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Nice at the London motor show 2008

Published: 23 July 2008

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

 

CAR reader reports

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And now read CAR reader reporter Jacomoseven's review of the Nice stand. Be sure to 'Add your comment' afterwards and rate their efforts

What surprised me most on the Nice stand?

The electric Fiat e500. Powered by Lithium batteries, it will do 60mph and has a range of 75 miles. A full charge takes 8-10 hours. It will cost £750 a month for a 4 year lease, though. Ouch.

Forget the PR spin: What’s the real story?

ZEVs might be becoming increasingly popular, but they remain strictly city-only choices for now, and expensive compared with “proper” cars. Is buying a second car solely for commuting really that green, or would you be better taking the bus or train like the rest of us?

Reader verdict?

NICE are evangelists for vehicles powered by something other than an internal combustion engine, and are therefore worth chatting to if only for a different point of view. If you are looking for a new family car, though, you’d be mad to spend £14k on a Ze-O.

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

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