7 Cars That Need to Be Resurrected as EVs

Giving great cars the EVs treatment

As a society, we love, love, love the movie franchise, Back to the Future. From time travel and bullies to borderline incest, this film has it all. But the best gag in the entire series is the DeLorean as a time machine, a failed automaker's dream resurrected as the source of all the cinematic shenanigans. Well, kids, and kids with 401Ks, the DeLorean is coming back as an EV. I'm excited, and I've never even driven a DeLorean. I heard it's not that great behind the wheel. But who cares? Nostalgia! 

Red Volkswagen ID.5 electric cars drive over the test track at the company's Zwickau plant

Jens Schlueter / Getty Images

The DeLorean follows the footsteps (err tire treads) of the reintroduced Hummer EV. The gas guzzler of the early part of this century gets a second chance as a watts guzzler. But let’s not stop there. There are a whole host of wonderful cars automakers could bring back. I even once proposed Honda give us an electric S2000 roadster. So along that vein, here are the vehicles that need to be resurrected as EVs. 

Honda Element

Everyone’s favorite square SUV needs to be electrified. I’ve heard this from more people than any other vehicle out there. Production may have ended in 2011, yet the Element is still sought-after. With its fold-into-the-side back seats, wide door openings, low load height, cavernous cargo space, and rubber floor that can be hosed out, the Element is a blank canvas ready to accept whatever weird task you throw at it. 

2011 Honda Element in Orange


This could be Honda’s answer to the VW ID.Buzz. An electric cargo vehicle that’s built for fun and work (if you’re into that sort of thing) that already has the design necessary for a giant battery. It’ll likely need a little external design massaging in order to get the drag coefficient down—squares, as a rule, don’t slip through the air all that great—but the folks at Honda are smart; they can figure it out.

Buick Grand National

As a kid, I fell in love with the Buick Grand National. It looked cool, it sounded great, oh, and it was fast and menacing, like Darth Vader after drinking six Red Bulls. It’s one of the vehicles that got me interested in cars. 1987 was the last model year of the vehicle. 

Then a funny thing happened. The Watchmen television series on HBO introduced an electric Grand National driven by the series’ hero Angela Abar, played by the always amazing Regina King. Also, Run the Jewels started dropping references to the Grand National, aka “Grand Natty,” in like every other song. 

1987 Black Buick Grand National


Buick currently has a lineup of SUVs. Like every other automaker, it’s targeting the growing market of people that want to sit high and haul stuff. But for the most part, no one is excited about a Buick. Bring back the Grand National as an EV, and a Buick will once again be mentioned in the same breath as a Mustang and a Corvette. 

Volkswagen Cabrio

Convertibles don’t have to be roadsters, sports cars, or things you’d see your grandparents driving that are as big as a whale and about to set sail. They can be fun, small cars that haul you and your friends to the beach, lake, or other bodies of water while wearing grins and sunglasses. The Volkswagen Cabrio was built for such tomfoolery. Then it went away in the US market, and instead, we got the EOS convertible, which… let’s not even talk about it. 

Old Red Volkswagen Cabrio convertible with 3 passengers


The world needs a fun, convertible EV for cruising around town. Volkswagen is already bringing joy into the EV world with the ID.Buzz. Why not continue the smile express with an EV Cabrio? If it’s going to make this happen, it should hurry because Mini is planning an EV convertible. Then again, there’s plenty of room in the world for two top-down electric coupes. 

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Ok, this one might actually happen. I’m really just putting this in here to nudge Toyota to push its Compact Cruiser EV concept into production. That said, this is a no-brainer. The world of off-roaders got a huge kick in the bouldering pants with the introduction of the Ford Bronco. Finally, the Jeep Wrangler has proper competition. This is where Toyota could swoop in with its own trail-battling vehicle that also happens to be better for the planet it’s traversing. 

Isometric view of a Blue Toyota FJ Cruiser


The Wrangler 4Xe Plug-in hybrid has already shown that people who want to drive off-road also want to do so silently and with less impact on nature. Toyota going all-in would give it a lead over other automakers in this field and get everyone off its back about being late to the EV revolution. Plus, the FJ Cruiser and Compact Cruise look awesome. They’re just great looking vehicles, and it’s a pity that 2014 was the last model year of the FJ Cruiser in the United States  

Subaru Brat/Baja

The Subaru Brat and Baja were weird little trucks. Maybe they were ahead of their time. The Baja went away, and then mini trucks became huge. The Baja was discontinued, and now we’re all clamoring for a Ford Maverick or Hyundai Santa Cruz. Now’s the time for Subaru to reintroduce one of these weird little all-wheel-drive vehicles as an EV.

Yellow Subaru Baja off-road


Imagine a nice little EV that you can fill with mulch, dogs, or lumber as you cruise around quietly and can still park in a regular-sized space. The resurrected Brat (or Baja) would still seat four and still have the room people need for their daily errands. Plus, all-wheel drive, which is sort of Subaru’s thing if you ignore the rear-wheel-drive BRZ. It’s the perfect little EV for the brand that needs a truck win. 

Chevy El Camino / Ford Ranchero

While we’re talking about trucks, let’s get into one of the weirdest trends ever: the car truck thing. The Ford Ranchero and El Camino were cars that were also trucks. It’s just odd, but also, they were a thing of beauty. Sit low like a car, have a huge bed like a truck. Sure, why not? 

1959 Chevy El Camino in red


Well, both vehicles have endured the test of time with enthusiasts, and don’t those people deserve a new car truck thing to obsess over? Of the two automakers, I think Ford might be the one to pull this off. They’ve been on a roll with EVs and nostalgia lately. Plus, they already have the F-150 Lightning in production to take what they’re learning from that and smoosh it down into a car truck. Oh, they could call it the Rad-chero… I’ll see myself out.


side view of a Saab 900 black turbo


I was going to pick one Saab, then realized literally any Saab will do. Saabs were bought by nerdy car people and architects. The Swedish automotive brand has been bought and sold seemingly hundreds of times at this point and is now in some sort of limbo. But Saab people still want more Saabs. So can someone buy the Saab name, then hire some smart designers and engineers that love Bergman films and get to work? Just make some EV Saabs.

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