Even frugal cars need to be desirable. Most electric vehicles are anything but. Right now, EVs are slow, ugly, cheap, and not good to drive. In contrast, the Tazzari Zero from Imola, Italy, wants to be a “wanna have”: great to drive, good to sit in and easy on the eyes. Here’s the data: cast-aluminum, glued frame, central motor, RWD, low center of gravity, Li-Ion Fe batteries. A two-seater that is a bit longer, but lower than a Smart. Weighing just 545 kg (1202 lb), 150 N·m of torque and 15 kW engine power would seem to go a long way. The top speed is 56 mph and it has a range of 88 miles. Gorgeous looks (if you ask me), with a dose of NSU TT attain the right balance of aggressive and cute.
Tazzari (an aluminum foundry) developed the car in cooperation with Bologna University, which supplied the battery management system. Their aim was to make a minicar that drives like a sports car. Videos indicate you can toss it around like a Mini from the 1960s. Tazzari’s guys, when you ask them, can’t stop talking about their priorities: “sport, fun, ecology” (in that order?) Others have called it a “mini-Tesla”, which hopefully applies to the driving experience and not to the price (which at €20K looks reasonable but not cheap).
If this Italian company keeps all its promises, it looks like a car I’d like to have. In any case, I look forward to driving it, which should be possible when it is introduced at the Italian Auto Show in December. We’ll keep you posted.
I had the opportunity to speak with Guy Mannino, a personable ex-Pirelli manager who will be importing the Zero to the US next year. Crash tests are expensive so for the initial year or so, the Zero will be sold in the US as a NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle). That means a maximum speed limit of 35 mph, depending on your location. Guy said that the Tazzari would thus occupy “a niche within a niche.” Who, one might ask, would want to drive a sporty car that is limited to 35 mph? Neighborhood hoons may apply. (Or, alternatively, guys handy with a laptop, to circumvent the electronic speed limiter?)