The experimental three-passenger commuter "city car" was designed for short-trip urban transportation. The clamshell-style roof swung back on rear-mounted pivots for entry and egress.
The Electron was based on previous development of the AMC Amitron. Powered by a lightweight lithium battery system, the Electron was designed in anticipation of further advances in electronic technologies. Innovative methods to efficiently use power included the vehicle's light weight and energy regeneration braking. The passenger seats were inflatable and designed to be deflated for luggage space.
The Electron (along with the AM Van, Grand Touring, Concept I, Concept II, and Jeep II) constituted the "Concept 80" program to illustrate what the company saw for future vehicles. This nationwide tour of idea cars was also to highlight American Motors' role in developing market segments.