Will the electric car sector produce models that will become legendary over time? With the evolution of our relationship to the automobile, nothing is less certain.
Porsche 911, Jaguar Type E, Ford Mustang, AC Cobra, Beetle, Mini, Fiat 500, Citroën 2hp and DS… So many names that probably ring for eternity in the ears of automobile enthusiasts like so many mythical works and timeless. I’m talking to you about a time when automotive passion still had a meaning, made up of the art of living, design and mechanics thought out and designed by aesthetes in the field. All of them have one thing in common: they have one day or another played a leading role in the cinema or in a series.
The great designers of the sector were then called Giugiaro, Pininfarina, and Bertone for the most visible part, but other goldsmiths, more discreet, worked in the shadow of design offices and workshops in Stuttgart, Munich, Detroit or Turin to develop mechanics that made enthusiasts and connoisseurs of those eras not so far away cry with happiness.
In the electric era, it’s nothing to say that the cards are slightly reshuffled, and that the benchmarks are no longer quite the same. First of all because the automotive object itself has evolved considerably, giving pride of place to technology and – if possible – to efficiency. Then, because the consumer has changed, and the use made of the car is no longer the same.
Are electric cars still a dream?
Suddenly, these two criteria taken into account, the relationship to the automobile is very different from that of one or more decades ago. Clearly, for a millennial, owning his car – or even his license – is often the least of his worries, and can even be perceived as a sign of unwelcome individualism and carbon footprint in these times of aspiration to degrowth and to the preservation of the environment.
A trend that the switch to all-electric seems to be accelerating and reinforcing. We first look for a car that pollutes as little as possible, and that will take us from point A to point B in a minimum of comfort and safety. Line ? No matter. The power ? Who cares who’s got the biggest guy. The pleasure of driving ? Sorry, what are you talking about? Driving is a constraint, not a pleasure, strongly the autonomous car! In short, ideally, the car should be something that you don’t own, that you just borrow when you need it, and which would have more of the characteristics of a bicycle with a roof (with electric assistance anyway , don’t mess around) than those of a work of art.
In this context, is there room for a hint of passion? Can an electric car provide that little thrill, or does its very computer-on-wheels design definitely make that thrill a thing of the past?
If you are one of those who still vibrate in front of a beautiful car, whatever your age and his, rest assured, the case may not be completely closed. Many manufacturers are working to inject into their electric models some of these ingredients which aim not to abandon enthusiasts on the side of the road.
Whether it’s power, sound, line or agility (hum, not won with pachyderms over 2 tons), the brands work so that the automobile does not lose its rank in the inventory what will always motivate humans to surpass themselves in order to reach the “dream”.
But then, where are (or what are) the electrical icons of tomorrow? Who will invent and produce the 911s, Mustangs and other Minis of the 2030s? Do these models already exist and are they before our eyes without our realizing it? Do the brands and manufacturers that will produce them even exist?
Let’s look at the current production and try to pick among the models that could shamelessly hold this rank. The exercise is not easy, because the troops are still sparse, and the Wow effect is long overdue, where then it is triggered from 100,000 euros and more. Which is not very fair play. Note that for this very subjective exercise, cars that are already electric remakes of already famous thermals are excluded. The models presented are therefore originals that only exist in electric. Exit the Mini SE, Smart EQ and other Fiat 500e, sorry for them.
Tesla Model 3 Performance
(“Pffft another pro-Tesla article”…)
Regarding Tesla, we could have put the Roadster 1 or the Model S. Or a Model 3 LR or Standard. But it seems to me that when it comes to icons, the 3 Perf ticks more boxes. A little more “pretty” and “racy” than the other versions thanks to very rare and discreet exterior signs of richness and speed, it is also the one that brings together everything we love about the Californian brand, the demonic performance and technology, not to mention of course the infernal efficiency/autonomy duo. You don’t need to be a great visionary to imagine that it will long occupy the place of a pioneering icon of modern electricity in the collective unconscious. And that we may still find some in 30 or 40 years, original, in working order, like a 911 Carrera 3.2 from 1977 today. At 150,000 euros. The restoration then essentially consisted of replacing the batteries.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
The Korean crossover made an impression when it was presented, and the copies in circulation easily turn heads. A success of esteem mainly due to its line… unclassifiable. The machine looks a bit like a Golf 1 XXL version, which is quite strange as a reference. But it works, and the general line very successful and firmly planted on large supports impresses the average person. Maybe we’ll look at her with tender eyes when her retirement comes. And that it will delight collectors of age to play Pokémon today.
With the Renault Zoé and the Nissan Leaf, it’s a bit like the one that really started it all. Although its production is now complete, its timeless line does not seem to have aged, and it already featured a good part of the ingredients that embody electrical efficiency today, namely equipment made from recycled materials, wheels for bike and a contained weight. Why her rather than the Zoé or the Leaf? Perhaps because its BMW DNA and a certain rarity give it a small advantage in terms of its ability to become iconic over the years?
A concentrate of technology and everything on screen, the Honda e evokes the happy times of Japanese automotive engineering and design, masterfully combining practicality and cuteness. This kind of yogurt pot, a little larger in real life than in the photos, quickly catches your eye, and its interior will remain like a first because of its dashboard fully lined with screens. If after this type of excess the electric car one day returns to more conventional dashboards with a better balance between any screen and classic controls (which I believe), the Honda e will perhaps earn its place in collectors’ paradise. .
Here is the only model on this list not yet marketed, but which brings together a lot of ingredients to quickly become a must. The line of small, smart and curvaceous SUV is quite irresistible, and the interior makes you want to settle down to travel quietly on the small roads with your elbow to the window. Okay, it looks a lot like a Mini Countryman in profile, which is a shame for a Mercedes, but that probably won’t stop it from sneaking into the hearts of car enthusiasts.
This is heavy and very expensive, but difficult to conclude this type of chapter without including a brand that is present in almost all books on automotive passion. No need to go back on the success that this Taycan represents, materialized quite quickly by the fact that it unceremoniously outstripped the 911 in terms of sales, and that its commercial success is undeniable. I have already had the opportunity to say it, the Taycan is perhaps THE electric 911, whether in terms of line, road qualities or driving sensations. It will certainly still figure prominently in all the anthologies of the electric car that will come out when we are no longer even in this world.
This necessarily arbitrary inventory could have invited other models into its ranks, such as the Renault Twizy, the Dacia Spring, the Lucid Air, the Tesla Cybertruck (and the future Roadster 2), or even the sports sedan Hyundai Ioniq 6 Prophecy whose announcement is imminent and is also likely to turn heads. Let’s also not forget that the sector has not yet produced a sleek sports coupe or a nice little convertible, but that will soon be the case.
We certainly forget some. It’s up to you to tell us which models you see entering the legend of the electric car.