Electric Cars

Five Coolest Electric Vehicles Not In America

April 15, 2022

Electric Vehicles You Can't Get In America

As interest in electric vehicles continues to grow in America, we’re seeing many brands launch new models to meet our specific needs and desires. It all seems so new and exciting – but, it’s also worth remembering that EVs have been on sale around the world for many years, and in some markets, represent the dominant type of new vehicle sold. A combination of environmental concerns, greenhouse-gas legislation, taxation on gasoline vehicles, and in some large cities, laws outlawing internal-combustion engines in city centers, means there’s a huge variety of EVs available globally. And some of them are interesting enough that we wish we could see them here.

Honda E

Honda E

The diminutive Honda E is one of the most attractive and distinctive electric cars on the road. Available in Europe and Asia, it’s the production version of the adorable Urban EV concept car, first shown in 2017. Positioned as a premium city car, it doesn’t have great range – with a 35.5 kWh battery, range is just 137 miles – but it is supremely responsive and has a super-tight turning circle. What we like most about the Honda E is its interior – which is upright, spacious, and airy far beyond any other car in the class. The seats are covered in a light-gray sustainable fabric, the dashboard has a matte-finish shelf across it, and there are three big screens that are surprisingly easy to use. It even has a “fishbowl” mode which will relax you while you’re waiting for 30 minutes a 100-kW charger to juice up the battery.

Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe

Hard to believe that Renault’s Zoe, its city car, is now in its third generation – it’s been on sale that long. Unlike the Honda E, which due to its small range, can really only function as a city car, the Zoe packs a 52-kWh, 245-mile battery, making it truly useful as a family car, even for longer trips. That range, plus its attractive price, are just two reasons it’s the second-best selling electric vehicle in Europe. We really like its compact footprint, roomy cabin, and its zippy performance – and the interior features a nifty digital instrument cluster and vertical touchscreen for the infotainment system. While there’s not much that’s luxurious or obviously futuristic about it, the Renault Zoe is a solid, practical, very normal car – and the fact that it’s so normal is probably what has made it so successful.

Mercedes-Benz EQC

Mercedes-Benz EQC

The Mercedes-Benz EQC was originally going to be sent to North America, but the company decided to focus on selling what it could build in Europe, where emissions regulations are becoming more stringent faster. Given its limited capacity to build EQCs, it was imperative to sell them in markets where they were needed. Too bad: as a compact SUV, the EQC – the electric equivalent of the very-popular GLC – would have sold by the boatloads in America thanks to its slick, high-tech looks, which mix the GLC’s utility with futuristic touches like turbine-blade alloy wheels and a backlit digital “face.” Its interior is equally spectacular, with two large screens, copper-colored trim, and sustainable fabrics and leathers everywhere. Hopefully Mercedes is able to find additional production capacity to send a few our way.

Volkswagen ID.3

Volkswagen ID.3

The ID.3 is the car that actually kicked off Volkswagen’s electric revolution. While the e-Golf, with its tiny driving range, was the first modern VW EV, the ID.3 was the first car built off the company’s modular “MEB” electric platform, designed from the ground-up to incorporate battery power and a wide variety of sizes and vehicle formats. The ID.3 is sort of the car “cousin” to the ID.4 SUV, which we can buy here – a little lower, a little sleeker, a little sportier, and at least in two-wheel drive form, with a bit more range. Its interior has the same remarkable simplicity as the ID.4, with a seating position equivalent to a Golf’s, and there are some very cool color and trim options available. With a 201-hp motor driving the rear wheels, it’ll dash to 60 mph in about 7 seconds, and the optional 77-kWh offers an excellent 340 miles of range.

DS3 Crossback E-Tense

DS3 Crossback E-Tense

DS, the luxury brand of French automaker Citroen, is on a mission to make electric chic. And while most compact crossover vehicles are pretty boring to look at and drive, the DS3 Crossback E-Tense (what a mouthful!) offers a ton of style inside and out – as well as a fully-electric drivetrain. To be honest, the tech specs are nothing special: a 134-hp electric motor is paired to a 50-kWh battery, giving a 0-60 time of just over 8 seconds and a 200-mile range. Charging is pretty standard fare as well – 80% charge being possible in about 30 minutes on a level 3 DC fast charger. What really makes the DS3 special are the looks: totally unique on the outside, with a “floating” black roof, vertical LED “fangs” on the front, and a slightly jacked-up stance that looks tough without being overly aggressive. The inside is gorgeous, too, with luxurious materials like nappa leather, pearl-look stitching, and diamond-shaped air vents and controls that actually work well in addition to looking different. And thanks to being built on a platform called “CMP” – designed from the ground-up for electric vehicles – there are no packaging compromises, with plenty of passenger and cargo space.