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Time to Run: The 18 Worst Electric Cars You Could Buy

GM EV1 electric car

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Development in technology has led to the disruption of the norm in many industries across the globe. The automotive industry has seen the biggest application with the development of autonomous and electric cars that everyone is buzzing about. However, some manufacturers are tarnishing the industry. Here are the worst electric cars in 2019…

The Worst Electric Cars to Buy


GM EV1 electric car

This was the first ever electric car that was approved for mass production back in the late 90’s. The cars having been built while relying on the data collected from concept car, proved not be sustainable in the market. The high cost of the car, as well as the limited capacity of two, has made it be termed as one of the worst electric cars produced.

Although the cars had a sleek and aerodynamic exterior that was attractive to the eye, its main technical failure was its battery life which was very short requiring the user to recharge it after every few 100 miles covered. The batteries used were also heavy which reduced the speed of the car which was designed to be one of the fastest electric cars at that time.

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peugeot-ion electric car

Peugeot ION was developed specifically to outdo Mitsubishi i-MiEV which had been launched around the same time. Peugeot were however not very optimistic about these electric cars as they didn’t sell the cars but leased them to willing clients. People have speculated that this could have been attributed to the fact that there were power distribution inefficiencies as well as the depreciating rates of the car.

Multiple complains were raised by the clients who leased the cars that the charging system was not functioning properly despite numerous attempts to change the charger. Peugeot ION was later withdrawn from the market and the its production stopped as it proved to be uneconomical.


MAHINDRA E20 electric car

Mahindra E20 is a tiny zero-emission car with a three-door outline that has been reported to put off many buyers. It was designed to achieve a 110km range but test drives have proven that it is nearly impossible for you to achieve this speed on the E20. It also has a long charge time which contradicts with its objective of being a number one car-choice for a city dweller.

Despite production of other E20 series of Mahindra, the electric cars still faced problems of battery charge drain and dysfunctional air conditioning. The problems were so prevalent that all cars had to be recalled by the manufacturer and the customers refunded back their money.


CORBIN SPARROW electric car

Designed to be used for pizza deliveries, Corbin Sparrow is a three-wheel electric car that has been listed as one of the weird-looking electric cars. It did not attract a lot of attention as it was limited in space and therefore not practical for most families.

The charging range of these electric cars was very low despite their small size. It could also attain a maximum speed of 70km range proving to be very slow compared to the electric cars being produced during that era such as the GM EV1.


SINCLAIR C5 electric car

Developed as a personal transportation device, the three-wheeler was intended to reduce the congestion and traffic that was being experienced in Britain at the time. The project failed terribly as it was launched before the proper safety measures were taken. London is a rainy town and Sinclair C5 being open meant that you could only use it during the dry seasons. It also did not feature reverse gear which made the reversing of the car technically impossible.

After the car was launched, numerous complains emerged that several components of the car stopped working and this created a bad image in the market. Its battery power was also very low which made it hard to use it in high places.

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FLYBO electric car

Flybo might be termed as one of the most beautiful electric cars as it has a very appealing exterior. The Japanese manufacturing country however ensured that the only thing that you will like about this car is its exterior by using cheap materials to make the car. They also removed the infotainment screen on the dashboard and replaced it with a Chinese system that coughs out directives that you can barely comprehend.

This car failed very terribly such that it was limited to a maximum speed of 25KM range as it couldn’t be given safety approval beyond that. The materials used to make the car are of very low quality that they tend to break off from each other and rust very fast when exposed to extreme temperatures.


ZAP ZEBRA electric car

Zap Zebra appears on our list of the worst electric cars ever manufactured because, upon inspection, it was noted that these three-wheelers had a number of problems that made them dangerous for use. One of the deficiencies that were highlighted was the inability of its brakes to function properly within a fixed timeframe and distance.

Other issues raised by users of these decorated electric vehicles is that the controllers and chargers failed to function properly from time to time. The dc to dc connection was also problematic with many cars being recalled to be fixed. The car lacked proper waterproofing of its components which made them malfunction during the wet season.


MILES electric car

Many people were excited about this electric car when it was launched because it featured a very spacious interior. The excitement was short-lived when they realized that the Japanese used very cheap materials to make the car. This made it rust very quickly and gave it an overall ugly look of rust patches.

It was also very slow and this can be attributed to the heavyweight of the materials used to make the electric car. The highest speed that Miles could achieve when fully charged was about 45km range. They were also being sold at a very high price despite the fact that most parts of the car were made of cheap plastic that broke and cracked easily under pressure.


elcar electric car

Developed in the 1970s, Elcar failed terribly in the market when compared to the other electric cars available during that era. The exterior design of the car needed more work before the car was launched as the fiberglass had gaping seams that could be identified from afar. It was also marked as unsafe for use on public roads as the suspension was not fixed well and would come off anytime that you applied a lot of pressure on the brake pedal.

Another safety issue raised against the Elcar was the presence of the lead-acid batteries beneath the passenger seat as this posed danger to the occupants of the vehicle. The sliding windows and lack of air conditioning did not help in the maintenance of favorable temperatures inside the car.


GURGEL ITAIPU electric car

One of the most common problems associated with this Japanese electric car is its lack of stability which made it dangerous to its driver as well as other road users. Its batteries did not have much power such that it could not be used during the night as the batteries couldn’t run the car while keeping the headlights on. The problems with Gurgel Itaipu were so widespread that no record of any official sale can be found.


VOLPE CAR electric car

Volpe car boasts of its small size which makes it the smallest electric car that has ever been produced. It is very small such that it can be driven through alleys or into an elevator. The small size is disadvantageous though because it limits the size of its driver or your ability to carry luggage into the electric vehicle. Another risk posed by the small size of the Volpe car is that other drivers of huge cars might not see it on the highway leading to collision and accidents.


GEM electric car

The first mistake done when manufacturing the Gem is designing it as a golf cart and then giving it an off-road impression. Despite the fact that it is appearing to the eye, the car lacks practicality as it can only achieve a speed of 20mph. Its use is also limited as the low-speed vehicles are not allowed for use in public in many states.


zenn electric car

Zenn electric cars failed terribly because of the 40mph speed range that made them impractical to use despite the fact that it was developed for neighborhood use. Its battery developed failures and was unable to store adequate charge to last someone a couple of miles while driving at minimum speed.

The exterior design is very bulky which gives it a not-so-appealing look. We should, however, give credit where it is due as the material used is of good quality and lasted for long compared to other electric cars of that time.



The Nissan Leaf E bodywork is like that of a normal car and you might not classify it as an electric car at first glance. It appears on the list of the worst electric cars because its braking system was very faulty such that its users had to be very cautious when applying breaks to avoid malfunction. It was reported that there was a problem in the communication system between the brakes and other components of the electric car.


Citroen C-Zero is not preferred for an electric vehicle despite its good exterior look because it has a very high depreciating rate which makes it a risky investment. Users also reported failures in the charging system and this can be attributed to the fact that the gearing level mechanism is very stiff.

Numerous complaints were raised towards the end of 2013 of complete battery failure that rendered the car dysfunctional. This led to the manufacturing company, Mitsubishi, to stop any further production of the Citroen C-Zero electric vehicles.


Coda (electric car)

Coda’s failure began with its unattractive look in an era when electric cars were being designed to appeal to the customers. The cost of the car was also very high due to the fact that the heavy batteries were being imported from China and the cost transferred to the buyer. The assembly of the vehicle parts was either done wrong or hastily as this electric vehicle did not look or feel safe. Driving it gave the users a bad experience and the negative reviews led to its downfall.


think city electric car

You must be wondering why this electric car with a weird name made it to the list of the worst electric cars ever made. Here is why. The car was developed using cardboard-like recycled materials which have hindered it from passing many safety standards in various countries. As a result, Think City is not cleared for public use making it an impractical choice of an electric car. It was also very expensive and its batteries contained little power which was not sufficient to sustain the whole car for long.


CADILLAC ELR electric car

Cadillac ELR differs from most of the electric vehicles on this list because its design was very sleek and beautiful on both the exterior and interior. It also incorporated an electric motor and a battery to give it double power that could last longer compared to other electric cars.

So why is it on this list? It is termed as one of the worst electric cars because its manufacturers became very greedy and put a very high price tag on the car. This resulted in very few sales of earlier and even newer models of the electric car.


Although the automotive industry has evolved with the technological advances being achieved, a lot has to be done to ensure that the products being developed provide the end consumer with a value for their money. The above list shows some of the world’s biggest failures of electric cars that can be attributed to lack of proper planning and test of applicability.

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