An Exhilarating Ride in the Citroen Survolt Electric Supercar

By · June 14, 2011

Citroen Survolt Berlin

The Citroen Survolt races around the SportRing during the 2011 Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, Germany. Copyright Nick Chambers 2011

A few weeks ago, at the 2011 Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, Germany, I was given a rare opportunity to ride along as professional Le Mans driver, Olivier Lombard, took me on several laps of a short sport track in the black-and-blue, sexy, sleek, angry-insect-looking Citroen Survolt. It was exhilarating and provides a hopeful glimpse of what the future of performance cars holds.

The Survolt is a one-off concept undertaken by Citroen to simply show what can be done with the next-generation car tech of today. The car's lead drivetrain engineer, Christophe Schwartz, told that it's clearly not meant for practicality. It is, after all, a cramped, two seat, hard-to-get-into-and-out-of, and uncomfortable ride—but Schwartz also said that all of the Survolt's technology was developed with an eye on the future and imagining what production cars, both high performance and otherwise, might need to be successful. In that sense, all of the technology in the Survolt will be used to help Citroen design its next-gen vehicles.

The Survolt's electric motor delivers 300 horsepower, consistent torque from 0 to 5,000 rpm and can reach 60 mph in under 5 seconds. Given its low, aerodynamic profile, completely flat underside, and carbon-fiber-over-tubular-chassis construction, as we raced around the track the car felt firmly planted even in the hardest corners. Acceleration was nothing short of breathtaking and it put a smile on my face the entire time I was in that car—seriously I couldn't stop myself from grinning like an idiot. If only there had been a camera trained on me to capture it you'd all be able to share in my idiocy.

Alas, the only cameras I had access to were mounted on the outside of the vehicle, but they make for enough fun on their own. My thanks to Rick Dole for the raw video!

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