There is a distinct difference between being fast and being quick. A fast car is a car capable of hitting blisteringly high-top speed marks, while a quick car is a car capable of superior 0-60mph times. As such, a hybrid falls into the latter category because they are usually slow when it comes to top speeds.
However, hybrid cars do accelerate faster when compared to regular combustion cars. This is because electric engines are inherently better at providing power early. On the other hand, combustion engines take a while before they reach their optimum powerband, and only then they can provide maximum torque.
Electric vehicles are similar to hybrids, but they are often way faster. It is worth saying that the quickest cars in the world right now are electric because they offer 100% of their power through electric engines which work best from a standstill.
Even though hybrids do accelerate faster, this only makes a difference if the car is powerful enough already, which means that you should not expect a Toyota Prius to be quick nor fast.
Read this too: This is some great hybrid cars for commuters.
A crash course on hybrid powertrains
A hybrid is a car that offers a regular combustion engine mated to an electric engine in order to achieve superior efficiency results. This means that a hybrid is built to be efficient and not fast. So, if both the engines offer measly power figures, the car is not going to be faster than a more powerful combustion car.
However, the McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and the Porsche 918 have taught us a few things, the most important ones being that hybrids can do performance and efficiency. Ever since then, there were many hybrid supercars/sports cars, and many of them are still to come.
A hybrid works best in urban driving environments which comprise out of slow stop-and-go traffic. To achieve such impressive MPG results, hybrids rely on a technology called regenerative braking. This is a clever piece of technology that enables the car to store the energy which would otherwise be lost during braking.
Electric cars accelerate the fastest
The main reason why high-powered EVs are the quickest cars in the world is that they offer an abundance of torque immediately. Electric engines don’t need to spool up to a certain RPM range before they start offering maximum power, all of the power is available at any moment.
Combustion engines on the other hand do need optimum REV range to achieve maximum power. Furthermore, EVs don’t have any traditional gearboxes which also means that there are no power gaps between shifts, this makes them both quicker and smoother.
Moreover, they also tend to be heavier than most combustion engine cars which help to put the power down. Advanced traction control systems also work best when there are no gearshifts to worry about. As such, EVs deliver power continuously without interruptions.
As far as top speed is concerned, it is worth saying that both electric cars and hybrid cars are far from being the fastest. An inherent characteristic of an electric engine is that it starts to ease off when it reaches high speeds.
Main characteristics of quick cars
If you are thinking about buying a drag car, or you just want the fastest quarter-mile times for bragging purposes, you ought to consider these aspects. First of all, tuned cars tend to be the fastest because they don’t need to compensate for everyday use, but there are a few stock cars that can do a sub-9-second quarter-mile time.
In order for a car to be quick, it needs lots of power. A 0-60mph time in under 3 seconds usually requires 500-700hp. Rear-wheel-drive cars usually struggle to put the power down, but advanced traction control systems do manage to mitigate that.
Besides power and all-wheel drive, you should also opt for a car with a dual-clutch gearbox because it offers launch control and the fastest shifting times. Furthermore, heavy cars tend to be better at launching because they put more weight on the tires.
Aerodynamics, weight balance, suspension stiffness, and tires also make a massive difference. Tires should be performance rated, and they should also be wider at the back for optimum traction.
Which cars are the quickest right now?
The quickest car in the world right now is the 1900hp Rimac Nevera. This ludicrous EV hypercar does 0-60mph in just 1.9 seconds, and it reaches a quarter-mile mark in under 9 seconds, more specifically 8.5 seconds which is a world record.
The second quickest car is the Tesla Model S Plaid which does 0-60mph in around 2 seconds, quarter-mile time is 9.25 seconds which is absolutely insane for a 4-door sedan. The quickest hybrid right now is the Ferrari SF90 Stradale which does 0-60 mph in just 2.3 seconds.
Which car offers the highest top speed?
The certified fastest car in the world right now is the controversial SSC Tuatara, followed closely by the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+. The Tuatara managed to do a 316mph top speed, while the Chiron SuperSport managed to do 304mph.
The third-fastest car is the Koenigsegg Agera RS which managed to average 278mph on two runs. The Hennesey Venom GT tops out at 270mph while the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport tops out at 268mph.
Did we hit the absolute limits of car acceleration?
0-60mph times of less than 2 seconds are insane, and it makes you wonder if cars will ever be able to go quicker. More than 15 years ago Bugatti released the legendary Bugatti Veyron which was the first true hypercar ever. With more than 1000hp, a 0-60mph time of under 3 seconds, and a top speed of 253.81mph the original Veyron was the car that started it all.
Nowadays, many cars can do a sub 3 second 0-60 times, only 2 are currently certified to do 0-60mph in less than 2 seconds. Top speed-wise, it’s hard to say if there is ever going to be a set limit of any sort. To be honest, top speed is kind of irrelevant because it can only be achieved if you have a private highway.