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From Mini to Polestar: Roadsters and convertibles are also going electric

From Mini to Polestar
Roadsters and convertibles will also go electric

The first modern electric car was an open two-seater. But since Tesla discontinued production of the Roadster, there are hardly any outdoor models among the Stromers. That will soon change: more and more manufacturers are sending new series cars to roofless roads.

Is it the fear of exhaust gases, global warming or just the desire for social distance? Apparently, the automotive generation E is not so much interested in opening.

The desire for sun and fresh air gave rise to many convertible cars, from small cars with folding roofs to luxurious convertibles or the mighty Spider. But among the current e-cars, there are almost only closed models.

The first Tesla – it was a roadster

More and more car manufacturers like Polestar seem to be discovering the desire for open-top driving.

(Photo: Polestar / dpa-tm)

It was a roadster that Tesla started e-wave with almost 15 years ago. Meanwhile, more and more manufacturers seem to remember this. As basic needs are slowly being met by an army of compact SUVs and luxury limousines, more and more electric cars are breaking free from above. And after these were mainly studies in the beginning, the first new production cars without a roof will soon be lining up towards the sun.

The fact that outdoor models are in short supply among electric cars can be explained from two different perspectives. On the one hand there is the sociological one, affirms the design critic and philosopher of PS Prof. Paolo Tumminelli from Cologne: “Uncertainty is the basic social sentiment of the new millennium”. He sees this development only strengthened by the Crown and then by the war in Ukraine.

“People are demanding legal and political protection: from cycling helmets to UV jackets on the beach, from superfoods to CO₂, you always feel compelled to act correctly”, says the professor. “Controlling an open car is diametrically opposed to this attitude towards life.”

First electrify the mass market, then niches

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The small Fiat 500 is currently one of the few electric convertibles on the market.

(Photo: FCA Germany AG / dpa-tmn)

On the other hand, there is the economic point of view: because convertibles are absolute niche cars, says Hans-Georg Marmit of the expert organization KÜS. The constructive effort in development is high and the quantities are small.

That is why open vehicles are difficult to calculate even with a large portfolio of combustion engines. “But those who are developing their first electric cars for big bucks are initially targeting the more promising segments rather than the niches.”

Studies and small offer of small open cars

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Completely green: with no local emissions, with the Smart Cabrio you can move in the countryside purely electrically.

(Photo: Daimler AG / dpa-tmn)

At least electric vehicle designers have never lacked a desire for fresh air. From the VW ID Buggy as a revealing entry-level model to a Maybach Roadster and the Audi Skysphere Concept – they have repeatedly put roofless studies on the wheels and brought them to big trade shows. Such cars were not available for purchase until now.

If you ignore the small series of the first Tesla Roadster, it is currently only the Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo with which the automakers are taking their customers out into the open. And as if this offering wasn’t narrow enough, the open Smart is now, like the entire family of previous models, on the verge of extinction.

The rebirth of fresh air is approaching

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Racy Roadster: The MG brand wants to follow the Cyberster studio with a production version.

(Photo: MG Motor / dpa-tmn)

But there is an improvement in sight: While VW boss Herbert Diess is personally exploring the atmosphere for an open ID3 with design sketches on social networks, others have already got to work: Polestar has announced the premiere of the open O2 2 + 2 seats that three new models should arrive by 2025, with which many details of the show car should be gradually implemented.

Mini has promised that the next generation of the small electric car scheduled for 2023 will also be available as a convertible. And in the meantime, the Chinese company MG, according to its own statements, actually wants to bring a slightly more realistic version of the Cyberster open concept into series production for the brand’s 100th anniversary, which was once founded in England. in 2023 – and thus commemorate the MGB Roadster built up to the 1990s.

Old acquaintances reopen

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Roadster manufacturer Wiesmann wants to drive electrically with the Thunderball.

(Photo: Wiesmann / dpa-tmn)

It will start with the offensive in the open air but apparently mostly in the upper class. Small series manufacturer Dülmen Wiesmann reported on the Thunderball project and announced a roadster. While it still remotely resembles the old days, it is now electrically powered.

For around 300,000 euros, the Dülmen-based company wants to install two electric motors with a total of 680 hp and a battery for a range of around 500 kilometers. The company is already taking orders, but the start of sales is still open.

And electric pioneer Henrik Fisker also wants to try again with an open car. Once his big Ocean SUV launches this year, he wants to move forward with an open sports car called the Ronin in addition to the little Pear.

Announce the debut for next summer. It promises a 2 + 2 seater with a retractable hardtop that will have “the longest range of any mass-produced electric car”. It does not mention the numbers yet, but we are talking about a four-digit kilometer figure.

Tesla brings the roadster back, like a supercar

However, this development could get the most momentum when the first open-air electric model celebrates its return. Because Tesla has already confirmed that the company is developing a roadster again.

According to the website, this new roadster with a detachable glass roof is faster than 400 km / h, has four seats and can be pre-ordered. Only the exact date for the market launch is – somehow appropriate – still open.

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