Electric vehicles offer a blank canvas for automakers when it comes to layout and features, considering how different they are under the skin from their internal-combustion counterparts. And some automakers have really let their designers loose with their imaginations when it comes to features that just aren’t found in conventional vehicles.
We’ve looked at some features already in this video, but there are so many they deserve another look. So here are another five weird features on some of today’s electric cars.
Fiat Topolino’s shower
The Italian carmaker Fiat debuted its tiny Topolino earlier this month, and the urban runabout is perfect for the narrow roads of Europe. With a top speed of 45 km/h, the two-seat cutey gets up to 75 km of range with its 5.4 kWh battery.
But what makes the Topolino perfect for the Italian seaside – apart from the unique striped interior and doorless option – is a portable shower, which Fiat describes as making the car ‘the perfect beach essential’. Imagine living la dolce vita on the Italian Riviera, finishing the day at the beach with a short spritz in the parking lot to get rid of the sea salt before mocktails and mingling on the patio.
No start button in the Volvo XC40 Recharge
OK, this is actually a lack of a feature, in a way. Imagine just getting in a car, putting it in gear and driving off? That would mean your gas-powered vehicle would be running all the time, but not the Volvo XC40 Recharge. This compact, all-electric SUV doesn’t have an ignition switch, but it senses when the key fob is in the driver’s seat; there’s also a weight sensor to make sure a driver is sitting in said seat.
There are no chimes or signals; all you do is press the brake, put the vehicle in gear and drive off. Putting it in park also turns off the vehicle. It’s a little unnerving at first, but once you get the hang of it, it might be a little confusing getting into another car.
Dog Mode in a Tesla
The inside of a vehicle can get extremely hot in the summer without air conditioning; that’s why you should never leave a pet inside there while you pop into a shop, even for a few minutes.
But Tesla has found a way around this danger. Dog Mode keeps the car’s air conditioning going and monitors the temperature inside the vehicle, in case you need to run an errand where Fido isn’t allowed. Oh, it will also keep the car heated in the winter months, too.
Because the Telsa is electric, there are no emissions during Dog Mode, and all doors are obviously kept locked to protect your pooch, too. The car will only activate Dog Mode if the battery charge level is above 20 per cent; if it drops below that while you’re gone, you’ll get a message on your phone to hurry back.
What’s also key here is that a large message will display on the giant infotainment screen to let passers-by know your pets are being taken care of, so hopefully no one will feel the need to break your windows.
Manual gear changes – with noise – in the all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
Hyundai revealed its Ioniq 5 N this month, the first all-electric vehicle for the brand’s ‘N’ motorsport division. And it looks like a hoot, with two motors offering up to 641 hp and 567 lb.-ft, along with a lowered and widened stance, aggressive aerodynamics and other handling features. We can’t wait to drive it.
One of its features should appeal to the old-school driver; ‘N e-shift’ gives the ability to mimic an eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. You get to feel the car’s jolt of its ‘gear changes’ as you row through the fake gears.
What’s more, this feature is combined with the ‘N Active Sound +’, which offers a selection of accompanying engine noises. It uses 10 speakers (eight internal, two external) for three distinct sounds: ‘Ignition’ simulates the automaker’s own N 2.0T engines, ‘Evolution’ provides a signature high-performance sound inspired by the RN22e, and ‘Supersonic’ is a unique concept inspired by fighter jets, featuring variable volume during cornering.
This setup just brings up a question; will you be able to upload any other sounds of your choice? A 1962 Ferrari V12, for example? Or a classic Porsche 911 air-cooled flat six? Maybe even a Tie Fighter from Star Wars? We can only dream …
The tailgate screen on the Baojun Yep Mini EV
Here’s a feature you’ll want with your own vehicle on the highway; unfortunately, the Baoujun Yep Mini EV is only available in China. This micro SUV that costs just 79,800 yuan (just under $15k in Canadian currency) has a refrigerated or heated ‘frunk’, a dashboard that allows users to attach things to it (such as an added video screen) and folding seats to maximize its tiny interior.
But it also has a video screen mounted to the rear door, facing traffic behind the Yep. It can be used to transmit messages or emojis via a smartwatch app.
Now, whatever would you want to say to that guy riding centimetres from your rear bumper on the 401?