The Electric Powertrain grouping is gathering momentum as arguably the most compelling and eye-opening of all here as battery power continues to convert the most die-hard automotive purists with its ability to deliver lightning speed and breathtaking instant torque that can put even heavyweight V8s and V12s to shame.
As more OEMs enter the BEV ring (including ICE thoroughbred Ferrari, which is quietly developing plans for a future in electrification), each one is still vying to beat the undisputed champion, Tesla, which won last year’s inaugural award, as well as winning our Green Engine award for five years running. This year, the Californian tech company took the top prize by a margin of 127 points – leading a formidable pack comprising BMW’s impressive i3S, the Nissan Leaf and the VW e-Golf, to name a few.
The full-electric powertrains found in Tesla’s Model S and Model X SUV have been unrivalled when it comes to both performance and driving range, and its upcoming Model 3 will surely be just as category-defining when it finally arrives.
However, it was the high-tech dual-motor powertrain found in the Model S P100D, fitted with Ludicrous mode, which truly blew judges away. With a 100kWh lithium-ion battery providing 510ps to the rear wheels and 263ps to the front wheels it is one of the world’s fastest accelerating cars, with a stomach-clenching 0-100km/h time of just 2.5 seconds and 967Nm of unrelenting torque.
This performance, as well as a range of 613km (381 miles) on NEDC and not a single molecule of CO2 emitted from the car – all generated from the same battery technology that powers our cell phones – is something to be marvelled at, and makes it a worthy winner of this title.
Motoring journalist Angus MacKenzie says Tesla’s creation is “still the benchmark EV powertrain”, and Yogendra Pratap of Auto Today in India echoed similar praise by claiming it is “the gold standard and flag bearer for electric powertrains”.