I know the Bugatti Chiron isn’t normally considered a “green” car, but there’s at least one stage in its life where it does give something back to the environment: a burst of electrical power. Of course, it’s still fundamentally a ridiculous vehicle the capabilities of which virtually no one who buys it will ever remotely tap, but we got to give credit where it’s due.

Top Gear (the website, not any of the gripping television dramas) did an interesting story on how the Chiron is produced in Molsheim, France, and in that story there was a section about dyno testing the car:

The dynamometer gets its own special room and ventilation. Larger electric cables were installed because the ones needed for the Veyron couldn’t cope with the Chiron’s 1,479bhp and huge torque. During the test, it produces up to 1,200 amps, and excess power created during this test is given back to Molsheim. That’s right. Not only does the Chiron power you up to 261mph, it’ll also power the locals’ kettles and toasters. Magic.

While I’m more likely to attribute this to science than magic (I wasn’t there, though—maybe some magic was involved) I did do a little bit of math to see just how much power the Chiron makes when tested.

The formula for amps to kWh of AC, single-phase power (like a house uses) is: P(kW) = PF × I(A) × V(V) / 1000

So, if we use the 1,200 peak amp number there, and multiply that by the voltage (for France, that means 230 volts), and the PF is the “power factor,” which I think we can assume is good in Europe, so 0.95.

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With that in mind, we get 0.95 x 1200 x 230 /1000= 262.2 kWh.

The average French household uses 122 kWh per week, so does that mean each three-hour test of the Chiron generates enough power to run a happy, wine-soaked Molsheim home for about two weeks?

Maybe? I guess it all depends on how long that Chiron is producing the peak power of 1200 amps, and likely a hell of a lot of other factors I’m just too stupid to fully understand.

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Still, it’s cool that they bothered to have the dyno act as a generator to put power back into the power grid.

It’s still a ridiculous car, though.