Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hong Kong set to plug into Italy's Tazzari Zero electric car

The Tazzari Zero is now a fully fledged electric car. Photo: SCMP
Aficionados of tiny two-seater cars will have a new option by the end of this month when a small local dealer introduces the Italian Tazzari Zero electric vehicle to the city.
Although the model debuted in 2009, no local dealer wanted to bring it to Hong Kong. Despite its cute appearance, a top speed of 95km/h and a range of 145 kilometres on one charge - comparable to those of Mitsubishi's i-Miev and Daimler's Smart Car - the vehicle could be registered only as a quadricycle, which is not allowed on highways.
But Fortune Dragon, the local dealer that will launch an updated version of the lithium-battery-powered vehicle on Friday, said the carmaker, an Italian firm with a background in aluminium casting and other engineering services, finally upgraded one of its models into a full-blown passenger car last year.
That means it passed crash tests and met more stringent safety standards.
While the revised model is priced at a hefty HK$350,000, the dealer said the fuel cost was as low as 15 HK cents per kilometre - about a tenth of an average power-saving petrol vehicle.
The Zero is controlled mainly by pressing buttons. A green button on the dashboard is used to switch gears, and four other buttons provide various driving modes - race, economy, standard and rain - that offer different throttle characteristics.
Drivers who have tested the car have given mixed reviews about its performance.
Electric-powered vehicles remain a niche market in Hong Kong, despite various incentive programmes and increasing government efforts to build more chargers.
As of the end of April, only 443 of the 700,000 registered vehicles in the city were run purely on electricity.