The Electric Elephant In The Room
Electric Shock

Earlier this week, you might have caught my post titled Do New Performance Cars Even Need Modifying? Today, I’m going to follow that up with a part two of sorts.

The future of motoring is going electric and it doesn’t matter if we like it or not thanks to fleet fuel requirements that continue to rise by our governments. But don’t worry, it’s not all that bad; we’ve seen the future and even driven it. It just requires a new train of thought: how do you modify the upcoming generation of electric cars?


Let’s discuss that while we ogle at the Unplugged Performance Tesla Model S.


To start, we love the fact that you guys and gals have been very civil in the discussions of the need to modify modern performance cars. One part of the topic that many brought up was modifying for personal taste over better performance, and a fitting example of that is this Tesla Model S that’s been improved by Unplugged Performance in Hawthorne, California, located just outside of the Tesla Design Studio and SpaceX. Because, what better way to keep up with a manufacturer’s latest than to have your office right outside theirs.

If you have never driven a Model S before, it’s a car that will make you step back and say, “yeah, this has great acceleration and handling.” Again, looking at motor and drivetrain performance, the S is superb straight out of the box.

Setting The S Apart From The Rest

Knowing that, the only parts you’ll see Unplugged Performance work with are the body, wheels, interior, brakes, and suspension. You don’t see anything about modifying the motor (or motors for the D models), the controller, or the battery pack. The exterior parts don’t drastically alter the look of the Model S, but the little changes make big improvements when it comes to the car’s character. Wheels range from the lightweight wheel package from Unplugged to BBS two-piece wheels. Inside you can get a sports steering wheel with a carbon rim and carbon seat backs. So far, mostly superficial stuff.


It’s when we start getting into the suspension and brakes that we see the interesting changes. The suspension is a bracket change that lowers the mounting points of the factory air suspension, or you can go back to a factory height by bolting the air suspension into a different location without changing the brackets. From there, the OEM air settings are retained but you get a far more aggressive height, especially in low, because of that repositioning. These four simple brackets bring on a dramatic change to the way the car looks.

The front brakes, though, are pure performance with a set of Brembo 6-piston calipers with carbon-ceramic rotors. While it may seem overkill considering how much braking power you get out of the S with the regenerative braking system, it also removes 20lbs (9.0kgs) of unsprung weight over the factory 4-piston calipers and iron rotors. That’s less weight the suspension and front motor must deal with, and less overall weight the rear motor must push around. Performance wise, that makes a real difference.

Getting More Than Two Laps

However, there could still be more performance to be found with the S when it comes to heat from the motor. You would think the limiting factor of running an electric car on the track would be battery capacity, right? That’s potentially true for a home-built car that uses a less than desirable battery pack, however for the Model S it’s the heat from the rotor. The rotor is the part that is doing the actual spinning; think of it as the electric equivalent of a rotating assembly for a piston engine. A lot of power flows in and it creates heat that is removed with a cooling system that flows through it.

It’s great for regular driving or even a quick jaunt around a mountain road, but for a track day and the demands in power generating, the rotor quickly heats up and causes the S to hit limp mode after about two laps around Buttonwillow Raceway (remember, even when the motor is in regeneration mode, it’s making heat because it’s sending 60kW to the battery). Power to and from the motor creates heat, so until someone finds a way to better cool the motor rotor, the S isn’t great for more than a couple of laps.


This is the biggest thing that Tesla track day enthusiasts are trying to figure out a workaround for. If they can solve this, the next problem will potentially be the heat generated by the inverter or the controller for the motor(s). These are also similar issues experienced by electric RC car enthusiasts, just upscaled. What helps them is that the motor is exposed far more than it is on a Tesla; it’s why you don’t really hear about rotor overheating, but it does still happen.

Once those issues are solved, the doors to performance heaven will open for the S and we’ll start hearing about bigger kilowatt motors, messing with housing timing, and possibly improved inverters and controllers like we see with RC cars today.

This Isn’t The End, It’s Just The Beginning

So, if you’re worried about that electric car future, don’t be. Unless you like noise that is, then you should probably be a little worried.

No, we won’t have valves, ports, throttle bodies, or even exhausts and turbos to install on our future cars. It sounds so bleak when you keep the blinders on but don’t worry. Take those blinders off and take a wider look at electric cars. It’s not electrification that will kill performance tuning here. Hell, autonomous cars probably won’t kill it. Let’s face it – it’s human nature to tinker, create, and improve. We can’t leave well enough alone.


So, our conclusion from these two articles with two very contrasting forms of propulsion is this: Tuners will never die, they will just find a new toy take apart and make better. Unplugged Performance has made the start, we just need the next Hasegawa, Shelby, or even “Smokey” Yunick for the electric car world. Someone who finds a way to shove a bigger, more powerful electric motor into an S and race it. It’s coming and it’s going to be an amazing ride when it does.

Justin Banner
Instagram: jb27tt
Facebook: racerbanner

Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

Cutting Room Floor


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The performance and futuristic feel you get from a Tesla or i8 is fantastic, they really feel like the cars of tomorrow. As we understand and improve the tech they'll no doubt become more and more popular. But as good as they are, they'll never have the sound track to go with the rest of the package. When an amazing engine starts it goes past you at speed, you feel it, it has an emotional effect. It's a massive part of the sensory experience.

The best way to explain it: imagine watching STAR WARS with no sound!


I don't know, the Tesla Model S I drove at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's interior course for the debut of the Pirelli P Zero All Season made plenty of sound. Not as loud as an unrestricted exhaust on a Honda, Camaro, or F458 but there is definitely tire noise, the "wirring" of motor, and the wind. It also challenges the way you drive it fast thanks to that regen braking. The tire noise wasn't even from pushing the car to its grip limits but the noise of the air as it was compressed and expanded by the asphalt and the tread of the tire.

It also stops and slows way faster than you think it will so my braking points had to drastically change in the two laps I was allowed to drive it. It was fun and driving it helped cement my idea of the EV as a future performance car within reality. Again, once someone finds a way to keep the rotor cooler than it does now, we'll really see some impressive results from the Model S and other EVs as well.


It's all about SENSATION over SPEED!!! Life is all about having fun... well a FUN life that is... VS trying to impress the next while being numb to the whole experience!

I have the money to buy a high end car but I can't seem to leave my 08 Honda Fit! Gutted and Upgraded it FEELS fast to me and I blow some doors off the line and zip through lanes like a snake all while planted to the ground like a F1 car. Lightweight and nimble while everyone is trying to go bigger!

Everyone wants to stand out by buying the latest and greatest.... Well... I work in Newport Beach CA... All the Cars gets lost in the parking lots. It's the norm to have a Tesla or German mobile in these parts of the world... but I run Honda! That's standing out. Maybe one day I will transition to the darkside. -[0_o]-


Someone(well, most) will flame me for doing this to a Tesla(even tho it's virtual...), but hey, I'm not yet that big of a fan of electric cars and like the way the Tesla looks, so why not?


I dig the exhaust exit, and I think the giant wing adds a little "F you" to an otherwise organic aesthetic. I like it.


You're honestly the first one to say that(exhaust) :D I usually get that I'm an idiot that ruins a great car that should not be changed.... And that it's faster as electric hah
Glad you like it. Not sure if I'm allowed to do this(marketing...), but if you want you can check out my website (02turbodesing) :) Sorry SH if I'm not allowed to do this.




Why would we flame you? Just be the looks of it, I would track this car (if handling and power follows) ! My biggest issue is that I can already here it screaming, yet it doesn't, lol.


Weeeeel, I'd say you can track it :) LS1(yeah, yeah, I know, LS in everything...) twin turbo+KW Variant 3 was my idea. Half cage as well and some bucket seats(and two doors) so it's a lot lighter




No flames from me. C'mon Miura san, what are you waiting for?


Thanks :D Glad you like it. I do admit that it'd be cool if someone made it irl tho


Though I'm sure they can be lots of fun to drive, I still can't get excited about electric motors the way I do with tuned petrol engines.

Have a very British pitstop

After two laps, open the boot then all you need is a pot of water, a bag of Darjeeling and your sorted for the afternoon!


Pumps. Pumps and a system of radiators or heat exchangers. It's an easy puzzle with the Tesla - it's basically got two large trunks and can afford to sacrifice one if you want to tune one - but on other performance cars that gets harder.

I see early next-gen performance EVs trying to get around that with big cuts in the bodywork and air tunnels.


I can't wait!


I think the biggest thing for me with accepting electric cars is that Tesla is the only option we have. They're very much like Apple. I also personally don't care for Mr. Musk. If we had more people stepping up and creating electric cars that maybe didn't have massive screens or stupid multi-hinged doors that don't shut right, more of us would be open to the idea. But that might just be me.


@Jackson, well, not anymore but it also depends on what part of the market you're looking at. At the lower end of the automotive world we have the Nissan Leaf; the Ford Focus Electric; the Chevrolet Bolt, Volt, and Spark; the Fiat 500e; the Volkswagen e-Golf, Hyundai Iconiq EV, Kia Soul EV; and (by a stretch if you do kind of ignore some of the quriky-ness of the design) the BMW i3. Then you have the luxury models like those from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and a few others. There are normal looking EVs but they just don't get the attention of the masses when they either don't look overtly futuristic or aren't owned by a guy who also owns a space company.


No, that's definitely happening. Someone needs to do almost exactly what Musk did to break into the mainstream though. He had a ton of financial security going into making Tesla the giant it is now. Other startups don't which is why we see a lot of venture capitalist EV companies emerge and then fizzle from China recently.


They say electric cars are typical-but look at this tuned Tesla and even the Hot Wheels one, these are cool. Really want to see more of these tuned and unique ones instead of usual faces already.


Lifestyle mods will become even more popular IMO. We've already seen that; recall when the CRZ hit the markets and the tuners had a field day with it for the big shows. I am a little disappointed though because I've lived my car enthusiast life vicariously through the internet. When it comes time for me to actually afford to build a car I'll have missed out on the general aspect of actually modifying car components that's not changed much in the last 50 years or so. The term bolt-on will be lost... and that saddens me too lol.

Automotive obsession

Yamaha r6 with an m4 exhaust


While I will miss the sound and mechanical complexity of combustion engines I don't think we should worry about not having anything to modify. Just think of small cheap electric cars with the batteries or motors from their larger cousins swapped in. you can tune your torque delivery to your chassis, think of the implications for drag racing you could vary the torque output based on rear tire speed and suspension compression. all the electric cars are still pretty new and the great majority of modification is done on a used cars. Until we have a lot of used electric vehicles on the road we wont see the market for those incremental little advancements that we enjoy today. Hot-rodding electric cars its coming soon and its going to be plenty fast.


If ive said it once I'll say it a thousand times, how are electric cars the future? They've been gnawing at that bone well over 30 years now and it's still just a novelty. I'll pose a question for those that believe undoubtably it is the future... Where is all the electricity going to come from when we all drive electric cars? Does anyone realize the massive amount of electric power usage that they would require or the emissions that would go with it? Making electricity is still not always as perfectly clean as people like to imagine.
How has there not been anyone come up viable engines that run on an alternative fuel source yet? Maybe because companies like Tesla beat dead horses for a living soaking up Government money like its going out of style? I just don't see how people can't see through the BS of electric cars and realize that it isn't and never will be the answer


@TheRealStig, I'll answer, just keep in mind I understand where you're coming from as those were my thoughts not that long ago. So, I'm not trying to be antagonistic but hopefully show you why I do believe they are the future and how I came to that conclusion.

"(H)ow are electric cars the future? They've been gnawing at that bone well over 30 years now and it's still just a novelty."
Electric cars have actually been around about as long as gasoline. The idea in the very early stages was that electric cars were quiet and wouldn't scare the horses that were still popular for a form of transportation. However, in the thirty years you've mentioned an electric car's range has gone from 20-50 miles on pure electric to over 200-miles on pure electric thanks to technology like regenerative braking, battery chemistry, and even metallurgy and lubrication. Those same technologies have also benefited the gasoline world.

"Where is all the electricity going to come from when we all drive electric cars? Does anyone realize the massive amount of electric power usage that they would require or the emissions that would go with it? Making electricity is still not always as perfectly clean as people like to imagine."
You are correct and that's not one of my personal concerns. Reducing oil usage isn't a bad thing and is part of the reason I do look towards EVs (that and torque on acceleration). However, electricity is becoming cleaner as we reduce the need for coal and natural gas fired power plants and try to go toward nuclear and solar. Solar still has a long way to go with efficiency and it's getting there the more we do research and build solar power generators. Batteries are definitely on the dirty side when it comes to disposal but they can also be broken down and recycled. That chemistry is also changing to be better and less toxic, but again we're a ways away from the perfect battery. LiFePo is where we're getting that start over the standard LiPo battery and we continue to find new ways to make a better battery.

"How has there not been anyone come up viable engines that run on an alternative fuel source yet? Maybe because companies like Tesla beat dead horses for a living soaking up Government money like its going out of style?"
We have with ethanol, natural gas, hydrogen, and bio-diesel and many of them can be used in modern engines and were researched because of government grants that allowed people to create them. In the case of bio-diesel, the diesel engine sees a benefit because it is able to better lubricate its top end over low-sulfur diesel because the sulfur in regular diesel was one of the sources of lubrication for the upper part of the piston and the valves. The problem with bio-diesel is it gels faster than diesel in colder climates, but you can use chemicals to help it un-gel just like you can with diesel. Ethanol has proven to be a great alternative to gasoline but it also does have its catches. You have to burn more of it to get the same power as you would from gasoline. It also suffers from top end lubrication but, again, additives can help improve that as well. Older cars and the rubber parts they use don't work out so well, though.

Clean energy is a mythical in the way environmentalists want it to be. To produce energy you must produce a waste product of some sort. Humans, cars, it doesn't matter; energy that is used up will create a waste of some sort. However, if we can reduce, recycle, or just plain make it so that the waste is less harmful then we're creating a benefit of some sort. Electric cars are a small part of a bigger answer to the question of how to reduce our impact on our planet. You are correct at this moment: using an EV is only moving the pollution to somewhere else. However, once we find the way to reduce the pollution at the plant by going nuclear, solar, and/or wind, the pollution is reduced in both places and the impact is reduced overall. Again, using an EV is only that small part but it is a part we can have fun with being automotive enthusiasts. If we can one day make our cars unique and faster or sell go fast parts without worrying with the EPA or CARB will be a day we can all celebrate. That's why I think electric cars are the future.


One last thing to add to all of this.. the automobile, combustion engine, assembly line.. all of it was invented, built, and improved upon all without a dime from government grants. If you can create a truly useful and viable product you don't need taxpayers money. Just a thought


Your aurguement for electric is is full of holes. First off When I say viable alternative fuel I mean something that works as good or better than gasoline, ethanol is close but everything else is a long shot. As for your theory of producing more electricity with NUCLEAR AND SOLAR..... LOL. Solar has proven to be weak and inefficient, they have been working on them my whole life and then some but it still isn't nearly efficient or economical enough to reach your power needs for all these ev cars. And I think your theory of Nuclear as the power source of the future is a bit long in the tooth and even misinformed. Nuclear is FILTHY, highly dangerous, and produces waste products that can't even be disposed of.
I'm sorry but you eggheads preach about the "new" thing all the time, you get funding from all over the place and nothing gets done. Shit is still as unviable as it was 15 years ago. You all rehash the same old tired ass ideas and theories and never come up with something new and original.
I'm sorry but electric cars aren't the future cars tomorrow, get a combustion engine to run on something other than Dino fuel.. Short of that good luck
Also Hyperdmic hit it on the head as well


you've conveniently neglected to mention the environmental costs of mining, transporting and manufacturing the lithium and other rare earth minerals for the batteries / associated components .
Then to pay a premium on a car than can only drive say 300km and has to be charged for hours is hardly convenient.
there has to be a better alternative


You do realize the top picture is that of the BHP Billiton, Ltd copper mine in Escondida, Chile, right? Also, an oil sand site isn't that environmentally friendly, either, as you can see from my picture. Anytime you extract from the Earth you're going to have open pits and waste, that's a fact. Oil, copper, shale, lithium, iron, coal, and anything else you have to dig to get is pretty much going to find a way to dirty the earth.

"Then to pay a premium on a car than can only drive say 300km and has to be charged for hours is hardly convenient."
A Tesla Supercharger can charge a Model S P100D from "zero-power" to a full charge in 75-minutes. While at home and you've drained it to zero, the 75-amp wall charger will recharge the battery to 100-percent in 5.5-hours. At full charge, it has a range of 315-miles (507-km) at its best to 210-miles (338-km) at its worst. A car that compares to it in price is probably the BMW 540i M-Sport xDrive, which costs between $61,500 and $80,900 without dealer markup and taxes. It's a car that can get at best about 370-miles (596-km) to a full tank of 18 US Gallons (68-liters). That 540i M-Sport xDrive can hit 0-60 in about 4.7-seconds while the Model S can do it in 2.3-seconds. If you're driving over 300-miles a day you're most likely driving a company car, working in a field that isn't suitable for car driving anyhow, or very dedicated to your job. Taking a single trip, you can still do it with a Model S, though Superchargers would be a good thing to spot on the way.

You're also being very naive if you think the modern assembly line doesn't get an incentive in tax breaks from local governments. To quote an article from the Charlotte Observer from March 28th, 2014: "The new auto plants received plenty of taxpayer-supplied benefits in tax breaks and other infrastructure support. South Carolina gave BMW more than $325 million (adjusted for inflation) in incentives to come in 1992." -

The idea of giving a company a tax break for creating a manufacturing plant isn't unusual or even wrong, provided it does create jobs. The Tesla Gigafactory was also given tax breaks for its creation by Nevada and has created jobs in both its construction and within the facility itself, just as that BMW plant did in South Carolina. The Portsmouth Block Mills in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, are credited to be the earliest form of the assembly line and were built during the Napoleonic Wars to supply the British Royal Navy with pulley blocks.

"Nuclear is FILTHY, highly dangerous, and produces waste products that can't even be disposed of."
Nuclear waste products can be disposed of properly and safely as it has since we've had modern nuclear energy plants. It can also be reused and is why the waste is smaller than you probably think it is. Even what we put into the ground here in the US is open to reuse and recycling. From the World Nuclear Association: "Any used fuel will still contain some of the original U-235 as well as various plutonium isotopes which have been formed inside the reactor core, and the U-238c. In total these account for some 96% of the original uranium and over half of the original energy content (ignoring U-238). Reprocessing, undertaken in Europe and Russia, separates this uranium and plutonium from the wastes so that they can be recycled for re-use in a nuclear reactor (see also information page on Processing of Used Nuclear Fuel). Plutonium arising from reprocessing is recycled through a MOX fuel fabrication plant where it is mixed with depleted uranium oxide to make fresh fuel (see also information page on Mixed Oxide Fuel). European reactors currently use over 5 tonnes of plutonium a year in fresh MOX fuel." Since 1954 there have been three major incidents with nuclear power plants: Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima. That's three incidents in 63 years compared to the 63 oil spills since 2007. From those three nuclear disasters, we do learn what can be done to ensure they don't happen again. A Chernobyl style event can't happen because modern reactors are built to stop the fission process at a certain temperature. A Three Mile Island event can't happen again because valve design, monitoring, and evacuation plans have been improved in modern reactor design and implementation. Fukushima happened because TEPCO failed to take the necessary steps to ensure that the cooling pumps wouldn't lose power by not stepping up and making improvements per the IAEA recommendations after inspection of Unit 1 in 2008. You'd think with the history of oil we have, we'd be a little better than having 63 spills since 2007, but I digress.

On the subject of government using its money to fund energy, oil and other fossil fuels in the US gets subsidies in the amount of billions of US dollars. In 2013, $3.2-billion dollars a year went to fossil fuels with an additional half-billion per year going towards research and development of fossil fuels. In a 2009 study by the Environmental Law Institute, the biggest allocations for fossil fuels went to Foreign tax credit, credit for production of non-conventional fuels, and Oil and Gas exploration and development expense.

Again, I'm not saying we drop fossil fuels now and everyone go EV. That can't happen and won't happen for another 20 years, at best, here in the US. We don't have the infrastructure in place at this time to do it. I'm also not saying we stop looking at fossil fuel use and improvement. There has been major improvements by the OEMs (as proven in the Focus RS article) and by Konigsegg and FreeValve. However, to say we must stay on fossil fuels for the rest of our existence and that EVs will never take the place of our conventional cars is quite callow.


thank you!! all those commercials about not using hot water and turning off the lights to save energy and they want us to drive electric cars??!!


Generating power at a central location and transmitting it over lines is an order of magnitude more efficient than generating power at the source in a gas motor. Mile for mile an electric car is fundamentally a more efficient way to travel.

Matthew Dockery

It's more efficient if you have those systems of transmission. There are still areas that are relying on fossil fuel consumption for electricity and large scale. I'm not saying that there isn't a future for electric cars and a nationwide grid which can support them on clean energy, but we haven't reached that yet.

Right now there are still a large number of people who live in rural communities or suburban communities whose transportation needs potentially exceed the amount of charge their cars can hold. Gas motors may not be as efficient, but for the vast majority of people they still heavily outweigh electric cars in degrees of convenience.


Hawthorne California - Birthplace of the Beach Boys and part of the Beautiful South Bay! Pardon my quick history lesson on this great part of America or what it once was...

That very location of Space X and Tesla use to be home of Northrop Grumman - the defense company that brought us the B2 bomber and Stealth Fighter amongst other great things to help defend our nation! Crenshaw and 118th street that's where that be! But this was just one noble company part of the South bay. A few others that you may have heard of are HONDA - TOYOTA - LEXUS and NISSAN at one point in time has Headquarters here. The Japanese automotive history in America started here! We still have Honda Motorcycle Headquarters and Toyota/Lexus Headquarters( leaving for Texas) in our DNA. Did you know Honda use to be the #1 importer of Beef from America? When Honda shipped their cars here to America, we would load their boats with Cows on there way back to Japan!...One last point about the South Bay.. We had ASCOT. A race track inside a city with races nightly!!! Some notable figures to come out of this place was Kenny Roberts 2 Stroke King!!! and a guy name Evil Knievel!

Well..I'm done for now. Sorry if I wasted your time... Just wait till Faraday comes to play and I'll speak again! Faraday future another electric car company that moved to the old Nissan Headquarters in Gardena, Part of the South Bay a few miles from Tesla!


Those wheels do look good on there, and that particular shade of mango works with the car's lines.

Is it just me, or should Tesla have styled this thing to either eliminate the suggestion of a front grille, or install a radiator to cool the motor?


The wheels I cannot disagree with. Very nice


Yeah, It's not just you. If they don't need a grille get rid of it altogether and use the massive field of styling opportunities this opens up. If they do need a grille, admit it and do it properly.


Looks good, especially the interior.

Matthew Everingham

Reading the comments really surprised me. Electric cars certainly aren't perfect, but either was the 'Model 1' Mercedes Benz back in 1886. Electric cars are still a work in progress, the sooner we embrace them, the less likely we'll sound like our parents who were complaining and scared they'd never be able to modify new cars with computers and electronic injection. We'll always find ways to make things faster!
Awesome read JB. Keep these special features coming. You and @Larry are the Dream Team!


Well done Bulletproof Automotive, nice work. Pulling more performance from Electric cars will be down to those who can hack the existing source code within the machine. Alex Roy's recent article about modifying motor source code makes it obvious.
Second point, Hydrogen powered cars could be far, far bigger than electric, they just need to sort out the age old conundrum of separating the H from the O.


Like RC cars!!!! I never related electric cars to that!!! I have a STi XMods car!!! For those who dont know you can modify those in the same way as real cars. Definitely worth the google.


Unplugged Performance is a well suited name since they only, "work with the body, wheels, interior, brakes, and suspension." Truly unplugged from the inherent electrical features of the car.


@fuzzy bear, there are a lot of companies that work with cars with ICE and don't touch an engine, too. Much like the gasoline or diesel engine, the motor and its controlling elements are very complicated and not many want to invest the time into it or don't have the working knowledge of how those systems work. It would be like getting a body shop technician to tune an engine. Sure, he may have the knowledge on how an engine burns fuel but does he know how to extract every bit of horsepower out of it by changing fuel and spark maps?


I had an XMod car along with the Kyosho Mini-Z and HPI Micro-RS4 (the original one). I've also had an RS4 Rally (that I converted to road racing), an Axial SCX10, Traxxas Slash 2WD and Slash 1/18th 4WD, a Losi Micro Rally and Mini-T, and probably some others I'm forgetting.


we use this in RC on top of the motor...


We need a tesla tuner challenge with specific goals of performance, it would be very interesting


I think it's just a different generations version of modified car. I'm one who loves the style of the Tesla but nothing would make me happier than hearing a deep throaty exhaust coming from this car generated from a power plant that survives on gas and oil. As mentioned in some of these comments there's a sensory and emotional experience that's missing. Sure you can add "programmed sound" but that's not going to give you what a real hi-performance engine is going to give you. Can you imagine a NASCAR race with electric cars? That would be thoroughly boring from both a driver and spectator's experience.
Times are changing and it will be interesting to see how all this "environmental technology" takes the hobby of motorsports.