Electric vehicles have opened the floodgates for new aftermarket products, and there is plenty of fun to be had. There is also room for serious business. Here, we take a quick look at various parts of the electric vehicle aftermarket spectrum.
The Nuts & Bolts Of Aftermarket Accessories For An Electric Vehicle
Electric vehicles are just like any other automobile. Drive one off the dealer’s lot, and a slew of other manufacturers — aka the aftermarket — are ready and waiting with seat covers, floor mats, rims, lights, stickers, steering wheel desks, and hundreds of other accessories.
Before we get to the fun stuff, prepping for roadside emergencies is a good place to start accessorizing your new electric vehicle.
The National Safety Council provides a long but handy list of road-worthy emergency supplies, including must-haves for both urban and rural driving, like a first aid kit, flashlight, and spare tire.
Rural drivers may want to pay particular attention to some of the other suggestions, including a compass and a tool kit or multi-purpose tool. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer you may want to put a compass and some tools in your car anyways. Perhaps you will run into someone who knows how to use them.
Most electric vehicles come with a portable charger. If yours didn’t, you can get one from Clippercreek or dozens of other reputable electric vehicle aftermarket companies.
If you already have a Level 1 portable charger, you might want to bump that up to Level 2 for a faster charging experience.
For those of you who need range reassurance out on the open road where no outlets are available, there are suitcase-sized, self-contained portable charging devices on the market. Somewhat ironically, some of them run on gasoline. You may want to look into non-gasoline versions, like the Roadie portable EV charger from SparkCharge.
One thing you won’t need: jumper cables. However, somebody else might need them, so you might as well throw those in, too.
Let The Fun Begin
Many electric vehicles already come with elaborate, customize-able interior and exterior lighting. I got a chance to drive a sporty Xpeng Motors P7 a couple of years ago, and it seemed fun enough to me. But, life is short, so why not pile on.
Tesla, of course, truly shines in the fun aftermarket. If that’s your vibe, go for it. However, there are many other options.
Another obvious source is Amazon, where you can find EV-themed T-shirts, hat, smart phone covers, pillows, and other items. While you’re there, check out Geekercity’s long list of light-up, stick-on bling.
Cafe Press also has a selection of EV-themed stickers, key chains, car magnets and other gadgets with a rock-and-roll vibe.
If you’re into ordering up custom products, the opportunities are limitless. For example, Speedy Pros displays a “She’s Electric” license plate cover on Amazon.
The most unusual light-up device we spotted is a miniature sound-activated disco ball for EVs from the company Evannex. If you can spot anything else, drop us a note in the comment thread.
On the audio side, making your electric vehicle sound like it came out of the Borla shop sounds like fun. The folks over at SoundRacer have other options that sound like classic high performance cars, though not annoying the neighbors should be in mind.
Special Accessories for Home EV Charging
The home charging experience is simple enough. Level 1 means you can use a household outlet. Level 2 means you need a home charging station. In both of those cases, a garage comes in handy. However, there is a catch. Most garages are stuffed to the brim with lawn mowers, bicycles, and whatnot, meaning that your electric vehicle is out in the driveway and you have to snake a charging cable all the way over there.
A few simple, inexpensive aftermarket items can help make it easier to charge up when your car is in the driveway and your charger is in the garage, or if you are doing Level 1 charging from a household outlet.
1. A Level 1 and 2 charger extension cord from the company Lectron.
2. A protective cover for your charging port from the Canadian company Écosolaris, to help prevent the elements from encroaching.
3. Another Canadian company, Undor, offers a raised mat that allows cords and cables to pass under a garage door without getting squashed.
4. To help prevent people from tripping over your charging cord, the company Cable Protector Works is selling a sleeve that holds the cord flat on your driveway.
Some of these accessories could go in your road kit as well.
Of course, the weight can add up when you pile more accessories into your electric vehicle, and too much weight can impact battery range.
If you’re aiming to squeeze the maximum range out of your battery, you can offset the weight of accessories by keeping your cargo space free of unused equipment.
Over at Road Cartel, Chris Thatcher also suggests replacing heavy seats, wheels, body panels, and other parts with lighter ones.
Thatcher offers additional performance-boosting suggestions, such as installing enhanced brakes and a new charger, for those who are truly dedicated to speed and acceleration.
As for next-level tinkering with the innards of an electric vehicle battery and other mechanisms, we agree with Thatcher that opportunities in the electric vehicle field are relatively slim, compared to the cornucopia of options available for ICE do-it-yourselfers.
The Best Electric Vehicle Accessory Of Them All
By far, our most favorite electric vehicle accessory is a bike rack for your bicycle.
There are a million options out there, but if you’re looking for a bike rack that adds style to your electric ride, we like the “Bones” series from Saris.
If you have a folding bike, you can skip the rack and get something to protect your trunk from any wayward grease or scratches. BaseLayer has a cut-to-fit trunk mat that fits practically any car. It comes in stylish black, but if you shop now, you might catch the special pink edition.
If your ride is an e-bike, you’ll want to put some extra thought into loading it onto your electric vehicle, because of the extra weight. Regular bike racks probably won’t cut it, unless you want to shell out the big bucks for an ulta-lightweight e-bike like the Cannondale SuperSix Evo NEO.
For more conventional models, our friends over at REI have some common-sense suggestions for e-bike racks, such as not using a roof rack unless you want to kill your back trying to lift your bike up there.
Racks that clip onto the truck could be an option for some e-bikes, but a heavier one could damage the rack, the trunk, or both.
That cuts the options down to hitch racks. If you have the bandwidth for a platform rack, that seems to be ideal. REI advises to compare your bike’s weight with the rack specs, though.
As for what e-bike, I’ve tested a few over the years and each one has something special to offer. Depending on your needs, there’s Velotric for a screaming yellow commute, Mars for super fast election-cycle canvassing, CERO for cargo space, Honbike for unusual eyecatching style, Aventon for power, Fuell for long distance engineering, BUZZ for buzzing around town on a compact ride, Super 73 for a badass fat tire experience, Cowboy for sleek engineering and style to match…and my regular ride, a Rad Power folding step-through at 1,200 miles and counting (catch many more e-bike reviews here).
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Photo: The best and most fun electric vehicle accessory is a bike rack for your bike (photo courtesy of Velotric).
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