Cute isn’t a concept that car people – or tech people – often talk about, but how good something looks can be just as important as how well it works. With that in mind, I present to you the five cutest electric vehicles presented in 2011! They are – one might say – Electro-Cute.
Number Five – Smart Electric Drive
The Smart Fortwo ED prototype was unveiled in Frankfurt this year and will go on sale in 2012 (hey, the prototype was unveiled this year, it runs, it totally counts as a 2011 car).
The Smart with any type of drive is one of the most adorable cars on the road right now. Two seats, nicely short in the back, and pleasantly boxy without having clumsy sharp corners – it has all the right lines. The electric version has a 68 mile range and a top speed of 75 mph, which is more than enough for a daily driver.
Number Four – Green Lord Motors Trike
Green Lord Motors is a Japanese company that does electric vehicles, and my favorite is their trike. Normally I am not a fan of 3-wheeled vehicles (seriously, most of them just remind me of something an overgrown toddler would ride), but this one is brightly colored, appropriately boxy, and looks like exactly the right kind of giant toy.
It also goes on sale in 2012 (again, running prototype unveiled this year), and I really, really want one. In red. Bright, screaming red. It’ll go just over 25mph, which is exactly the right speed for something on three wheels.
Number Three – Cristaline
On the plus side – it’s a tiny bubble with wings and a propeller. How could it not be cute (don’t answer that)? This tiny little plane hit 175mph (a record for an electric plane), and will go for just under half an hour at 65mph.
Number Two – e-Let’s
Suzuki displayed their 50cc-equivalent electric scooter this month (on sale in January, same rule applies!). It’s tiny and lightweight and still has lots of dedicated storage space. The basket on the front is again something I don’t normally like much (particularly on bicycles) but the e-Let’s has integrated the basket so well with the scooter that it would be hard to imagine the scooter without it.
This one is also fairly slow (under 20mph) and short range (also under 20 miles), but it’s perfect for the heart of a massive city already full of way too much horrible traffic. (I want one. Seriously.)
Number One – i-MiEV
The cutest version of the i-MiEV is, without a doubt, the Hello Kitty version. (Those of you who don’t like Hello Kitty, feel free to skip to the next paragraph.) I love Hello Kitty – I collected the special local pins nearly everywhere I went in Japan in 2006 (and I have many). Put it on an already cartoonishly cute car and I am so thrilled.
The i-MiEV’s 2011 American debut version isn’t quite as cute as the Kitty version, but it does keep the swoopy cartoon-like lines. You can get it right now in California and Hawaii if you want it; it seats 4 and passed all the safety tests with flying colors. It’s another one uniquely suited to an urban environment – it’s still small enough to fit into narrow spaces.
Like what you saw? Are there any cuter EVs from this year that I missed? Tell me in the comments below, and have a safe and happy New Year!