Electric Vehicles Are Testing the UK’s Love of Small Cars

Electrification is raising new challenges for compact models, as costly batteries push carmakers toward large, luxury EVs with high price tags.

It’s 4 p.m. on a wet Monday in southeast London, and we’re trying to parallel park uphill, a necessary if unpleasant rite of passage for any city driver. Our electric car, a bright red Ora Funky Cat, has been through a battery of such rites today — hauling furniture, ferrying passengers, avoiding pedestrians — and takes to London’s streets like it was made for them. On the slippery surface of a narrow road, the Ora EV excels: At just over 4 meters (13 feet), it’s easy to parallel park.

The Funky Cat is a head-turning EV with a fun design to match its name; there’s a hint of Porsche in the flared front fenders and squat haunches. The Asian-made car, which went on sale last fall, is also prowling around a sweet spot in the UK’s EV market: models small and light enough that a modest battery can push them a decent distance. Of the 72 electric cars available in the UK, nine have batteries with a capacity under 50 kWh. Just two EVs in the US do.

The UK has a long tradition of popular small cars, perhaps best exemplified by an iconic Mini Cooper chase scene in 1969’s British classic, The Italian Job.

Read more: Bloomberg

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