Electric cars

Which non-automotive company would make the best electric cars?

Image for article titled Which non-automotive company would make the best electric cars?

Electric cars are so popular right now, and why wouldn’t they be? They are comfortable, efficient and (usually) a pleasure to drive. But for the companies that build them, electric vehicles can be much more: a gateway to new markets, a test bed for new technologies or perhaps an entirely new product line.

Apple has jumped on the bandwagon of non-automakers already, and Sony has released not one but two EV concepts. It makes sense: Both companies have decades of experience in electric motors, batteries and user experience – the latter of which may be the biggest differentiator between brands in an increasingly crowded electric vehicle market. It makes perfect sense for them to swing for the fences on electric cars. (It’s also what made the British home appliance company Dyson’s foray into the car seem convincing, however there doesn’t seem to be much going on lately.) What other should companies have fun?

Pictured: The Apple car, perfectly rendered by Jalopnik's Andy Kalmowitz

Pictured: The Apple car, perfectly rendered by Jalopnik’s Andy Kalmowitz
Drawing: Andy Kalmowitz

A non-automotive company that enters the electric vehicle market could bring something new and unexpected at the table. Most EV manufacturers have currently spent decades building conventional cars, and the basic concept of how they design vehicles remains unchanged. What could a newcomer design differently, without the old ways holding him back?

My pick for a non-builder who should start building electric cars is an odd one: Fender. I know, the guitar maker doesn’t have the same experience with motors and batteries as other car-curious tech companies, but hear me out. I think I’m on to something.

Do you remember the Fender Edition Beetle?  Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Do you remember the Fender Edition Beetle? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Photo: Wing

Fender has existing relationships with traditional builders, who can advise on the unique challenges of building a car. That would leave the company free to focus on one of the most important parts of the EV experience – the feel of an electric vehicle. How you experience it, primarily through one essential aspect of a car – sound.

Sound is an integral part of traditional ICE carsand Electric vehicles are no different. Fender has decades experience in fine-tuning sounds and reproduce them in a fully electronic format. It is the ideal company to manufacture electric vehicles sound fun – which is half the battle to make them feel fun.

My pick for a non-builder who should get into the EV game is Fender, but what’s yours? Leave your best ideas in the comments, and we’ll pick our favorites on Monday.