For those looking to enjoy the wind in their hair.
With a decline in consumer interest in convertible cars and the extra weight and safety risks of EV battery packs, you can’t buy a convertible EV. At least not yet.
There are countless great options if you’re looking to buy a new EV. Buyers can choose from electric cars, trucks, SUVs, and even high-end electric supercars are on the way. However, you won’t find a convertible EV, and here’s why.
Sure, you can get an expensive $110,000 GMC Hummer EV or a Jeep Wrangler 4Xe hybrid with removable roof panels or a soft top, but that’s not a true convertible.
Imagine enjoying the fresh air, sun rays, and the wind in your hair on a warm summer day without the noise of a gas-powered vehicle. Sounds nice, right? So, why aren’t manufacturers offering convertible EVs? For one, it’s likely a safety issue. Plus, convertibles aren’t as popular as you think.
The Problem With Convertible EVs
There’s likely one big reason why electric convertibles aren’t available yet, and that’s weight. Electric cars are far heavier than traditional vehicles, with massive lithium-ion battery packs underneath the car. That’s a considerable safety risk during an accident or rollover.
Those battery packs are typically located under the floor, giving EVs a better (and lower) center of gravity, not to mention extra cabin space for comfort and leg room.
And while a lower center of gravity can help prevent a rollover, accidents happen. In that unfortunate event, the heavy lithium-ion battery poses a huge risk to occupants. All the additional weight could easily crush the windshield a-pillars or, more importantly, the flimsy soft top roof of a convertible, thus crushing or injuring passengers.
Even a convertible with a motorized hardtop will have several breakpoints or weak links, which could potentially cause harm. And while, yes, many convertibles have reinforced metal rollbars around the headrest, all that extra weight is still a concern.
The weight of an EV is likely just one of many reasons we’re not seeing convertible options yet. Another is popularity. According to a report by CNBC in late 2022, convertible sales are steadily declining and now make up less than 1% of all U.S. vehicle sales.
Not only are consumers not interested in convertibles these days, but most manufacturers have turned attention to off-road capable vehicles, SUVs, compact CUVs (crossover utility vehicles), or rapidly expanding into electric. Convertible cars aren’t a priority, and the interest isn’t there.
Can I Buy a Convertible EV?
As of early 2023, there are no readily available commercial electric convertible cars. I’m sure we’ll get there relatively soon, but not yet.
However, buyers have several options for “open-air” EVs, but again, that’s a little different than a convertible. Tesla’s 2nd Gen Roaster is reportedly coming sometime this year, and it’ll have a removable hardtop, and it’s not the only one.
As you can see above, manufacturers have adjusted some vehicles’ overall designs to offer a near-convertible experience. Even the language on the GMC Hummer EV website explains it as an open-air convertible-like experience.
A few hybrid vehicles that are closer to a traditional convertible are available or coming soon, but they aren’t sports cars. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe hybrid has a far smaller battery, so weight isn’t as much of a concern, and it’s available with a removable soft top. That said, Jeep uses a durable metal cage with fully functional rollbars, which would protect passengers in the event of a rollover, whether on or off the road.
You’ll even be able to get the Hummer SUV EV in the coming weeks now that production is underway, and it has the same removable glass roof panels. Again, this likely isn’t the full convertible experience you’re after, but it’s close.
Convertible EVs Coming Soon
With the downward trend over the last decade, if not longer, don’t expect many options if you go looking to buy a convertible electric vehicle in the next few years. That said, it’s not all bad news, and several convertible EVs are coming.
For starters, the all-electric Mini Cooper SE Convertible made its formal debut last month, with availability in Europe this Spring and likely others to follow. The Volkswagen ID.3 should arrive with an optional convertible model at some point, not to mention the Fisker Ocean and Jeep Recon, and that’s just a few that come to mind.
Plus, I’m assuming at some point in the next 18 months, after most manufacturers have released several electric vehicles, they’ll start to look for differentiating factors, like offering a convertible. The Chevy Corvette E-Ray should have the option, and we’ve seen teasers for a Mazda MX-5 Miata. However, the concept Miata had Lamborghini-style doors and wasn’t convertible, but eventually, the company will likely make one.
The Polestar 6 (formerly the Polestar O2 concept) is a hardtop convertible EV coming in 2026. BMW is planning a real i4 Cabriolet convertible for a release in 2027, and later down the road, look for convertible EVs from Maserati, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and others.
Remember that removable roof panels might give you the enjoyment of a convertible, but if it doesn’t have a soft top that quickly folds away or a retractable hardtop, I don’t know if I’d call that a convertible. For now, it’s the next best thing.
If you’re looking for a classic convertible car to cruise the coastline or enjoy a weekend trip through the canyon that runs on electricity, you’re out of luck, at least for now.