Many electric car projects never saw the light of day. Even among the big brands. Let’s visit this special kind of cemetery together.
They are often referred to as “Tesla killers”, including on this site. It must be said that the nascent but explosive electric car market looks like a kind of Eldorado that appeals to all desires. While some criticize incumbent manufacturers for braking to slow their inevitable entry into the electric market, many start-ups and new companies that have already become giants are eagerly jumping into the sector, likely hoping to become the new Google or Facebook of electromobility, as it seems certain they will never become the new Tesla.
Problem, as with all industrial revolutions, there are some (big) winners and many losers. Among the latter, some did not even cross the starting line, despite promises that made even the most reluctant to innovate automobiles dream. In fact, everyone plays their part in this anthology of failures or projects that never came to fruition, whether startups without a true automotive or industrial culture, or solid companies looking for a new lease of life in electrical diversification.
As what is not just a matter of means. The supposed simplicity of the electric car’s design attracted many curious people, who seem to have bumped into reality. Is it the fault of excessive competition or false simplicity? What if being a line-of-code and AI genius in Silicon Valley or knowing how to make overpriced vacuum cleaners wasn’t enough to launch an electric car brand?
Small inventory of projects remained in the boxes, or nearly so. And Tesla assassins who didn’t kill much except their shareholders’ wallets.
Fisker Emotion, the electric Aston Martin
Okay, the parallel with Aston Martin is totally subjective, but it was the first vision that came to me when I discovered this superb sports sedan with its breathtaking line… in a series on Netflix. However, it’s not that far-fetched when you know that Henrik Fisker is also the designer of the Aston Martin DB9 and Vantage. The Fisker EMotion, presented at the 2018 edition of CES in Las Vegas (the only one I haven’t been to in 10 years, hence my ignorance of this bomb), was immediately designated as a direct competitor to the Tesla Model S, which with a bit of hindsight it couldn’t be more imprecise, their only commonality being electric propulsion and the presence of four doors. For the rest, everything was opposed to them, from the line to the general philosophy. We really don’t know what happened to this superb car, because nothing has been said officially, but it appears that it has remained in prototype (driving) state and that it will not be released. Furthermore, you will find absolutely no trace of it on the Fisker website, which focuses its communication exclusively on Fisker Ocean. But she didn’t make the trip for nothing, as it looks like she would prefigure the future Fisker Ronin. In the same manufacturer we will also have a little thought for the pioneer, the Fisker Karma, another little angel that left too quickly.
Dyson EV, below our aspirations
Funny twist of fate, one of the most popular – and musty – arguments of anti-EVs is to say that we will never see them driving a vacuum cleaner on wheels (decryption: an electric car). We don’t know whether this stance inspired Dyson’s founder, best known for his high-end – and often copied – home appliances. Even so, the British multinational had been preparing since 2014 to launch three electric cars. According to its founder, Dyson’s automotive team had developed “a fantastic car showing ingenuity while staying true to its philosophy”. The car was so fantastic that the project was abandoned in the open on a sad autumn morning in 2019, after 2.25 billion euros invested, therefore in vain. The reason given is lack of resources. Like, with 2.25 billion, you have nothing.
Tesla Roadster 2, Uncle Elon’s Good Joke
Don’t insult me fanboys just yet, I KNOW the Roadster 2 probably doesn’t entirely belong in the graveyard. Anyway, not yet. But recognize that for a car announced in 2017 with marketing slated for 2020, which we have no further news of in 2022 and which appears only for pre-order on a well-hidden page with no indication of the availability date, it still smacks of a bit of burned. But when you meet the proverbial Elon team, we can only weigh. And hope. Expecting, for example, that the fabulous Roadster 2 unexpectedly and officially returns to the catalog of the Californian manufacturer, with detailed features and an actual release date. If possible before 2030. History to know why we paid this small deposit of 43,000 euros.
Faraday Future, the future with steps numbered
It is one of the largest sea snakes in the Silicon Valley electromobile world. In the way you see me, you haven’t seen me in years, the unlikely Faraday Future exudes that little scent of abyssal failure that tickles the nostrils of most onlookers. So, as for the Tesla Roadster 2, some will say that I’m going a little too fast and that if the long-awaited FF91 already has one foot in the grave, its fate is not yet completely sealed. But with only 401 pre-orders in 5 years, after a long series of adventures, your future may not really belong to the future(e).
Jaguar E-Type Zero, the electric E-Type disconnected very quickly
His 2017 performance moved purists but turned nostalgic electric converts’ heads. For collectors, Jaguar had big plans to convert the original models into electric machines. Instead, the redesigned Type E, renamed for the occasion E-Type Zero, was scrapped just over a year after the announcement. With Jaguar’s electric I-Pace already delivered to customers, the E-Type looked like an exciting side project that could build on the battery production established behind the brand’s first all-electric SUV. But the principle of reality and profitability certainly prevailed. RIP the electric E-Type. To ride on a legend converted to electric propulsion, it is confirmed that it will therefore be necessary to wait for the arrival of the Porsche 911 EV, probably not before 2027, or even longer if affinities.
If we were a little provocative and a little in bad faith (We? Never!), we could add to this visit to the cemetery of lost electrical illusions the Peugeot e-Legend (but this one we never believed in of course) or better yet, the Apple Car of Arles, which most of all seems to be spinning in the brains of car website designers and geeks who are getting bored with their iPhone (and their Tesla). Even if some clues suggest that the apple company will one day launch its car, electric, of course.
Of course, the traditional auto and thermal industry has also experienced its bluffs and its stillborn projects, but the barrier to entry in the electric sector seems lower, which attracts some adventurers who would never think of embarking on creating a fossil fuel car brand. This is also what makes this market so interesting and exciting to watch.