Electric Cars That Don’t Look Like Electric Cars


“Why do electric cars have to look like that?” she asked.

My wife referenced a parked BMW i3, a vehicle that certainly qualifies as eye-catching if not attractive.

I answered her question with some pre-programmed babble that included a perceived need by automakers to make their EVs stand out from the crowd, and a desire by EV owners to tell the world what they are driving.

Electric vehicles like the i3, i8, and Nissan Leaf are designed to invoke immediate recognition, but I questioned the logic as I spoke.

Why DO electric cars look like that? If we want them to be incorporated into the mainstream, they need to look like mainstream cars. Tesla understands that, but will other automakers evolve their EVs to suit the tastes of a mass audience?

The short answer is yes.

Nearly every major automaker has plans to release electric vehicles. Audi’s A3 Sportback e-tron, while just a plug-in hybrid with a 31-mile electric range, looks like a standard A3 and is a predecessor to much more electrification from Audi.

An all-electric 500-horsepower Quattro SUV could be on the horizon and be able to travel over 300 miles on a single charge. The cool part is that Audis powered by electrons will look like their gas-powered brethren.

Audi Quattro Electric SUV

Audi Quattro Electric SUV

Volkswagen will likely go the same route. Wired said,

Beyond diesels, VW announced it is “giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus,” lurching away from diesel and toward another way to meet increasingly strict CO2 and NOx emissions regulations in the US and Europe: an increased focus on plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. One of those, the company announced this week, will be the next-generation Volkswagen Phaeton.

What better way to move past the diesel emissions scandal than to leave diesel engines in the past and forge a future in electrics?

Volkswagen and Audi are just a few of the carmakers intent on making electric vehicles a success. General Motors, Ford, Mitsubishi, FIAT, Mercedes-Benz and more are also building EVs that don’t stand out as EVs.

Would you want an EV styled like the BMW i3, or something subtle like the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Used BMW i3
Used BMW i8
Used Nissan Leaf
Used Volkswagen Phaeton

1 Comment

  1. All production EVs come with a ‘Range Remaining’ display that is often quite optimistic after a full charge. This display will base its estimate on your latest driving patterns so if the last 10km you drove was all uphill it will probably come out fairly pessimistic instead. so check this carefully

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