The spectacular-looking Polestar O2 concept got us wondering why there aren’t many drop-top EVs. You can get a fully-electric sedan, a pickup truck, and battery-powered SUVs in all shapes and sizes — even a gigantic electric Hummer — and yet convertible EVs are almost non-existent. It’s a shame, but it’s entirely understandable. The EV market is still young, and roadsters and cabriolets are niche products, not best-sellers. Automakers are getting into the EV game with models that have mass-appeal and the potential to turn big profits. We counted more than 20 new EVs hitting the market in 2022 alone, and the vast majority of them are (unsurprisingly) SUVs.
In addition to the Polestar O2 roadster concept, there are a handful of open-top electric restomods and concepts we’d love to get our hands on. Imagine the feeling of gliding along some beautiful ocean-side road with, “no roof, no noise, and no fumes.” That’s Polestar’s pitch and frankly, we’re sold. Bring on the convertible EVs.
Polestar O2 concept
The O2 is Polestar’s vision for a future electric sports car, and, if you ask us, this future can’t come soon enough. As we’ve come to expect from the Swedish brand, this concept car is full of big ideas, including a launchable drone and an interior made of a single easily-recyclable material. We love the woven-flax panels and the 3D knit upholstery too. Like the Polestar Precept concept, the O2 is based on a fully-bonded aluminum unibody, which not only makes the car light and stiff — exactly what you want in a sports car — but also means it’ll be easier to reuse and recycle. The 2+2 cabin has an unusual cab-forward design, almost like a mid-engine supercar, which takes full advantage of the packaging-benefits offered by compact electric motors and batteries. According to the company, “Polestar plans to launch three new cars over the coming three years, starting in 2022, each of which has potential to gradually realize some of the ideas presented by these concept cars.”
Zero Labs SUVs
The Hawthorne, California-based Zero Labs Automotive is no stranger to electric restomods, taking old SUVs and turning them into zero-emissions adventure vehicles. Adam Roe founded the company after selling his advertising and marketing agency in 2015. “Because I was a long-time collector of classic vehicles I, like many collectors back then, was caught in between a love of the past, but a growing responsibility to a better future,” Roe told SHARP. Now using a third-generation EV platform developed in house, Zero Labs can reliably convert any first-generation Ford Bronco or Land Rover Series III into an electric vehicle with an estimated 376 km range. While not a tradition convertible, both SUVs are available in open-top configurations, and either one would make a sweet summer ride. Prices start at around $250,000.
Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept
Don’t get too excited just yet. This drop-dead gorgeous concept car from Bentley was unveiled back in 2017 at the Geneva Motor Show, and it’s been crickets since then. It had neat features, including inductive charging, which — just like your phone — means you wouldn’t have to plug it in. Simply park the car over a charging pad and come back to a fully-juiced Bentley. The good news is that Bentley is in the early stages of converting its lineup to fully-electric by 2030. Early this year, the company announced it would invest $3.4 billion toward that goal, with the first Bentley EV hitting the road in 2025. So, there’s still hope for this EXP concept, or something like it, landing in showrooms eventually.
Aston Martin Works DB6 conversion
Europe is, so far, moving much faster than we are in North America to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles. As a result, Aston Martin’s Works department was concerned classic cars could eventually, in the distant future, become unusable due to restrictions placed on combustion-engine vehicles. In response, some clever engineers in Newport Pagnell set about to develop a “cassette” powertrain concept that could be used to easily convert classic Aston’s from gasoline to pure battery-power. The conversion is minimally invasive, and fully reversible. This all-electric 1970 DB6 MkII Volante is proof-of-concept. Customer builds were supposed to begin in 2019, but we can’t be sure if the project ever went ahead or not.
AC Cobra Series 1 electric
There’s no shortage of EV restomods out there, but no matter how nicely you do it, cutting into an original AC Cobra and ripping out the motor is going to make some people mad. Thankfully, these electric recreations by the re-born-again AC Cars are effectively new cars, not based on a cut-up old classic. The UK firm is in the process of making a couple different battery-powered models, including this beautiful Cobra Series 1 Electric. The electric motor is said to be good for around 335 hp, and driving range is estimated at 240 km. In Canadian dollars, the price will be around $230,000.
The OG Tesla roadster, based on the open-top Lotus Elise, debuted in 2008 and we’re still waiting for its successor. The second-gen Roadster was unveiled in 2017, and supposed to be on the road in 2020. The latest news from Elon Musk is that it’ll arrive in 2023, so, who knows. While not a traditional convertible, it’s supposed to have a removable targa-style glass roof. The performance claims for this machine are outrageous: 0-100 km/h in 2.1 seconds, quarter-mile in 8.8 seconds, 10,000 NM of torque and a driving range of 1,000 km. We’re taking it all with a grain of salt, but you can be sure this thing won’t be lacking in the acceleration department — if it ever arrives. Reserving one will set you back $64,000.