Car Question #19: why do electric vehicles have to look so silly?


Toyota Prius popularised the Kamm-tail body shape for eco-cars: smooth lines, chopped-off tail.

OPINION: If you’re ambivalent about electric vehicles (EVs), odds-on it’s down to one of two things: range anxiety or the fact they always seem to look a bit silly. Or perhaps both.

To many, electric vehicles are a turn-off because they lack a certain visual dignity. But are there good reasons for EVs to look like transportation pods from the planet Smorth?

Yes, of course. But not all are entirely scientific.


You know Nissan Leaf is an EV because it looks silly. But it’s less aerodynamic than a Mazda3 or Toyota Corolla.

The most obvious one is aerodynamic efficiency. EVs are all about extracting the maximum distance from the limited battery power available, so it makes complete sense to have a slippery body shape.

* All-new Nissan Leaf revealed
* Why are there so many white cars?
* How do I get that new-car smell?


Expect future pure-EVs to look no different to conventional cars. VW is doing it already with the e-Golf.

Aerodynamics really ony became a thing for cars in the 1930s, and the work of German brainbox Wunibald Kamm from that era is still very influential today.

The so-called…

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