EMP allows the player to disable the electrical systems of all vehicles nearby. This causes nearby racers to slow down momentarily, allowing the player to gain ground.
As with the other special abilities (Zone, Agro, and Roar), there are three levels of EMP that can be unlocked through continued use of the ability. As each level is unlocked, an additional "tank" is added, up to a maximum of three.
The tanks are filled by driving cleanly. A white circle around the special ability meter shows progress towards filling the next tank. The player must be driving over 50 m.p.h. in order to fill the tank, driving below 50 causes the meter to drop back to zero. The higher the speed, the faster the meter fills. The player must also drive cleanly. Hitting objects or cars causes the meter to drop.
The Social Club site includes a feature called "Driving Test" that allows the player to complete twelve tasks that unlock features in the game. One of the tasks involves using special abilities 5000 times, so each use of EMP counts towards this task.