries with an as yet unknown capacity or range. The price tag will be somewhere over US$4 million each.
Would we buy one? Heavens no. The Tesla Roadster is gonna start at $200 grand, and it'll have four seats, a huge range and will function as a very good actual automobile while only giving up a hundredth of a second or so in the sprint. In our experience, any sub-three second 0-100 time is more than enough to truly horrify most passengers. Sub-two seconds... Put it this way, make sure your mum's been drinking lots of milk before you try to show her what your Owl can do. She'll need the bone strength.
And anyway, at the rate these sprint times are coming down in the electric age, you might as well wait two years and buy something that'll get you up to freeway speed before you're finished blinking, with an on-call medical team ready to scrape your G-force-liquefied physical form out of the driver's seat so the next person can enjoy it. Why do things by halves?
Here's a cheesy CAD video for your enjoyment.
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