Electric cars may not have broken into the mainstream yet, but increasingly aftermarket parts customizers are taking to vehicles like the BMW i3 as a way to showcase their wares. IND Distribution is the latest to add a bit of custom flair to the BMW i3, though they’re certainly not the first. Are electric cars the hottest new accessory in the automotive aftermarket?
It’s certainly starting to look that way. While IND Distribution really only added some bright blue HRE wheels and took some nice pictures, other shops have gone to greater lengths to distinguish their take on the i3. Some Japanese customizers even went so far as to build a kit out of carbon fiber, like the i3 itself. It’s part of a small but growing trend in the automotive aftermarket feeding an appetite for customized electric cars.
It’s not just the BMW i3 that’s getting custom parts. The Tesla Model S has proven popular with the customization crowd, with companies like Unplugged Performance popping up to offer Tesla owners a way to really make their cars stand out. Famed Mustang tuner Saleen Automotive also offers a kit for the Tesla Model S, as does Germany’s LARTE Design, which tends to focus more exclusively on high-end exotics.
Not to feel left out, tuners have also taken to the BMW i8 supercar with gusto, from wheels to wraps to whole body kits, because $$$$. There’s even a NISMO body kit for the Nissan LEAF that offers a (very) mild range and performance increase.
I’ve also noticed that bright blue and white seems popular with EV customizers. I don’t mind it, but there are other colors out there guys. I’m partial to shades of green myself.
Why so much interest in a market segment that is still so small? For one, electric vehicles get a lot of play in the media these days for a multitude of reasons. Just about anything with “Tesla” in the headline is all but guaranteed to get a decent amount of pageviews (trust me on that one). There’s a lot of hubbub around electric vehicles these days, from how they drive, and whether they’re practical to just how beneficial they are for the environment.
You also have to consider the kind of person that is buying an electric car these days. Generally speaking, EV buyers are younger and wealthier than buyers of a combustion-powered equivalent vehicle. They may not be “car enthusiasts” in the traditional sense, but the kind of early adopter willing to invest five-figures into what amounts to first-gen technology is probably more emotionally attached to their vehicle than the average Lexus driver.
While mas acceptance of electric cars may still be a few years away, there are plenty of enthusiasts and companies that are already way ahead of the curve.