What is the best electric car for teens?

What is the best electric car for teens?
Top Gear Advice

The Opel Rocks-e can be driven by German teenagers at the age of 15. But will they really want that?

We all craved a certain amount of freedom and independence when we were teenagers, didn’t we? The kind of freedom that meant going around the corner with some friends and sitting on a bench, or in my case taking the bus into town to pick up new library books.

That freedom in the UK would mean either a second-hand bike inherited from a distant but slightly larger cousin, or of course a bus pass. If you grew up in France, you’d have all the glamorous possibilities of a four-wheeler. If you’ve never seen one, imagine a Brabus scooter with a 600cc engine and a sound system that’s good for half the weight of the car. Unfortunately, as with most things aimed at hip, cool youngsters, these four-wheelers were invariably stolen by grim retirees with hip problems.

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These microcars have actually long been an invention of the European Union, with a directive that brought them into existence in 1992, a decree that they must be classified alongside mopeds and have limited power and weight. Oh, how the youth must have celebrated that night, with their special choice of stolen harlot in acclamation.

And then just last year, when Opel announced that its declined Citroën Ami would launch in Germany and be called the Rocks-e. Those waddles.

This aggressively youthful, bare-bones device is essentially a seat with a roof and a few brightly colored stickers that will take you 50 miles from where you started before you begin the icy process of refilling the batteries to get back again. Yet it only costs €7,990 – what is that, doing a paper round 63 years from now? If such a job already exists.

There was a lot of talk about 15-year-olds being able to drive a car in Germany, but the bare-bones statement doesn’t take into account the fact that we’re talking about 15-year-olds here. Just because they can do it doesn’t mean they will. As anyone who has ever tried to get a middle teen to do anything will attest.

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Young people rarely enjoy anything specifically aimed at them, including youthfulness itself. Get behind the wheel of a garishly decorated two-seat electric car that is painfully limited to less than 50 km/h? The existence of the Rocks-e is painfully uncool.

The fact that the designers thought helpfully to include some shopping bag hooks in the cabin is further evidence, if need be, that someone somewhere seriously missed the point. The Opel publicity for the car claims that a “bright, pleasant atmosphere is provided by the standard panoramic glass roof, exceptional for a vehicle in this price range”. Oh, how I longed for an exceptionally affordable panoramic glass roof as a teenager.

So no, there isn’t a 15-year-old in any country who would want to be spotted dead in an Opel Rocks-e. But rather I think I’ve reached the age where I might want to own one of my own. oh dear.

Best Electric Car for Teens – Opel Rocks-e
Price: €7,990 (Europe only, sorry)
Range: 47 miles
Engine: 12 hp e-motor
Battery: 5.5kWh
Top speed: 28mph
0-62mph: haha
Storage space: There is a shelf on the dashboard

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