Top 8 Electric Cars That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time – Video

JUL 28 2016 BY MARK KANE 29

Formula E released a video on eight electric cars they feel were way ahead of their time.  (Really, isn’t any EV made before 2008 ahead of its time?)

Top 8 Electric Cars That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time! - Formula E

Top 8 Electric Cars That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time! – Formula E

Interestingly however, is the fact that the highly successful Tesla Model S is top on the list, which we think hit the market at exactly the right time…so who knows.

But hey, lots of old/cool EVs to check out!  Worth a watch.

“Electric cars have had periods of popularity throughout history, but which were the cars that really changed the game? Here are seven iconic vehicles that were pioneers in electric mobility.”

The full list:

  • La Jamais Contente
  • Henney Kilowatt
  • L’oeuf Électrique
  • Lunar Roving Vehicle (moon buggy)
  • Electric Milk Float
  • AMC Amitron/AMC Electron
  • General Motors GM EV1
  • Tesla Model S

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29 Comments on "Top 8 Electric Cars That Were Way Ahead Of Their Time – Video"

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As to the question at the end of the video, what did we leave out, here’s two that I know of. The City Car aka Commuta Car out of Sebring FL and the Corbin Sparrow reworked into the Meyers Motors NmG.


Wasn’t there once a BEV car called ‘Impact’. I don’t remember well. GM or Chrysler. I only remember when as a kid I saw it on TV I became completely enthusiastic, thinking this would be our next family car 😉

The GM Impact is the car that became the EV1

The Impact was a design exercise that led to the EV1.

Given what happened to them, they were well named.


Ah, thank you both!

Umm, hello?

Nissan Leaf, the Citicar, Detroit Electric, and the Baker Electrics were all pretty significant.

And BMW i3. Still ahead of it time.

Solectria Sunrise

Check it out. Boston to New York on a single charge in 1997. (261 miles)

Very cool. Love the solar panels on the roof. 🙂

zOMG, what about the CORBIN SPARROW

The AMC Amitron is pretty sweet early 70’s era styling. Still great for a city car, even today. If you built one using today’s batteries (the prototype used early Lithium chemistry!) and modern programmable AC motors, this vehicle would make a compelling low cost BEV.

Ford Ranger EV and RAV4 EV’s were pretty revolutionary. In fact, we still don’t have a light pickup EV or a relatively inexpensive SUV in the US yet to replace them.

Ford Transit Connect electric van by Azure Dynamics.

No panel truck or van for sale in the U.S. either.

Except for lunar rover (drive train by GM) and Tesla S, I wonder if any of the others on the list were competitive against similarly priced gas cars in performance. There has to be something to make up for the lack of range, and if it’s overpriced slow golf-cart, that doesn’t bode well and not really “ahead of their time”.

Following that logic, what EV are competitive against gas cars of similar pricing for consumer market? Tesla S and SparkEV post subsidy are the only two I can think of. Seeing how Tesla 3 will also kick butt, higher performance will be the future of EV.

Interesting look at history, but I don’t think the Lunar Rover qualifies as an EV “ahead of its time”. It was very much the right vehicle at the right time, for a very narrow niche!

Kewet. Today the name is Buddy.


1997-2003 Toyota RAV4 EV. Many of these are still out there and running on the original 27 kWh NiMH battery pack. EPA rated range was 95 miles.

Yes, I saw one in Winter Haven Florida about 2 years ago.

The British Enfield 8000 was built by Enfield Motorcycle Co.

A modern, 500 hp version is billed as the world’s fastest street legal electric car.

Tango 600

The “Electrovolt” AMC Sportabout. The GM “Electrovair”. The “Silvervolt” from the movie Agent Cody Banks. Where are these cars today?

Jet Electrica. Built on a Dodge 007 glider and later on Ford Escort / Mercury Lynx gliders. Used a series wound DC Motor and lead acid batteries.

Dodge TeVan. Built by Chrysler on a Caravan platform. Used a shunt wound DC motor. Only about 50 built. Half used NiCad batteries and half used NiFe batteries.

BMW had also a model 2002 equipped with electric motor and lead acid batteries during the Olympic Games 1972 in Munich, Germany. The purpose was to accompany the Marathon runners emission-free. This was only one single car. Approximately one decade later, VW produced a small series (approx. 40 cars) of eGolf which were not for sale officially, but were operated by electricity companies, like RWE. It had a range of 43km (30 miles) with lead acid batteries and I had seen one on my way to work stuck on the right strip. That one obviously had run out of power on a long climbing part of the Autobahn 52 towards Essen, where RWE had its headquarter. This all is part of an evolutionary process.

The Think City EV. The fourth generation was built by Ford around the same time as the GM EV1. They are still on the used car market today in Norway, with many hundreds still on the roads. The fifth generation was built in Finland from 2008 to 2011, with 400 assembled in Indiana for the US market. Maybe half of the 400 are in Indianapolis and Portland. Something like 3000 are in Europe with mostly Zebra (hot) batteries, and about another 400 with EnerDel Lithium batteries like all the US cars.