$9,000 EV Is Here, All 770 Pounds Of It

There are cars made by BMW called the Mini. There are mini cars, such as Smart Fortwo and the Fiat 500 designed to take advantage of the light weight and easy maneuverability of a small frame. And then there are really, really mini cars — micro sized cars usually designed as electric vehicles specifically used for in-city driving. The new Zagota Volpe may have just invented a new classification: the micro-mini.

At just over seven feet long and three feet wide, the Volpe seats two, with the passenger wedged behind the driver as if on a motorcycle. And, just like a motorcycle, your odds of finding a close-in parking space range from excellent to automatic.

volpe1

image via Zagota

The Volpe, which means “fox” in Italian, was designed with assistance from legendary auto innovator Romano Artioli, who is best known for the Bugatti EB110 supercar as well as the Lotus Elise, the body and chassis that became the base of the Tesla Roadster. And while the Volpe is about as small as a car can get, it’s not without its own modern design innovations and eye catching lines.

The car has aluminum doors that scissor straight up from the steel frame and allow access to both seats. Aside from adding a modern flair, the aluminum keeps the Volpe trim, with a total weight of only about 770 pounds.

The Volpe has been in development since 2005 and now, Zagota says it’s about to go into production and should be available across Europe by 2013. When it does hit the streets, it will be available in two models. An all-electric version will have a top speed of about 30 mph and a range of 43 miles. The car will also be available with solar panels on the roof which, the company says will boost range slightly.

volpe

image via Zagota

The extended range Volpe will feature a gasoline or natural gas engine to recharge it’s electric power supply. While that engine won’t ever power the car directly, it will significantly increase the car’s range and speed. Zagota claims that the extended range version will be able to travel up to 236 miles and will have a limited top speed of 50 mph.

The Volpe is certainly remarkable due to its tiny size and respectable performance numbers, but what’s really news-making about the micro-mini is its cost. The electric version of the Volpe will sell for a hair over $9,000. Pricing for the extended range version has yet to be released.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.

    • aerodyno

      Looks like it’s at risk for rolling in corners.

    • countersTrike

      I had an electric 3-wheel car (42″ wide). with 4 deep-cell batteries it never tipped a bit.  I would be quite happy to “test drive” this Volpe to see if my wheelchair fits.  Make it the purple one so if the wheelchair fits then I can buy the car!

    • Pfiddle

      I come from Dundalk once famous for making the ‘Bubblecar’  in the ’60’s. So this looks very retro to me. As the De Lorean doors were just up the road from us too now I think of it. I don’t think I’d want to be driving one on small Irish c-roads – too bumpy, but in the city it would be perfect. And at $9k – I wonder how that will ‘translate’ into Euro?

    • mel

      love it

    • Vascopolis

      I DON’T UNDERSTAND…

      Ecconomy? Your gasoline goes to zero and your electric bill skyrockets…
      Clean Air? Trade off (low) auto emmissions for massive coal fired, oil fired and atomic power plant emmissions and dangers which ZERO OUT ANY GAIN.
      Reduce depency on oild ??? NO WAY, instead of burning a gallon in the car, you burn a gallon at the power plant.

      AND, currently, as gas stations are prevalent, and charging stations are not, you “waste” electricity getting to a charging location out-of-the-way.

      AND, in the case of this one, a DEATH TRAP. You hit a large bug, you total the car.

      So…………. WHY?