Tazzari Zero: Can an Urban EV Be Sexy?

Martin Schwoerer
by Martin Schwoerer

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?)

Martin Schwoerer
Martin Schwoerer

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  • Charly Charly on Jul 29, 2009

    @Martin kWpeak is the interesting one. It decides how fast the car can accelerate and maximum drain of the battery. kWsustainable is the maximum speed but there are other issues with Vmax so it is probably electronically limited before kWsustainable plays up

  • Barmen Barmen on Aug 10, 2010

    I am a member of a local EV club and would love to buy this Tazzari. Does anybody knows if they are available for sale n California? Who sales them? I saw it in Barrett-Jackson show in LA and was amazed, they did not let me drive it though. If it drives like as it looks, WOW. I have Zenn and if you use it as a second vehicle, EV is the best way to travel for short distances. Cheap to operate, have not have any problems, but its ugly :). Never the less, I get more dates and attention in my EV than many of my friends that drive Exotic cars. Can't go faster than 40 mph (had governor removed) but got pulled over 3 times. Cops wanted to know what kind of car and how it drives. :) $25K is a bit expensive but it will worth, especially if you own your own club promotion bzns, like I do. Can't get this positive attention and perception of being responsible from driving a regular car. Got to be EV :)

  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...
  • Sobhuza Trooper Isuzu's crime was to build some damn good trucks.Shame on them.
  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three