I’ve written about Nobe, the scrappy little Estonian electric car startup that’s designed what I think is the most disarmingly charming EV—hell, maybe any modern car, EV or not—before. It’s been a little while since we checked in with them, so I reached out, and found that there’s been some interesting progress. I know this is a little frustrating since you can’t just grab one of the grocery bags of cash you have stashed under your floor and just go buy one, at least not yet, but bear with me.
First, that image up top there shows Nobe’s designs for a roadster variant of their basic coupé design, and I think it looks amazing. The three wheels means that a car like that could hypothetically come to the U.S., which is good, because I could see something as lovely and green-cred-packed as that becoming popular in cities like LA and San Francisco.
The teardrop plan of the car lends itself to a droptop better than I’d have expected, too.
Speaking of their main coupé model, Nobe has managed to build a few real, drivable ones already—previously I think I’ve only written about static styling mockups.
Roman Muljar, the man behind Nobe, jumped out at a stoplight to take a picture of two of their cars tooling around in normal, everyday traffic, and I have to say they look pretty great out there in the dirty chaos of the real world.
Nobe says they have 29 pre-ordered cars so far, and are expecting to deliver them by fall of next year. I’m also told that DJ Lord of Public Enemy is one of the early adopters. I had no idea DJ Lord and I had such compatible taste in small three-wheeled EVs, but I’m glad to know it.
The car has also been used in an interesting music video, where you get to see it driving through tall grass as well as getting a first glimpse at the size of the front trunk area:
It’s hard to really tell, but it looks like a usable volume of space there. Enough to hold some decent-sized speakers for your tall-grass-field electric piano needs, at least.
I also hadn’t seen this video of the Nobe being tested in the snow, and I gotta say, that looks pretty fun:
Normally, the policy here is to not link to any crowdfunding ventures in stories, but I think I’m going to make an exception here for these guys, because I really like what they’re doing and they’ve demonstrated that they’re serious and capable of actually building cars.
So, what the hell, here’s their IndieGoGo link. Do what you will.
At some point, I’d like to get out there to give one of these a drive and a full review. I think this could be an important EV because the future of EVs, with their generally similar drivetrains, is going to be one where style and design are even more important factors than they are today.
It’s not easy starting up a new car-making company, as we’ve seen many times before. Take Elio, for example, who’ve been lumbering along producing nothing for years now. If anyone knows anything about magic, I bet a lot of people who put in Elio pre-order money wouldn’t mind having their pre-orders shifted to Nobe. Just a thought.