Electric-car fans have traditionally been "true believers," passionate in their devotion to EVs for everyone. Over the years, they labored in the wilderness, producing conversions and occasional strange-looking designs for new vehicles, few of which got built.
Now that lithium-ion batteries are putting practical electric cars within reach, futuristic designs for EVs (think Aptera 2e) will battle it out with eminently practical, nonthreatening ones (think 2011 Chevrolet Volt).
Halfway in between these two is the Mindset, a new EV from Switzerland created by former Volkswagen head designer Murat Günak. Unlike the Aptera, it actually has four wheels; unlike the Volt, it looks like nothing else on the road. Except, perhaps, from the front, which reminds us of an early 1950s Porsche. And maybe the rear windows kind of look like the 1990-93 Geo Storm "wagonback" (which we always secretly liked despite its appalling chassis and handling). But no one remembers that, so never mind.
The Mindset is said to have more than 100 miles of electric range, with a single-cylinder (!!) range-extending engine to provide another 300-plus. The interior blends some iPod styling with Sixties Mod-retro, even to the front bench seat. We're mildly skeptical that the exposed rear wheels with cycle fenders would be legal, but hey--concepts are meant to catch your attention, right?
The base price is 50,000 Euros (about $64,000 today) and Mindset optimistically hopes to make up to 10,000 a year when it gets its funding. We'd take it for a spin, though we'd dump the cheesy music first: