The Demise Of Small And Affordable EVs In 2023


As the year draws to a close, we bid farewell to several promising small electric vehicles that failed to withstand the dominance of larger, more expensive EVs. These compact and budget-friendly alternatives sought to challenge the prevailing trend of oversized and costly electric cars, yet they ultimately succumbed to various setbacks. Let’s take a closer look at the unfortunate fate of these diminutive EVs and their impact on North America’s EV market.

Key Takeaway

Despite the challenges faced by small EVs, the rise of electric bike-sharing programs and the perseverance of certain compact EV models offer glimmers of hope for the future of sustainable urban transportation.

The Lost Heroes

  • ElectraMeccanica Solo: Despite its appeal to city dwellers and delivery fleets, the tiny Solo faced a major setback due to power failure issues, leading to a full recall and subsequent pivot to four-wheeled vehicles.
  • Honda e: Lauded for its city-friendly design, the Honda e struggled to gain traction in the market, ultimately prompting Honda to cease production in January 2024.
  • Sono Sion: Once envisioned as a pioneer in integrating solar panels into electric cars, the Sono Sion faced a drastic shift in focus, leading to layoffs and a transition to supplying its solar technology to other automakers.
  • GM, Honda’s affordable EVs: The collaboration between General Motors and Honda to develop small and affordable EVs was abruptly terminated in October 2023, casting doubt on the future of such initiatives.
  • Mazda MX-30 (U.S.): Despite its limited availability and modest range, the Mazda MX-30 faced discontinuation in the U.S., signaling a challenging environment for smaller EVs in the country.
  • Revel Mopeds: Once a prominent player in the moped-sharing space, Revel faced a decline in ridership and ultimately shifted its focus away from electric mopeds.
  • VanMoof: The Dutch e-bike startup, once hailed for its substantial funding, encountered financial woes and eventually declared bankruptcy, only to be acquired by an electric scooter maker.

While the loss of these small EVs is undoubtedly disheartening, there are still positive developments in the realm of sustainable urban mobility. The increasing popularity of electric bike-sharing programs, exemplified by record-breaking ridership in cities like D.C. and New York, signifies a growing interest in alternative modes of transportation. Additionally, the continued presence of unique EV models such as Arcimoto and the impending arrival of the Fiat 500e in North America provide reassurance that the spirit of innovation in the small EV segment remains alive. Furthermore, initiatives like Telo Trucks’ endeavor to reintroduce compact trucks and GM’s decision to retain certain EV models offer a glimmer of hope amidst the setbacks faced by small EVs.

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