Autos

The evolution of Bugatti, according to 300mph Andy Wallace


Rimac is a world leader in high-performance electrification and Porsche knows a thing or two about it too. I’m here ostensibly to drive the Chiron Super Sport and revel in the astonishing numbers (it eats 1000 litres of air a second at maximum revs and throttle), but can we talk electrification too?

One thing that strikes me about this Chiron is that, even though two of its four turbochargers are throttled off at low revs to improve response, the W16 engine still makes nearly 200bhp per litre, so some lag is inevitable. It whooshes and builds in the way that an EV, well, doesn’t.

“The acceleration [of EVs] is immense, and they can beat all the numbers on the zero-to-whatever,” Wallace points out, but they struggle to reach or maintain a really high top speed.

“In order to reach 300mph in any car, basically you’re wide open over quite some seconds,” he explains. “During that event in a combustion car, you will be putting a lot of energy into the water and oil, but the cooling systems are such that you can stabilise that temperature.

“When you’re drawing energy from the battery [in an EV] and then the inverter is converting that into the power that the motors need, the inverter is getting hot. You can draw the energy out over a certain period of time but then, in order to save itself [from the heat], you get a power reduction. So you don’t have it for long enough to reach 300mph – although I’m sure in the end it will happen.”



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