• Image Credit: Commuter Cars
  • Image Credit: Commuter Cars
  • Image Credit: Commuter Cars
  • Image Credit: Commuter Cars
  • Image Credit: Commuter Cars
  • Image Credit: Commuter Cars
  • Image Credit: Commuter Cars
  • Image Credit: Commuter Cars
  • Image Credit: Commuter Cars
Tall and skinny, it can take a while to get used to the looks of the Tango electric car. It doesn't look like anything else on the road, but there are also very few of them to catch your eye. The residents of Auckland, New Zealand might soon get plenty of chances to recognize the tiny two-seater, though, since the group Project Microcar wants the city to buy 15,000 (!) of the little EVs from Commuter Cars and then lease them to commuters at $55 a week.

According to Stuff, that ambitious dream would cost a new public private partnership around $435 million ($363 million US) to put in place. In return, the Tango may be produced in Auckland, creating local jobs. Another potential benefit is a decrease in traffic congestion and the overall number of big vehicles on the roads (two Tangos can fit in a lane, side-by-side), which could save the city money it now uses to build more roads. And commuters themselves could save money since the Tango doesn't cost much to run. The proponents told Stuff that the program's set-up costs could be paid back in ten years.

There is no mention of this proposal on the Commuter Cars website, but the site does emphasize just how big a difference using a lot of tiny Tangos can have on sluggish urban roads, so the Project Microcar proposal is in sync with the car's raison d'être.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      xxricefarmerxx
      • 1 Year Ago
      this is what the elio should have been, instead it takes up just as much room as a normal car
      Ryan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've driven in New Zealand. I don't remember it looking like that.
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Ryan
        Colville WA But California plates on the Tangos. And notice the rear view mirrors - vertical. Not meant to be used like that.
      karlInSanDiego
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd be interested to see what the Tango'll do, now that it's grown away from Lead Acids.
      Aaron
      • 1 Year Ago
      They're vampires! No reflections off the other cars! Oh, just a bad Photoshop job? Carry on...
      Marcuslime
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't imagine this reducing traffic. Isn't it illegal to drive cars side by side in the same lane.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      The company is not even capable of producing that many cars. Did these people drive them before proposing this? I have and I can't see why anyone would choose a Tango over any of the other EVs that are available now.
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Another potential benefit is a decrease in traffic congestion" No. The number of these driving side by side in a single lane will be zero. In my state it is already legal to do this with motorcycles, but either nobody knows it is legal or nobody trusts other random motorcyclists enough to do it.
        raktmn
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        In my state, it is illegal to do that even on motorcycles. You have to ride staggered, with 1 second between riders. Two cars next to each other in the same lane (no matter how skinny they are) is definitely illegal.
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've always loved this car. I thought that it had completely died, though. It was ahead of it's time, designed for Lead acid batteries. They always said it could be made with LI-ion batteries, but don't know if any were ever built that way. If they do restart construction with LI-ion batteries, I hope they succeed. They might have some serious competition, though, when Elio makes an EV.
        JakeY
        • 2 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        They used lead acid because it also serves as a ballast. I remember they had a version with a lighter battery and they had to add extra weight to it.
          BipDBo
          • 2 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          That's a good point. The lead batteries pack sits down low and weighs 1,299#, 39% of the surprisingly heavy 3,326# curb weight. It might not work too well with a lighter pack. Also, I think that while lead acid doesn't have a big energy density (kw*hr per kilogram), it has a pretty decent power density (kw per kilogram). The quickness of the Tango might suffer with a Lithium pack. I suppose that they'll just have to make it with a seriously large pack which will weigh a lot for ballast and give it a great range. It will be very expensive, though. These Tangos have always been very expensive, especially considering how dorky they look. If they want to revive this old design to compete with modern EVs, it will need to be greatly refined and drop considerably in price.
          GreenDriver
          • 2 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          @BipDBo, I don't think the quickness of the Tango would suffer with a Lithium pack, it should improve. Lithium batteries have better power density, less voltage sag (due to higher capacity) and less weight. I agree with you on the price and refinement, even then a niche vehicle.
        Dave R
        • 2 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        The current spec sheet says that they are using LiFePo batteries now.
          BipDBo
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Dave R
          It has said that for a very long time, but I don't think that a Tango has been produced and sold for a very long time. When they did sell a few, they were all lead batteries.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't see how this car wouldn't be tipsy with your average fat American behind the wheel and such a narrow track. Looks very unsafe.
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Ducman69
        The battery weight creates a very low center of gravity. Probably harder to tip than your average SUV.
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Ducman69
        The battery packs are in the floor. This car is so rock stable that reviewers said that they could turn quite aggressively and have much less lean than a normal car.
        Rotation
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Ducman69
        With lead-acid batteries at least it is not tippy at all. The company says it is harder to tip than a regular car, but that is just applying force at the top, not sidling into a curb or guardrail.
      Technoir
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only issue is the $100.000 price tag. Would this be reduced if produced in NZ?
        Dave R
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Technoir
        Actually, looking at the website the price is $200k fully assembled. If you are willing to wait until they have 10 people with a deposit so they can build 10 in a batch, the cost is $160k.
      GreenDriver
      • 1 Year Ago
      GMC to the left of me, GMC to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you ;)
      Technoir
      • 2 Months Ago
      That seems insanely expensive. How can they justify that? The tooling is already done and a few cars have been made. The batteries can not cost that much. At this price there's no way they'll sell 15,000 units.
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