The Little e.Wave X Is Exactly The Kind of Fun Small EV We Need So I Probably Shouldn’t Get My Hopes Up

Ewave Top

On the same day that I’m telling you about how Cadillac announced a $300,000+ massive electric luxury road-locomotive I’m also going to tell you about a sub-$25,000 tiny, plucky-looking EV called the e.Wave X, so the goal I didn’t even realize I had of covering both ends of the EV spectrum in one day of announcements at the Paris Motor Show seems to have been achieved. Hot damn! That said, I personally think this funny-looking little cheap EV is by far the more important car here, because of course the third-of-a-million-dollar Caddy is going to be nice. No shit. You’re also never going to have one even if you sold all three of your kidneys. But a little, light, efficient EV that actually seems fun? That’s an actual future we should push for.

Ewave Wht

So what is this thing? And who makes it? Okay, slow down! And let go of my arm! Thank you.

Okay, so,  it’s made by a German company calledNext.e.GO Mobile SE, and the sorta stupidly-named e.Wave X is a little electric city car hatchback that can seat four, has a 107 horsepower motor, has a range of about 155 miles in city driving or 101 miles city/highway combined in the WLTP cycle, a 30.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, weighs about 2,800 pounds, has a top speed of about 84 mph, and is RWD. You know what’s notable about all those figures?

They’re all just fine.

Those aren’t incredible numbers for any of those categories, but for a small city car that you can use for occasional highway trips, they’re all absolutely fine. No, it’s not a Tesla Model S that can melt your face off on on ramps and go 300 miles per charge, but who cares? You hardly ever need 1/3 of what a Model S gives you, in speed or range or size or weight.

Besides, aren’t EV owners always reminding us that range isn’t as big a deal because so many EV owners charge at home? If that’s the case, then 100 to 150 miles should be just fine.

Even better, this thing looks pretty fun to me! I’m a big fan of the mildly cartoonish styling; it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but at the same time it’s not overly cute-ified. It’s got nice big wheels and those rally-style driving lights and what looks like a usable roof rack and just enough chunky looking black bits to feel a bit rugged, even.


Underneath everything is an aluminum space frame, and based on an image I saw in the video of the dash display, it appears the battery pack is floor mounted, like almost everyone’s is, and there’s what looks to be a motor on the rear axle:


On the inside, once again, all I can see is completely decent adequacy all around! That steering wheel even looks to have the skin of the Alacantar on it, and there’s Apple CarPlay on that plenty-big LCD screen:


All of this just fine! What are you, an emperor? This would get your ass to and from work and probably do like 80% of the things you use a car for, no problem. Honestly, this is the direction we need to be looking for mass adoption of EVs. Not every EV has to be able to do everything, all the time. You just don’t need a 5,500 pound luxury EV with a 350 mile range to drag your butt to and from work every day. The whole point of these things is efficiency, right? So why are we building massive juggernauts?Rearqtr

Plus, we need cheap EVs, too, and right now, those don’t really exist on the market. If you had something like this for your day-to-day needs, you could have some big, fun V8 in your garage for occasional road trip or noise-enjoying use, and we’d still come out ahead eco-wise.

This e.Wave X thing is also a good reminder that these things have potential to be appealing, too.

I want to see more of this. I’m not holding my breath that this will come to the US, and I realize we’d have to have some sort of alternate, relaxed crash standards for this category, but I think it’s worth it. Not everything needs to be everything to everyone. There’s a place for small, fun, useful EVs, and it’s time we accepted that.



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48 Responses

  1. I just love the way this car looks. Could it be a little sporty and a little fun, perhaps? Their website is all in German but thanks to Google Translate, it’s easy to read. All priced in euros, so I reckon there’s no U.S. certification yet, which probably means this is a ways off. Would drive something like this all day. Unfortunately, with EVs, perfect has become the enemy of good enough. The expensive ones became geek gadgets really quick and were priced that way. Most of us don’t need geek gadgets. If I want a geek gadget, I’ll order another Chinese smartwatch from eBay and play with that. Hybrids are the bridge to an all-electric future because they remove range anxiety and are a less harmful way to see if the e-car life is for you and your life. But then, this morning I looked at the Elio Motors site and they’re plugging an EV version of their little runabout for $14,900. Are they for real this time? Exciting times?

  2. We have a 1st gen Nissan Leaf – it is just fine. With 24 kWh (when it was new), the range is – fine. Don’t know how long charging takes, because I sleep when it does. Oh yeah, just from a 120 V outlet. It’s fine.

    Pro tip: You can recognize a sane and reasonable EV by the absence of stupid door handles.

    1. My wife has an ID.4 that we use most of the time, including for her work commute. I work from home, so would love a good, inexpensive EV for my occasional errands when she’s gone. This would be a good replacement for my 15 year old CR-V. So, yeah…it will never happen.

      1. Check your local car market for used Smart EVs. They are generally pretty cheap and they basically are this car but with a bit less range. Used Fiat 500e’s are out there too. They might all be coming from California, but they’re out there.

        1. Yep, this looks to be a slightly improved reimagination of the 2017 Smart ED that I daily. I have to take the ICE car out of the garage for the first time in a month for its annual oil change. Don’t have to worry about that with the EV.

  3. @torch how is it that you have never done a story on the Toyota WiLL Vi (which I just learned existed by way of your former employer who shall not be named because one backed through an ancient Buddhist outhouse)

    seems like you should own one to go with your Pao

    1. I read your parenthetical statement and legit thought you were saying someone at Jalopnik ran over a Buddhist outhouse. And this act of sacrilege so infuriated you that you had sworn never to pronounce the site’s name again.

      “Whoa, Jalopnik went nuts after Torch and Tracy left. And Buddhists can REALLY hold a grudge.”

  4. This car is interesting looking, best from the front and not so much from the side. The side view is a little too much bloated Smart For 4. This would need to be priced way under $25,000 to be at all competitive with the 2023 Bolt (more room and more range) starting at around $25,600.

  5. Maybe it’s the caffeine, but I want one just so I could attach a couple ABS acute triangles just below the driving lights and drive around in the Count from Sesame Street during the now 2-month long Halloween season (seriously: several households near me started on their creepy decorations on Labor Day weekend [facepalm emoji])

  6. I know there’s absolutely no point and it’s probably even detrimental to efficiency, but is there ANY hope for a manual transmission in EV’s? Just for shits and giggles. IDC it doesn’t make sense because you know what else doesn’t make sense? A 270mph supercar.

    1. I am a huge manual fan. Trust me or don’t, but it’s true.

      And the best thing about a manual is getting to fiddle with lots of controls that meaningfully affect the driving characteristics and experience. Careful clutch management, early shift, late shift, high revs, good range, etc.

      Let me tell you, fiddling with all the possible settings in my dad’s 2017 Volt scratches that itch. Whether it’s seeing how much you can beat the range estimate by, seeing how to plan out your errands to use the 53 miles pure electric only each day, changing to eco vs Sport, playing the Regen only braking game…. The future for people who like to fiddle is bright!

      I also got myself an ebike to go with my project car. Same thing. It’s a constant project (with 1-3 fewer zeros!) and has all the fun character of knowing when and how to shift what, set motor levels, etc.

      I was very anxious about the electric era, but living with one allows the same car to either be set-and-forget (those auto appliance drivers) AND infinite fiddlabilty (us manual folks).


      1. I have owned and still own several manual vehicles but also have a 2016 Kia Soul EV. It is not the same type of fiddling, and not fun to drive. Useful, yes, practical and economical. Absolutely. Fun? Nope. Perhaps that Volt is better. I test drove one and it left no impression on me. We bought a cheap used compliance EV for local driving.

        I would be in line for a manual EV, even if it made no sense efficiency wise.

    1. No. Not true if your household owns 2 cars. Nor true if you’ve got a credit card and the ability to rent something else on those rare occasions when you need it.

      Yeah, some people live in the boondocks 50 miles from the nearest store. Some people need to drive 500 miles to grandma’s house every weekend. This car obviously isn’t for them. On the other hand, some people live in an urban area and rarely drive more than 20 miles at a shot. It’ll be fine for them even if they don’t own a second car.

  7. For $25,000 though, which makes more sense: the Next.e.GO Mobile SE e.Wave X (Christ on a crutch, who greenlit that one?) or a Honda Civic? Sure the Civic will cost more to run, but they’re not exactly thirsty beasts and they’re bound to be reliable as anything. Plus, you can be pretty sure that Honda will still be around and making parts for the 2023 Civic in ten years, whereas the odds on Next.e.GO Mobile SE (again, seriously?) existing in the mid-2030s aren’t anything I’d care to bet money on. The Civic also seats five, and has a 434 mile range between fill-ups, which can be done basically anywhere and take about five minutes.

    I really, really do want EVs to succeed and take over, as fast as possible. Yes, I fully understand the drawbacks compared to ICE vehicles, especially from an enthusiast perspective. The consequences of not decoupling transportation from fossil fuels are just so catastrophic that I strongly believe some sacrifices are worthwhile in order to mitigate the suffering and destruction that will be our legacy, and our children’s heritage.

    However, when it comes to expensive purchases (and contrary to what the automotive press would have you believe, $25,000 plus interest on a depreciating asset is an extremely expensive purchase for the average household) people have to think about the present, and what will work best for them right now. People are used to a certain lifestyle, and asking them to give up parts of it will always be a hard sell. Asking people to pay more for less will always be a hard sell.

    EVs need to offer people more of the kinds of things they care about than a similarly-expensive ICE vehicle. Otherwise, people are just not going to buy them. Unless you are lucky enough that five-figure purchases are just not a big deal for you, buying a car is a transaction where value for money really, really matters. I don’t see the value proposition in the absurdly-named Next.e.GO Mobile SE e.Wave X.

    1. “I strongly believe some sacrifices are worthwhile in order to mitigate the suffering and destruction that will be our legacy, and our children’s heritage.”

      Sure, a long as the vast majority of sacrifice is SILENTLY done by everyone else (God the WHINING! Shut up, eat your bowl ‘o bugs, then crawl back into your crappy little cage home already!)

      I did my part, I had a 10 oz steak instead of a 12 oz steak for dinner, I took my family of 7 on a cruise from a closer port (we still flew there though, we’re not animals!). I even scaled down my latest purchase from a 7.3L F350 to a 6.7L F250. I gotta have SOMETHING to move my family… AND my 28″ cigarette boat around!

      Sucks but it’s for the kids amIrite? Now when’s MY televised award ceremony?

      1. I install solar panels. It’s my full time job. I spent today on the roof of an apartment complex driving lags, racking rail, managing wires, and laying glass. That’s how I spend most of my waking hours, most days in my life. I work 45-50 hours in a typical week. Building renewable energy infrastructure is my career, and I intend to keep doing it until I retire. What are you doing?

  8. I love the styling from the front quarter view. Fender flares!! Rally lights!! Side profile is a bit… Kia Soul banged a SmartCar. Proportions are just a little off. If it were longer and larger, I think the styling could be excellent, but at that point it would be a different car entirely. Maybe a future model for the brand.

  9. I love it. I seriously considered a Chevy bolt, but ultimately decided against it largely due to the fact that all the instant torque hitting the front wheels just wasn’t fun for me. I don’t need a ton of range, I don’t often put other people in the car, and I love lightweight cars. So RWD, small and light while still getting over 100 miles, sounds great. Yeah… It would never sell here. I also would buy a Honda E on day one of they’d bring that here.

  10. I really like this. The round headlights and smooth front end remind me of a Beetle, which is always a good thing.

    That said though (and I’m fully expecting Adrian to start howling for my blood here) it needs smaller diameter wheels. Maybe some kind of neo-dog-dish things or the chunky two-spoke retro-’80s-futurism things you see on French concept cars. I dunno. The black painted thin spokes aren’t working for me.

  11. This is some clever packaging, and seems like it would be a great commuting car. Would I buy one? Well it’s not coming here, so that’s kind of moot, but probably not. Three years ago I would have said that $25k buys a helluva used car, and this wouldn’t even be a consideration, but the current used car market is broken, so I would have to compare it to new cars and there’s a fair amount compelling competition at that price point. As an only car absolutely not–there’s a Ford Maverick XL Hybrid for sale near me for less than $24k that would be a much better all rounder. If I had a fun car and just needed a daily commuter it would be a closer consideration, but then I would still have two cars with limited cargo capacity, and the one that can carry more than one passenger has very limited range–which has me thinking about that Maverick again. I hate pickups, but weirdly this particular vehicle is really speaking to me–maybe it’s the “Area51” paint job. Anyhow this thing isn’t utile enough to be a second to a fun car, but I suppose it could make sense as a third car that sees the bulk of our weekday driving and gets parked on weekends.

        1. As a daily driver of the slightly larger Fiat 500e, I can confirm that not being comfortable is essential for the adults seated in the rear, and I’m sure this car is similar. The 500e is great for the two front-seated adults, with plenty of headroom, etc., but the back seat is best reserved for people no larger than the average 10-year old.

          DORA, huh? I looked it up but couldn’t figure out which of these meanings you were referencing. Help a brother out.

          Acronym Definition
          DoRA Division of Revenue Act (South Africa)
          DoRA San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (American Society for Cell Biology; San Francisco, CA)
          DoRA Dynamic Online Routing Algorithm
          DoRA Digital Operating Room Assistant (hospitals)
          DoRA Data Optimized Revision A
          DoRA Department of Regulatory Agencies (Colorado)
          DoRA Discover, Offer, Request, Acknowledge (Internet protocol assignment)
          DoRA District Office Research and Analysis
          DoRA Dallas Office Rapid Adjustment
          DoRA Directory Of Rare Analyses
          DoRA Digital Online Research Assistant
          DoRA Defence Of the Realm Act
          DoRA Definition Of Operations Report Analysis
          DoRA Development Organization for the Revival of Afghanistan

          1. @DarKhorse I always thought the backseats in my Abarth were surprisingly usable–not that I would want to be there for an extended road trip, but certainly more comfortable than the back seats of the BWM 228 that replaced it. Those were emergency use only.

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