Why Are Electric Cars So Ugly?

Electric cars are taking the world by storm for their ability to drive efficiently on sustainable energy. They also have a reputation for being some of the ugliest cars in the world. With a bulky, blocky design and simple colors, electric cars aren’t often sought out for style.

In general, electric cars tend to be uglier than conventional car models because their focus is on energy efficiency and technical design rather than cosmetics. As electric vehicles increase in popularity, more car manufacturers emphasize the electric car’s looks and fuel mileage.

Electric cars aren’t the best-looking vehicles on the market, but a few models are coming up that are pushing the envelope for electric car aesthetics. Keep reading to learn more about why electric cars are considered ugly by many consumers.

Why Electric Cars Are Ugly

Electric cars may not be known for their looks, but there are several reasons why electric cars are considered ugly compared to conventional car models. Here are some of the reasons why electric cars are relatively unattractive (Source: Motor Biscuit):

  • Lack of focus on cosmetics: Electric vehicles are a new technology. As a result, most of the design going into them is geared towards improving their energy efficiency rather than their looks.
  • Lack of options: A disadvantage of electric vehicles versus conventional car models is that they lack many cosmetic options available on conventional cars. Most electric cars are boxy four-door sedans, so if you’re looking for an electric jeep or pickup truck, the market is still a little behind on delivering the goods.
  • Industrial post-modern aesthetic: Most electric car designs aim to create a futuristic cyberpunk design with inorganic lines and metallic or neutral colors. This aesthetic and color palette isn’t appealing to people who prefer brighter colored paint jobs on their cars or designs that place curves and looks over efficiency.
  • Lack of size: Many people would tolerate some of the downfalls of electric car aesthetic design if they were bigger. Unfortunately, many electric vehicles are small and crowded, leaving passengers unable to appreciate any positives in the vehicle’s cabin.

Even though there are many things about electric cars that make them less attractive to the average consumer, there’s something to be said for the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. After all, electric vehicles are expanding quickly as a market, and many people enjoy the look of their electric car.

This increased popularity is expected to increase as model design aesthetics improve.

Features That Make Electric Cars Ugly

All electric car designs are slightly different, but there are a few design features that repeatedly show up in electric cars that contribute to their questionable looks. Here are some of the features that make electric cars ugly:

  • Battery installation location: The location of the battery in the front bottom part of the electric car makes the design of the car look bulky and stubby. Without a combustion engine compartment, the front of electric cars looks much shorter than conventional cars. For people who are used to the long profile of modern sedans, it’s a downgrade.
  • High-set headlights: The location of the electric battery in electric cars is another design feature that looks odd in comparison to conventional vehicles. The headlights on electric cars are often set high up at the top edge of the car’s fenders. This position can give the car a “bug-eyed” look. 
  • Stubby design: To reduce air resistance, many electric cars feature strange protrusions and squashed outlines. On the flip side of this, electric vehicles that have tried to go with a smooth design outline, such as the GM EV1, fall into an uncanny valley where they look almost like conventional vehicles but not quite.
  • Odd inorganic shapes: Another way that electric car designers have tried to make their vehicles look unique is by incorporating harsh, sharp lines and inorganic, geometric shapes in their designs. Examples of this phenomenon include Tesla’s Cybertruck and the 1976 CitiCar. (Source: Hot Cars)
  • Limited production: Even the most popular electric vehicles in the car are produced in far smaller numbers than conventional vehicles. This means that many ancillary features of the vehicle’s design, such as paint color choice, are considered aftermarket considerations rather than stock. Even Tesla only offers five electric car paint options. (Source: Observer)

Many of the poor cosmetic choices made by electric car manufacturers are considered secondary to their power and performance. People who buy electric cars are generally more concerned with the car’s range on the road and acceleration than they are about how the car looks.

In some cases, as with the Tesla Cybertruck and the Corbin Sparrow, the odd shape and design of the electric car are designed to draw attention to it. Even though some consumers might consider these cars ugly, their unusual design still gets people talking about them. In the early days of electric car design, bizarre aesthetics are often considered good publicity.

How to Make Electric Cars More Attractive

Even though electric cars are going through a somewhat awkward phase in the early 21st century, this doesn’t mean that they’re destined to stay ugly forever. There are a few ways electric cars are expected to improve in appearance as they become more commonplace in the consumer market. These are a few ways that electric cars will eventually become more attractive:

  • More efficient batteries: Creating more efficient electric car batteries will reduce the amount of space it takes in the car to house. This should eventually lead to electric vehicles with a more streamlined body design and vehicles that don’t have to put so much design emphasis on reducing wind resistance.
  • Increased variety of designs: As more electric cars come into production, the market will naturally widen with different electric car models other than four-door sedans and SUVs. The colors and accessories for electric cars will also expand as the market expands, leading to more attractive vehicles overall.
  • Roomy interiors: One major advantage of the electric car is that its drivetrain is much smaller than a conventional combustion engine. This leaves auto designs much more space to work with when designing the interior of the vehicle’s cabin.
  • Increased electric vehicle infrastructure: Outside of the electric car’s cosmetic appeal, one thing that will make driving electric cars more attractive in general is a more robust infrastructure for charging them in communal spaces. The biggest challenge facing electric vehicles is their range on a charge, so increasing charging opportunities helps.
  • Expansion of aftermarket accessories: Along with expanded designs and customization options from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), there will also be an increase of aftermarket options. These options will allow people to customize their electric vehicles to better conform to their aesthetics.
  • Driver incentives: Along with increasing the physical attractiveness of electric cars as the market expands, many governments and electric car manufacturers offer significant incentives to drivers to encourage them to go electric. These incentives include things like tax breaks and expanded post-purchase customer service. (Source: The Conversation)

Electric cars may be going through an awkward phase, but all signs point to these cars only becoming more attractive for both cosmetic and practical reasons as time goes on and the design of electric vehicles is refined.

Electric Cars Won’t Be Ugly Forever

Even though electric cars don’t have a good reputation for aesthetics, the advance of technology should quickly respond to market demands when it comes to stylish new electric vehicles. With modern society’s emphasis on looks and flash, every generation of electric car to come will look better and better.

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