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Progress is steadily being made to bring the Brazilian-based OBVIO! mini cars to the U.S. through ZAP. The California-based automobile distributor that brought us the SMART fortwo before DaimlerChrysler itself has already prepurchased 50,000 units. And finally we can see the 828 in action in this video of the car tooling around an Orlando parking lot.

Set for production next year, the first model year will be comprised of the 828 and 012 models with flex-fuel engines that can run on 100-percent ethanol, 100-percent gasoline or a combination of both. The Tritec 1.6L four-cylinder motor is mated to a CVT and will reportedly produce 115 horsepower and 149 ft-lbs. of torque while delivering 29.4 mpg city and 40.69 mpg highway running on ethanol. Fuel economy should improve by 10 percent using gasoline, according to OBVIO!. The target price for U.S. consumption of the 828 is $14,000 and the 012E $28,000.

Of more significance is that the second model year will yield all-electric versions of the 828 and 012E that will rival the Tesla Roadster in performance and efficiency. The EVs will have a range of 200 to 240 miles, reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds or less and hit 120 mph on the high end. They're powered by lithium-ion batteries just like the Tesla Roadster and will start at $49,000 for the 828 and $59,000 for the 012E.

The OBVIO! cars have always seemed one-part promise and one-part hyperbole, but every time we check back in on their progress they seem ever closer to reality. Check out OBVIO!'s webpages for the 828 and 012E and tell us if you see a car as innovative as the Tucker or an overly ambitious attempt to build an automaker from scratch.

[Source: OBVIO! and GreenCarCongress]

Two more days until ZAP debuts OBVIO! in U.S.
ZAP buys into OBVIO! – the little cars are coming
OBVIO! 828/2 and 012 coming to America

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Does it come in colors that don't make you look like a doofus? Oh, and the flip flop pedals scream class, luxury, and high performance...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Paint an 828 (with the "high-power" powerplant) black, midnight blue metallic, or a charcoal metallic.

      Then swap out the interior trim with something a lot less bright/colorful and put in some aluminum pedals (or even just generic black rubber coated ones would still be better).

      Finally, toss on some nice rims and you could have yourself could be a pretty cool car that could be tons of fun on a track. Safety issues pretty much eliminate it from contention for a daily driver...I wouldn't help make Death's job that easy. Though I don't know how well (or if) you could fit a cage into something that small (which could possibly kill the acceleration too).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Zac, that is the best idea i have ever heard, however it would be difficult to implement b/c of basic human nature

      but it would really accelerat the EV industry
      • 8 Years Ago
      I just have to wonder, considering that these cars are being made in Brazil, why the HELL have we never heard of them around here.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I hope you don't believe all the hype surrounding this 24 year old Brazilian horse which was originally fitted with an air cooled beetle motor. I have to laugh about the "famous" Niess elliptical safety rings-as used in aircraft design-try Googling the name-nothing comes up except Zap & Obvio press releases. We don't need no stinking plant-all we do is assemble parts from all these famous manufacturers. As for price-Zap's initial estimate for the smart was $15,000 to $25,000 for a 2002 model year, prior generation smart car. Latest Zap smart prices are $25,000 to $29,000. As for mileage estimates -Zap falsely stated that the gas powered smart got 60 MPG when they knew that the EPA had rated the 2002 smart at 37 MPG both City & Highway. The funniest thing is that the obsolete Chrysler(Daimler)/BMW Brazilian Tri-tec motor plant has been sold and is or has been shipped to CHINA. I will be in Rio in Jan 2007-I can't wait to go to the Obvio plant and watch the cars roll off the assembly line-Has the car been crash tested yet-it took G&K Automotive conversions (not Zap) years to certify the smart car-and Millions of $$. Zap is running out of stories,time and money-their stock is back in the basement and I hope their employees have their resumes up to date. Zap's "nationwide" dealer network lists 8 dealers including -2- in RENO NV. Remember that old adage "a fool and his money are soon parted".
      • 8 Years Ago
      The music for this demo was terrible. A coworker thought I was watching a porno. Great little vehicle though.
      • 8 Years Ago
      wow, neat little car. spiritual successor to the crx? just lemme pick a color other than neon green and orange and I'm sold.
      • 8 Years Ago

      1) Get ISO or IEEE to endorse a big 80lb. lithium polymer battery configuration and call it the 'ZZZ' cell or whatever.

      2) Make a gazillion of them.

      3) Distribute them around the planet to already existing gas stations.

      4) Let drivers swap out their empty ZZZ cell batteries for a freshly charged one at any gas station. The gas station attendant will have a special forklift for loading the heavy cell.

      5) Drivers place a deposit on their first ZZZ cell, but never actually have to buy one (which is exactly how small propane tanks work now). They are charged some lesser fee; enough to make this practice worthwhile.

      • 8 Years Ago
      This is so much more attractive than the Smart cars.
      • 8 Years Ago

      My car (MINI Cooper)with the tri-tec 1.6 liter with the CVT prefers high octane gasoline. Too bad you can't get it with the standard transmission. Imagine that little car with the 1.6 liter supercharged from the Cooper S. Then add the 210 hp Works kit! I know, I know, that's not the point!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, very cool. I'm getting more and more excited about these EV cars, once battery technology gets better and cheaper cars like these (except bigger) are definitely going to be the cars of the future. Freaking awesome :)
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