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[VIDEO] How Did a Chinese Van Just Beat a Ferrari in a Drag Race?

Gimmick or genuine, and what does this mean for the internal combustion engine?

It’s an incongruous image that challenges even the layman’s sensibilities: a bulky van outpacing a sleek, growling sports car.

But that’s exactly what happened when Atieva, an electric car startup looking to enter the luxury sedan market by 2018, packed a Mercedez-Benz Vito van with its 900hp electric drivetrain and pit it against a Ferrari 458 Speciale, with the likes of a Nissan GT-R and Tesla Model S thrown into the mix.

To be fair, the competitors were an entry-level Ferrari and certainly not Tesla’s ace-in-the-hole P90D Ludicrous (which boasts a 0-60 of 2.6 seconds), but it’s still another feather in the cap for the electric vehicle movement – and a great spectacle to behold.

Atieva is headed by former Tesla vice president Peter Rawlinson, who was also chief engineer of the Model S project, so add one to the count of firms looking to challenge incumbent Tesla in the race for electric car supremacy .