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]

Related:
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