(CNN)It’s not often that a start-up can claim to be a world-beater from the off. But that’s precisely what’s happening in the auto industry, where Chinese unknown NextEV has launched what it claims is the world’s fastest electric car.
Pure-electric cars have been around for decades but only in the past five years or so have the mainstream manufacturers really started to take them seriously — prompted by tightening rules over when and where conventionally powered vehicles can be driven, and battery technology that has made them more usable in the real world.
As such, there have already been a few upstarts, most notably Elon Musk’s Tesla, which confounded the giant car brands by launching precisely the vehicle they said was impossible at the time: a luxury executive saloon with a range of more than 200 miles.
Even the supercar elite who normally exist above the general industry are not immune to the demand for greater environmental credentials in their cars.
The fastest vehicles recently offered by Ferrari and McLaren have both featured electrification, and the British company has already admitted it is working on an all-electric supercar.
Interestingly, though, these are names with history, so they have a reputation to protect — whereas NextEV and its like have hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and, at the same time, nothing to lose.
Winning over customers is about more than numbers, though. And this, in fact, may ultimately prove a bigger test for NextEV, TechRules and ArcFox than the technical challenge of getting around the Nurburgring (or, for that matter, actually bringing their cars to market at all).
In the past, buyers with the wherewithal to spend more than a million dollars on a car have been more drawn towards those brands with heritage. The Chinese brands must hope that the same does not apply to those who want not just an exclusive supercar, but also one that they can plug into the wall every evening.