Is electric car design holding back the growth of the EV market?
There are many reasons why electric cars haven’t become mainstream yet; they’re expensive, range can be limited, there’s not enough choice and so on. But are we overlooking one major factor in why they’re yet to take over the roads? Perhaps…they’re just not good-looking enough.
When it comes to EVs that genuinely look ‘cool’, you can name almost all of them on one hand. Electric cars deserve better than being described as ‘cute ugly’, we need some absolute stunners.
EVs stand out, but not everyone wants that
For some reason, part of the car industry has made electric vehicles into something of a gimmick. Rather than EVs naturally being implemented into the system as ‘just another car’, they’ve been designed to stand out and look like they’re at odds with current car design and the rest of the cars on the road. The big question here is why can’t they just look ‘normal’?
Odd-looking ‘aero’ alloy wheels, blue accents all around the car, weird grilles, skinny wheels and ugly shapes are all common denominators when it comes to electric cars.
One of the most popular EVs in the UK, the Nissan Leaf, has seen a drastic design change which has made the car look much more ‘normal’ and conventional. The first gen Leaf looked like a tyre bubble crossed with some Croc shoes whereas the second gen Leaf just looked like an ordinary and respectable family car. It seems that one of the largest car manufacturers in the world has had a change of heart when it comes to releasing EVs with unconventional designs, and we can only hope more follow suit. If only BMW could take a leaf out of Nissan’s book (see what we did there?) and de-radicalise the design of their otherwise fantastic i3.
ICE cars should also come in an EV option
Manufacturers are treating electric vehicles as a completely different type of transport, when they should be treating them like another engine option. Where they offer petrol and diesel options of various engine sizes, why not also offer an electric option as well? Why is it that electric models are usually completely standalone when at the end of the day, they’re just cars powered by other means?
Volkswagen’s e-Golf is a perfect example of how ordinary cars can also be offered in electric spec, as is the soon-to-release 2019 Peugeot e-208. Both of which take existing car designs and remove the petrol or diesel engine and install electric batteries and motors instead. It’s not quite as simple as a swap job as EV batteries usually go underneath the car rather than where an engine would go, but if VW and Peugeot are able to do it, why can’t more manufacturers follow suit?
Jaguar’s I-PACE electric SUV is another good example of how to create an EV that doesn’t conflict with design norms. The I-PACE looks very similar to its siblings, the F-PACE and I-PACE, both of which are only available with petrol and diesel engines. The all-electric I-PACE doesn’t have any blue highlights, it doesn’t have a weird-looking grille and in summary, it doesn’t scream and shout about it being fully electric. Most people won’t even be able to tell and that’s the beauty of the car. The I-PACE does everything right which is exactly why it’s won the 2019 World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year and World Green Car awards.
People that drive their car because they love how they look – sports car owners, luxury coupe owners and flashy SUV owners – these people currently have a very limited range of electric cars to choose from. BMW, Mercedes, Audi and JLR currently have a very limited line-up of electric cars and because of this, the electric market is missing out on millions of potential customers.