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Nice at the London motor show 2008

Wed, 23 Jul 2008 00:00:00 -0700

Nice Ze-O is designed in Europe but built in China

By Gavin Green and CAR reader reporter Jacomoseven

Motor Shows

23 July 2008 02:28

The London motor show is awash with electric cars – and some of them like the Nice e500 are downright intriguing. Unsurprisingly prime minister Gordon Brown immediately gravitated towards the electric car village during his press day visit...

What’s new on Nice's London motors show stand?

A four-seat Chinese-built electric ‘family’ car called the Ze-O. It looks like a proper car rather than a Noddy car, unlike the other electric ‘quadricycles’ at the show. In fact, it’s a Chinese Changhe petrol car that’s been converted to electric power. Steel body, ABS brakes, power steering, air conditioning...the spec sheet is almost Ford or Vauxhall normal. Until you come to the 8-10 hour recharge time and the 40-mile range. And no tailpipe pollution, of course.

It is quite dreadful in build quality and design, but at least you can feel ecologically smug as you wonder why you’ve forked out Focus money.

CAR’s Nice highlight

The electric Fiat 500 – the e500 – that Nice will soon start to sell. It’s built in Italy by electric vehicle specialists Micro-Vett, who take the appealing 500 and do the electric conversion. The usual Fiat 500 options – thousands of them – are on offer.

The e500 is the only Nice-marketed electric vehicle to use new-fangled lithium ion batteries, like your laptop or mobile. The other Nice cars – including the Ze-O – all use old tech lead-acid batteries.

What were they thinking?

That electric 500 will cost £30,000!

In a nutshell

The e500 is way too pricey and the Ze-O is too homespun and crude. But electric urban vehicles are here to stay. Expect major advances soon.

Click here to go to CAR's London motor show A-Z homepage

 

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By Gavin Green and CAR reader reporter Jacomoseven