Electric Vehicles That Tried & Failed

There are many Electric Vehicles that went on to revolutionise the automotive industry. However, for every success story, there are examples of ambitious EV projects that never reached their full potential, or in some cases never even made it to market.

We’ve already looked at the ‘Vintage EVs That Time Forgot’, so let’s jump ahead to the present day and explore some of the EV projects in recent history that either proved to be complete failures or never even made it to market at all.


The Electric Ford Focus

The Electric Ford Focus was introduced in 2011 and initially generated a lot of excitement. Ford is one of the automotive industry giants, and the Focus is one of the most popular cars of all time – so the electric variant was guaranteed to be a massive success, right? The Focus EV was Ford’s answer to the Nissan Leaf, with a 23kWh battery that was later upgraded to a 33kWh. The Focus EV was launched in the US in 2011 and arrived in the UK two years later in 2013, looking almost exactly the same as a regular Focus. The EV Focus remained on sale in Europe until 2017 with incredibly low sales numbers, in 2016 only 61 were sold in total. Whilst a total of 24 were registered in the UK, they were all in Ford dealerships and no one actually bought one.

So, why did it fail? Mainly due to it costing substantially more than any of its rivals at the launch price of £28,500, not bad value for a similar-sized EV these days but back in 2013/2014 you could get a Nissan Leaf for around £16,000. You also didn’t get much for the additional cost, the Focus EV had a realistic range of around 76 miles, compared to 84 miles for the Leaf.


The Lightning GT

The Lightning GT was one of the first completely electric sports cars to show off the capabilities and design strengths of EVs compared to traditional ICE cars. The Lightning Car Company, a London-based maker, had been working on the Lightning GT for years, with the official unveiling taking place at the 2008 British International Motor Show. It was an instant hit with performance specifications that even compared well to the EVs of today with years of technological advancements, it would reach a top speed of 185mph, a 0-60mph time of less than four seconds and a range of 200 miles.

However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the car never made it to production and only 2 exist today with 1 of them living in the British Motor Museum. We don’t like calling it a failure as had it gone on sale it was almost guaranteed to sell impressive numbers. There were reports that the Lightning Car Company didn’t raise enough investment to make the project a reality.


Apple’s ‘Project Titan’

The Apple EV project has been highly anticipated for the last decade or so, with reports suggesting that work on the car started in 2014 under the codename ‘Project Titan’. There were reportedly more than 1,000 automotive experts and engineers developing an electric vehicle with self-driving capabilities at a secret location near the company’s Cupertino headquarters.

In June 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemingly confirmed the rumours by speaking publicly about Apple’s work on autonomous driving software:

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems. It’s a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on.”

In February 2024, reports suggested that Apple had officially pulled the plug and will be abandoning the most ambitious project in the company’s history. It is rumoured that Apple notified the 2,000 employees working on the project that many of the employees will be shifted to the artificial intelligence division and will focus on generative AI projects.

Apple has yet to make any official announcement so the future of ‘Project Titan’ is still unknown. We have also never seen anything official from Apple about the vehicle, so any images you see online (like the one above) are purely concepts, we hope that Apple takes a page from Dyson’s book and shows the world what could have been – more on that below!

The Dyson EV

Back in 2017, Dyson also announced that it had been secretly working on a “radical and different” electric car and that they were aiming for a launch in 2020. In October 2019, two years and half a billion pounds later, Dyson released this update that announced they were cancelling all work on the project.

Unlike Apple, Dyson has been much less secretive about their EV project, even dedicating a section of their website to it here. Their vehicle was to be unique using only their own manufactured parts. They designed a platform that allowed other body styles in the future to sit on it, the first body style was going to be an SUV that was exactly 5 metres long with massive 24-inch wheels. The interior was unique, the seats were very different to traditional seats and 100% of the controls were located on the steering wheel.

In the end, the project became too expensive and Dyson realised that the car was no longer going to be commercially viable. Part of the problem, according to Sir James Dyson, was that existing car makers could sell electric cars at a loss and offset it with their profits from selling traditional cars, effectively pricing the Dyson car out of the market.


Did You Find This Article Interesting?

If you found this article interesting, you might be interested in reading about the ‘Vintage EVs That Time Forgot’!


WDA Are Here To Help!

At WDA Automotive, digital marketing is our expertise, relieving you of that burden. We understand the dynamics, so you don’t have to. If you need support, reach out to us through our online contact form or call us at 01332 372728.


Sharing is caring!

Ready to drive more business?

Start your journey to driving more business today by simply completing your details on our contact form below.