Find out how the most iconic cars are going electric for the future

Traditional automakers are investing in all-electric versions of classic cars

(Video: The Washington Post)


For many Americans, the image of an electric vehicle is largely limited to a futuristic sedan or a boxy sedan. But mainstream automakers are rushing to offer electrified versions of their classic brands, retaining the design and sensory elements that made their gasoline-powered predecessors cultural touchstones.

For Ford, that means an all-electric F-150 pickup truck with even more power than before. Volkswagen has transformed its bus, the iconic hippie van of the 1960s, into an ambient lounge where the seat backs fold into tables. Dodge plans to take the signature roar of its muscle cars and broadcast it through an electronic speaker.

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT

  • Year available: 2024
  • Price: To be determined
  • Battery range: To be determined

The characteristic growl of an 8-cylinder engine came to define car culture in the late 1960s and early 1970s, thanks in large part to the Dodge Charger. But Dodge now plans to retire the gas-powered muscle car and replace it with the all-electric one. Charger Daytona SRT concept carsporting an electronic roar that mimics the classic sound.

Parent company Stellantis designed the concept car to look and feel like a classic Dodge, and the muscle car’s electronic roar is an industry first, it says.

Longtime muscle car enthusiasts say there’s a lot at stake. “The era of muscle cars [will] disappear unless they show us something really, really good,” says Alton Freeman, curator of the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in Alexander City, Ala.

  • Year available: 2022 in Europe, 2024 in the United States
  • Price: £57,115 in the UK ($65,739)
  • Battery range: 258 miles

The Volkswagen Microbus, or “bus” for short, has long embodied social liberation and the rejection of car-buying standards. It was a symbol of the protest culture of the 1960s. More recently, it featured in the viral #vanlife social media trend, in which people tell about their journeys in vehicles.

The identity. Buzz ― released in Europe in 2022 and with a US release slated for 2024 ― is an electric five-seat redesign. The European version includes a three-seater folding bench seat and folding tables on the backs of the front seats.

An optional 30-color ambient lighting system includes an “ambient menu” with pre-configured light strips throughout the interior. The European model also includes an electronically limited top speed of 90 miles per hour and makes little noise even at high speeds.

  • Year available: 2022
  • Price: $46,974
  • Battery range: 240 miles

Ford’s F-150 has been America’s best-selling pickup for more than four decades, according to JD Power, and the prospect of an all-electric version sent shockwaves through the auto industry during production . began in April.

Ford is marketing its new electric vehicle as a more powerful, tougher, battery-powered version of what came before it. The basic appearance is little modified. Under the hood, however, the Lightning is a noticeably different vehicle. It features a 580 horsepower engine, marking a significant improvement over the 430 horsepower engine of its predecessor. It can accelerate from zero to 60 in just four seconds ― not far behind some high-performance racers made by Porsche and Ferrari. And with bi-directional charging, the battery could be used to charge other vehicles or even a home.

  • Year available: 2021
  • Price: $48,775
  • Battery range: 303 miles

Ford’s Mustang crossover makes several significant departures from previous models, a risky move for any legacy manufacturer. The classic nameplate now appears on a four-door SUV with more internal storage space, marking a stark contrast to the muscular sports cars that have defined the brand.

The company could appeal to longtime Mustang enthusiasts with the performance of the electric version. The car has an all-wheel-drive system through separate electric motors on the front and rear axles, providing the driver with additional acceleration.

  • Year available: 2021
  • Price: $84,650
  • Battery range: 250+ miles

For many, the Hummer SUV is known as a notorious gas guzzler. It was originally designed as a consumer version of a military Humvee, with its gas mileage averaging around 10 miles per gallon, or even less on city streets.

General Motors is now selling an electric Hummer SUV marketed as a rugged off-road vehicle. Its standard features include an overflow roof, all-weather floor coverings and 35-inch all-terrain tires. GM also touts a “crab walk” feature that allows the vehicle to move diagonally. The driving experience can be changed with a ‘mode selector’ offering the driver settings such as ‘off-road’, ‘terrain’, ‘tow’ and ‘adrenaline’. And it’s designed with the power and hauling capability of its predecessor, with up to three electric motors available.

  • Year available: 2020
  • Price: €67,818 in Germany ($67,499)
  • Battery range: 249 miles

Mercedes-Benz EQV carries the design cues of the automaker’s iconic V-Class minivans, known in the United States as the Metris. It carries the space and functionality of a different classic: the van.

The 8-seat capacity of the EQV sets it apart. It comes in two settings: long and extra long. It also has a number of additional comfort features such as a folding table console for the middle row of seats. Currently, it is only available in Europe.

  • Year available: 2019
  • Price: $86,700
  • Battery range: 200+ miles

Porsche’s Taycan series of electric vehicles are marketed for speed and handling in the brand’s high-performance sports car tradition. It comes in three variations designed to accentuate various design features. The Cross Turismo and Sport Turismo each carry an enlarged rear in the style of a hatchback.

The expensive Taycan Turbo variant, on the other hand, is a real racer. It can zoom from zero to 60 miles per hour in three seconds flat. And it’s more aerodynamic than any other Porsche model ever produced, according to the company.

  • Year available: 2020
  • Price: $34,225
  • Battery range: 114 miles

With a starting price of around $30,000, the Mini Cooper Electric is one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market.

Its compact frame makes it a common choice for congested city driving. Its limited 110-mile battery range, however, could make for a tough sell for car buyers looking for more than a commuter commute.

  • Year available: 2018
  • Price: $71,300
  • Battery range: up to 292 miles

Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace is described as a “performance SUV”, recreating the brand’s classic sports car feel with a roomier interior.

The company describe its luxury vehicle as a “sanctuary from the outside world”, using a sharp exterior to minimize wind noise. It has motor encapsulation to further reduce noise.

Editing by Karly Domb Sadof and Laura Stevens. Additional editing by Haley Hamblin, Hadley Green and Gaby Morera Di Núbila.

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