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A Blog by Enerdynamics

The Nostalgia Niche May Help Make EVs Fun to Drive

by Christina Nagy-McKenna, Contributing Writer

Electric vehicles are roaring into the global automobile marketplace, and car culture will never be quite the same: no more revving of engines, no more muffler deletes to make a car even louder, and no more spirited manual transmission versus automatic transmission debates. But for car enthusiasts — including those like me who love classic automotive models, design, and history — the electric car industry hasn’t forgotten us. In fact, it’s about to get exciting.

In the late 2010s, several automobile manufacturers revived popular models and melded their classic styles with the newest technologies. Some of these retro vehicles showed up only as concept cars, and not all of them developed into production vehicles. The global pandemic, a shortage of parts and chips due to supply chain issues, and a wait-and-see attitude by some manufacturers gauging EV market growth, played a part in the delay. As of 2024, the race to revive the classics is on, but the path may be a bit complicated for some.

When Ford introduced the Mach-E to the market in 2019, it reached back into its history and brought one of its most beloved and iconic brands along for the EV ride. The car was introduced as the Mustang Mach-E and came with very familiar Mustang features: the classic logo found on the interior and exterior of the car, and the three-bar taillights that date back to the original 1960s Mustangs. The response from consumers was overwhelmingly positive with the new Mustang helping Ford reach No. 2 in EV sales in 2022. 

Not to be left out, other automobile manufacturers like VW and Mini have dipped into their 1960s archives to move into the EV future. Mini offered its first electric Mini Cooper in 2020, but its modest range compared to other options was a limiting factor for some automotive enthusiasts. Still, with its distinctive retro-cool 1960s style, the EV Mini has survived, and the company is now planning a new, longer-range electric Mini Cooper as well as an electric Mini Countryman for the 2025 model year.

One of the most anticipated new EVs harkens back to the mellow days of 1960s hippy culture as VW has resurrected the beloved VW Bus. This time the cherished icon is an EV renamed the ID.BUZZ. The retro yet modern van is ready to retake the market niche it helped launch before any of us had even heard the term “minivan.” The ID.BUZZ is currently available in Europe and will make its U.S. debut in 2024 albeit with a longer wheelbase and a third row of seats. Both versions sport the bright colors and smooth, curved lines that helped the VW Bus become a pop culture staple.

Not every icon is easily converted into an EV that appeals to or is affordable for a large market. For example, in 2017 Jaguar debuted what it called “the most beautiful electric car in the world,” the Jaguar electric E-type Zero. Based on the classic E-type, which hadn’t been produced since 1975, the two-seater roadster with an iconic swooping long hood blended what Jaguar hoped would be the best of unmistakable 1960s styling and 2020s modern EV technology. By 2019 they cancelled production plans for the vehicle.

Bespoke automobile shops that create personalized, classic EVs by converting existing gasoline-powered cars to EVs have been in business for a while now. Their market is specific and limited, but often the cars they convert are limited in number as well. The market is evolving and some classic, luxury, or sporty models that may never make sense to manufacture on a large scale may be preserved by converting them to EVs one by one. Thus, although it appears that Jaguar will not manufacturer a new E-type EV, it is possible to convert a classic E-type to an EV through an independent automotive business.

Melding the old with the new may create an interesting renaissance for the automobile industry. As consumers look to go electric, and with lighter materials and advanced technology regarding safety and aerodynamics, is there a limit to what can be revived? Will consumers embrace these iconic brands and models? Surely 2024 will provide some interesting data as the retro EV race heats up.


“The Future of Custom Vehicles: Ford Unveils All-Electric F-100 Eluminator Concept with New EV Crate Motor Customers Can Now Buy,” Ford Media Center, November, 21, 2021,

“Hot, New Electric Cars That Are Coming Soon,” Consumer Reports, updated December 1, 2023,

“Jaguar Will Build ‘The Most Beautiful Electric Car in the World’,” Dyler, March 21, 2022,

Lambert, Fred,” Jaguar Halts Plans for Electric E-type Zero,” elektrek, November 26, 2019,

Scherr, Elana, “2025 VW ID.Buzz in U.S. Spec is Nostalgic but Full of Modern Conveniences,” Car and Driver, June 2, 2023,

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