Hardigree and I drove our respective red supercars at roughly the same time yesterday. While he went for the flashy Audi R8 V12 LeMans TDI Prototype and was escorted through traffic like a Russian Oil Baron by a phalanx of Audi Q7s, I hopped into the Hybrid Technologies Lithium Powered Super Car with the guy who built it. There was no top, so I enjoyed the welcome good weather—at last!—in NYC. OK, maybe the name needs a little work, but the car itself was a hoot to drive.
"Yeah, go slow over this cable tray cause the nose is so low, but in the tunnel why don't you punch it and see what it can do"—those were the orders of the cars' keeper gave. Though styling is not necessarily the car's strong point, its simplicity and performance are respectable. The car starts with a tubular space frame and adds a 78 kW direct drive, a three-phase brushless A/C motor powered by 10 maintenance-free lithium ion battery packs. Those batteries will charge by way of 120V power in 8-10 hours and run for 100 miles on a charge. All of that is shrouded under a completely carbon-fiber body, which encases leather-clad seating. The whole shebang weighs in at 2300 lbs. and considering electric motors make max torque at zero RPM, this thing scoots pretty well. 0-60 will pass in about 5 seconds, and the car has a top speed around 120 mph.
Now that the formalities are out of the way, we're ready to go out on a limb and say this is a better concept car than Die-Hardigree-with-a-Vengence's obnoxious Audi. Lets look at it objectively. The Audi's glorious V12 turbo diesel has been neutered and runs at a mere 250 HP; the electric car runs wide open with full power off the line. The Audi is constructed of soft, malleable aluminum; the electric car is fabricated of a race-car style tube frame and delicious crunchy carbon fiber. The seats are firm but nonadjustable, a clever strategy to simplify operation and cut a substantial amount of waeight compared to the leather ensconced, powered Audi helms. Whereas weight like that forces the audi to add baloney like power steering and power brakes, the little pop top is all direct connect. the steering is heavy as are the brakes, but that just makes you feel like Juan Fangio in his '57 win at Monaco. Sure it's simple and unrefined, but that means it's also simple and unrefined. The utter lack of pretension and the delightfully direct nature of the car was refreshing. Topping it off, we folded in behind the mob squad surrounding the Audi while in traffic, and we were the ones who got the natives asking about it. Clearly, the electric emerges triumphant. [Hybrid Technologies]