As we’ve mentioned before, Los Angeles is a maddeningly good city for cars. When I lived there I routinely would spot such unicorns as Lancias and Tatras and Volgas and Jensens and Citroëns and Innocentis and at least one Dual Ghia, and on and on. But I never saw a RAESR Tachyon Speed. A reader named Philippe did, though, and he sent us some pictures.
Philippe lives around Sherman Oaks, a neighbourhood in LA’s San Fernando Valley, and, as you can see by these pics, the neighbourhood is usually populated with the usual assortment of Hondas and Toyotas and dented Dodge Dakota trucks, so seeing this electric blue, electric-powered 1,250 horsepower spaceship trundling around the street looks just surreal.
RAESR stands for Rice Advanced Engineering Systems and Research, and I think they’d like you to pronounce that acronym like “racer.” Their car, the Tachyon Speed, uses six direct-drive motors pushing around 1,338 kg of carbon fibre body and battery at up to 240 mph or more.
RAESR says they’re now taking orders for these beasts, with prices ranging from $US750,000 ($1,072,200) to over $US1,500,000 ($2,144,400), but I don’t believe any have been delivered yet, so I suspect this one is a factory test vehicle or prototype. I think.
They’re able to sell these under the low-volume vehicle laws, which means they don’t need to meet all of the crash and other standards of full-production vehicles.
Now, I’m normally pretty cynical about wildly expensive cars and anti-super/hyper/whatevercar conceptually, but I do have to say that if you want to drive something that looks wildly futuristic and fast, this would do that job very well.
I mean, look at this bonkers thing. It looks like what the Batmobile would be if Bruce Wayne wasn’t such a cheapskate.
Based on these pictures of one of the prototypes sans body, it looks like it’s a tandem-seat car, and I think the roof opens like a fighter jet canopy — so, it’s basically a scaled-up, electric Messerschmitt KR200 with about 100x the power.
I’m familiar with LA’s strangely tall and unforgiving curbs, which makes me think all those low pointy bits on the front and back of this thing are living on very borrowed time.
Seeing this wildly improbable thing in such a normal neighbourhood palling around with scarred old trucks and boring minivans is just kind of delightful.
If you’d like to use the word “juxtaposition” in describing this, I’m ok with that.