A Retro-Cute EV With Charm in Spades

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Just a few years ago, electric vehicles were soulless cages, commuter appliances begrudgingly produced to meet real or anticipated EV mandates. Automakers hardly wanted to develop and sell them, and consumers were even less enthusiastic. Something’s changed recently. A lot of credit goes to Tesla for making EVs uniquely cool, with the electric drivetrain part of the appeal rather than a big asterisk. Lately, other automakers have been exploring the cute end of the spectrum; witness the adorable, eminently desirable Honda E. Now that such possibilities have been demonstrated, EVs both proposed and real are getting much, much more interesting. Take the Alpha Motor Corporation’s Ace.

It’s more in the Kyocera Moeye vein of things, which is to say it’s retro-inspired without being a re-creation of any one thing. That puts it in a different category from the ever-growing number of classic EV conversions—those are very cool, but not really an endgame. An electrified MGB is a great way to make a classic relevant, not electrify the broader fleet. Whereas the fantastic Ace, despite looking old, is something entirely new.

Alpha describes it as an urban runabout, and it’s 165 inches long overall. That puts it nearly a foot shorter than, say, a Nissan Leaf, and within a few inches of a Mini Cooper Clubman—small, but not so small as to be a nonstarter. Its claimed range is ambitious, too—250 miles—although we don’t have battery capacity specs or motor output figures.

Charm, though, this design has in spades. Check out the interior (a render, of course), which resembles a mid-century modern vision of a Model 3. The door pull loops are a nice Easter egg for enthusiasts, too. But it’s the overall proportions—large wheels under big, hard-edged fender flares—that are almost toylike. Wasn’t there a pull-back car you had that looked like this in your toybox when you were a kid?

We’ll see if its charming lines and puckish proportions translate into a going enterprise. But regardless of if Alpha Motors succeeds, we’re seeing a growing number of EVs with real presence and character—and that’s no bad thing.



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