Electric Vehicles: how green became the new black

EVs haven’t always been cool but now they’re bonafide celeb magnets. Just ask Kylie Jenner

Electric vehicles used to be, well, let’s just say they weren’t cool. The first EV you were aware of was probably a milk float. Not exactly a cutting-edge ride.

In the 80s they got arguably even less cool, thanks to vehicular duds like the C5, brainchild of British electronics pioneer Clive Sinclair and one of the biggest embarrassments in contemporary tech. Intended to be a one-person car, it was basically an electric-assisted pedal tricycle that failed to capture the public imagination. Just 5,000 of the 14,000 made were sold ‒ Sinclair lost £7m of his own money.

Other similar ideas bombed in the 1990s (Chrysler’s TEVan, anyone?), hampered by a lack of range and speed. By the turn of the millennium, electric cars still carried such an unfashionable aura of quirk that even celebrity endorsement ‒ usually a rubber stamp of cool ‒ failed to make sales soar.

Indeed, stars who did choose electric were even derided. USA Today described Mel Gibson’s love for his EV as “a wee bit unhinged”. The Daily Mail called Tom Hanks’ Scion XB an “ugly, teal green monstrosity”, while Jeremy Clarkson said Kristin-Scott Thomas’ beloved G-Wiz was “like walking, only less comfortable”.

Read more: Standard

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Hilliard


    I’m now on my third Nissan Leaf abolutley
    Love it doubt I’ll ever change it will do 99 mpg great smooth ride over 28000 not one problem except a set of new tyres

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