THE SUPERCAR SPECIAL
Bloomberg Businessweek|March 08, 2021
Electrification is redefining what it means for a car to be extraordinary.
Hannah Elliott

The Koenigsegg Gemera, which made its worldwide public debut last March, has a carbon-fiber body every bit as visually stunning as its predecessor, the Koenigsegg Agera—a vehicle that until January held the title of fastest production car ever. It also has an advanced version of the Agera’s dihedral doors that, when opened, give the impression of wings taking flight. Massive air vents and aerodynamic flourishes, meanwhile, make it look just as menacing.

But there’s a radical difference between the two super cars that isn’t apparent until you pop the hood: Instead of the mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that is the roaring 960-horsepower heart of the Agera, the €1.5 million ($1.8 million) Gemera has a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-three engine—plus three electric motors. The combination of combustion and electric technology is good enough for a combined 1,700 hp. The Gemera is expected to shoot from zero to 60 mph in less than 2 seconds.

The Swedish manufacturer isn’t the only elite auto brand looking to electric power for its future. Pininfarina unveiled its 1,900-hp all-electric Battista in 2019, the same year Lotus revealed its 1,973-hp electric Evija. Both are slated for production this year. Ferrari is currently making its 986-hp SF90 Stradale hybrid. McLaren has also unveiled a $225,000 Artura hybrid that uses an electric motor to get to 205 mph.

Once an anomaly, supercars powered by electricity are redefining what it means to be extraordinary in the modern age. In the past two years, dozens of high-performance vehicles have sprung into existence, a veritable cascade of releases compared with the scattered few of previous decades. But now that 1,000plus horsepower and top speeds of 200 mph have become commonplace, automakers are relying on electric motors to push beyond the outer limits of the combustion engine.

According to some, electric is the only way forward. “The next phase of supercar automotive technology has to be electric,” says John Wiley, who manages valuation analytics for Hagerty Group LLC, which specializes in insuring these rare automobiles. “The electric motors are there. The performance is there. This is the next innovative step.”

David Lee, a businessman and car collector in California who owns a LaFerrari, a car that marked Ferrari’s first foray into hybrid technology, agrees. “From an engineering perspective, natural aspiration can give only so much power— and the automakers have maxed it out for these cars,” he says. “This is just the way it’s going.”

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