If you’ve been around for a while, you might have visions of some angular, aerodynamic, space-ship looking thing with a cockpit instead of a traditional car cabin.
For those who did a lot of driving in the early 2000s, you might recall ultra-tiny hatchback coupes with a battery pack taking up the entire backseat.
And for those who are just catching wind of electric cars, the Tesla sedan style might seem like the most accurate portrait of the modern EV.
The truth is that today’s electric vehicles look like just about anything you want them to look like. There are hatchbacks like the Nissan Leaf, electric pickup trucks like the Rivian R1T and the Ford F-150 Lightning, and EUVs, or electric SUVs with all-wheel drive, like the Audi e-Tron. Looking for an electric sports car? How about the Lotus Evija?
But what about the coolest of cruisers? We’re talking open-air, guns-out, wind-in-your-hair convertible cars. What is the over/under that EV manufacturers are interested in giving us emission-free convertibles?
Well, the future is just a heartbeat away. Here are 10 of our favorite electric convertibles. Granted, some of them are still in the planning stages, and it’s unknown if any or all of these will be available to drive in the United States. But let us dream for a bit. Besides, there are some very cool things on the table, so it’s time to tune in!
How Come There Aren’t a Lot of Electric Convertibles?
Simple version: Physics. The mechanics that go into creating a convertible make a vehicle very heavy. Very heavy vehicles require more power to make them go. Electric vehicles are powered by rechargeable batteries, which have a limit as to how much horsepower and torque they can provide at once. More power to go means less range per charge.
That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, of course. Technology is making huge strides each day. Automakers are already experimenting with hybrid powertrains and convertible designs. Furthermore, not every convertible has to have the retracting cloth top that we’re familiar with. Drop-tops, removable roof panels, and the panoramic moonroof are all open-air options that give us the ability to absorb the beauty of nature face-first.
But, technology is telling us that the electric convertible car is something we can do, and as long as it’s possible, it’s definitely something we should do. Here’s what the major manufacturers have percolating on the concept:
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Alright, so here’s one that doesn’t quite exist yet. However, we’re so close to having a Mach-E convertible, that perhaps, if we put all our energy towards making this good thing happen, the universe will abide. Or at least Ford will take our opinions into consideration.
It’s really hard to say the word “Mustang” without at least thinking about convertibles. It’s one of the all-American traditions. In fact, the 2021 Mach-E borrows a lot of design inspiration from its gas-powered topless cousin. But, the current Mach-E is kind of a crossover with the capability to go from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds.
Then again, maybe you shouldn’t be going that fast with the top down.
Mercedes Benz E-450 Cabriolet
Right now, the E-450 Cabriolet is a “mild hybrid,” which means it’s a traditional gas-powered vehicle with some extra horsepower supplied by electric motors.
But, we also know that Mercedes is planning to unveil its EQ all-electric sub-brand starting in 2022. We’ve seen some of the EQ concept drawings, and while several are in the SUV and crossover family, there are also some pictures that reveal enormous glass roofs, which could mean open-air possibilities. Additionally, there are at least two EQ sedans in the works, according to the latest news in the automotive world.
That means it’s not impossible to dream of an EQ Cabriolet. In fact, if memory serves, the whole plan for Mercedes’ EQ lineup was to create a plug-in hybrid version of every single one of the automaker’s vehicles, so perhaps that’s already on the table.
BMW i8 Convertible Roadster
BMW released the plug-in hybrid i8 lineup in 2014, and a convertible version joined the lineup in 2019. Overcoming the issues presented by physics by constructing much of the roof mechanism with 3D printed aluminum, the i8 Roadster is very cool and very expensive. It is also no longer in production as of 2021.
But, that doesn’t mean there’s not hope for the future. BMW’s i4 series is allegedly going with a coupe-styled vehicle that aligns with the existing 4 series. The current 4 series includes a convertible; in fact, the M440i design already includes a mild hybrid powertrain. It might be some time before BMW officially and efficiently connects the dots like we’ve done, but it’s clearly not impossible and already has a market.
Fiat 500 Electric Cabrio
Sadly, this one isn’t available in U.S. markets at this exact moment, but it is wicked cool, if you’re into Fiats.
The 500 electric vehicle is smart. It has a Sherpa mode that prevents drivers from getting too lead footed, along with power-saving properties for inside the cabin. It’s also meant to be a zip-around kind of car, with a city range of 320 km and a highway range of 460 km. That’s approximately 198.8 miles in the city, and 285.8 miles on the highway, for those who are less familiar with the metric system.
The reason the 500 series of electric hatchbacks and convertibles were pulled from the U.S. allegedly has to do with the Stellantis merger of Fiat Chrysler and the French PSA Group. But since Stellantis announced in September 2021 that they will focus on “an electric future,” the availability of the 500 Cabrio might just change in the near future.
Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio
Remember Smart cars? They were big — well, definitely not physically large, but certainly popular– around 2010. They were the subject of many jokes, due to how tiny they are compared to the typical American SUV. But, many people seem to have forgotten that they were actually distributed through Mercedes-Benz. Obviously, the Smart car was not intended to be used on long road trips by large families, but it certainly has proven itself in the European markets.
The more you read about the Smart Cabrio, the more depressing it is that we can’t buy them in the States. It controls its own energy usage by reading traffic patterns and routes. It pre-programs the interior to make sure you’re comfy. It connects to your phone to allow you to check battery status. And yes, you can pop off the top can feel as though you’re sailing through the open air.
The Tesla Roadster was unveiled in 2008, and the second generation will be released in 2022. This particular vehicle seems to have zero regard for physics, with its 1.9 second climb from 0-60 miles per hour, 620 mile range, and 250 mile per hour top speed. Presumably, it doesn’t do all of those things at once, but for those who have the need for speed while simultaneously sitting on the cutting edge of technology, the Roadster awaits.
The Roadster solves the convertible weight problem by offering a glass top roof that simply pops off and stores in the trunk. It also has an estimated retail price of $200,000, which is also the type of price tag you might expect on a McLaren or Lamborghini, so we can definitely appreciate what a difficult choice this might be. Just keep in mind, the Roadster seats up to four passengers.
Volkswagen has revealed a very ambitious EV playbook for the next several years, but we’re still not sure which of those vehicles will be made available to American drivers. It’s been performing very well on the European markets; in fact, it was named the best-selling vehicle across the entire continent in August 2021. So, while Volkswagen has teased an ID.3 convertible in the next few years, the U.S. will sadly lag behind in this innovation.
The ID.3 highly resembles the Golf Cabriolet, only this hatchback is all electric. With a range up to 330 miles depending on the motor size chosen, and five trims to reflect the driver’s own lifestyle (Life, Style, Family, Max and Tour), VW has made it quite possible for drivers to select exactly the ID.3 to match their needs.
GMC Hummer EV
No, we didn’t get lost in the middle of our own list. The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is very much what you would expect it to be in size and shape. It just also happens to offer removable roof panels, because you didn’t realize how badly you needed to convertible Hummer until just this moment.
Available as an SUV or a pickup truck, the correct terminology for the convertible version is “Transparent Sky Panels with Power Rear Drop Glass.” Essentially, drivers can remove the four glass roof panels and the I-bar, then push a button to lower the back glass. GMC added enough horsepower, torque, and range for the Hummer to be a fantastic off-road beast.
Jeep Wrangler Magneto EV
Speaking of “off-road beasts,” the Jeep Wrangler Magneto EV is currently still a concept car, but given its performance during its unveiling in Moab, Utah in April 2021, it’s very much a possibility. Yes, we’ve got the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid, but the Magneto is all electric.
Interestingly enough, it seems that the electric Wrangler might fit the bill of extreme off-roading very well. Ever heard the phrase “slow as possible, fast as necessary?” It’s the credo of crawling, and the Magneto has a crawl ratio of 84:1, or five feet per minute. While we don’t have the range details yet, the 4xe has a range of around 300 miles per full charge, which is promising for the electric version.
Oh yeah, and the doors, windows, and roof come off, as is the Jeep Way of Life.
Chevrolet Corvette C8 E-Ray
This one’s definitely a big question mark, because all of these words are put together with rumors and speculation. Technically speaking, we’re not even sure if Corvette is aware of this vehicle, but if it really is in the plans for 2023, as online sources speculate, then it’s possible that the convertible version could be in the cards as well.
While the E-Ray is still in the speculative stages, the idea of an all-wheel-drive hybrid Corvette is certainly attractive. We know that speed and electric vehicles are not mutually exclusive. We know that sexy and electric can co-exist in harmony. But, what would happen if the Corvette Z06 V8 engine started hanging out with two electric motors to handle the low speeds? It already has a name: the Zora, after Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Father of the Corvette. But, is the world ready for a 900-horsepower Corvette? And will it take its top off when it arrives?
Before you get down on the fact that several of these aren’t available in the United States, and some are concept cars, bear in mind that most auto manufacturers didn’t start taking this EV thing seriously until 2019. Then, 2020 was more or less a flaming trash bin of a year, and 2021 has us getting back on track. Many of the claims automakers made regarding an aggressive plan to go electric have been derailed by the global health crisis, followed shortly by the chip shortage and the economy becoming a giant question mark.
However, if press releases and concept teasers are anything to go by, the world’s automobile manufacturers haven’t forgotten what they said two years ago. The future does appear to be electric, and more importantly, it’s going to be top-optional.
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