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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We are witnessing creation of yet another western company which is developing electric vehicles under Chinese metal skin. Until now unkonwn NICE Car Company published teaser photo of its first product - electric car named Ze-O All-Electric MPV. Sharp eye of CCF members will immediately recognize Changhe Ideal (with Chinese logo) on the picture. There is no mention of Chinese origin of the bodyshell in press release though. It seems buying (cheap) Chinese chassis is the only way for this companies to make affordable electric vehicle.

Some of the world's largest automakers are spending billions of dollars developing their all electric vehicles, but it appears the smaller companies are the ones winning the race to the market. On the upper end of the scale we have already seen electric sportscars such as the Fisker Karma and Tesla Roadster and they will soon be joined by the British made 700bhp Lightning GT. But now consumers are demanding an all electric powered vehicle for the average joe and with this first image of the Ze-O all electric MPV, NICE Car Company are looking to fill that huge hole in the market.

The Ze-O is no concept! When unveiled at the British Motor Show later this month, we will be seeing the model in full production form. Plans are to start sales this Autumn in the UK with Europe set to receive the model in 2009.

“All-electric sports car prototypes are eye-catching and interesting,” said Julian Wilford, co-founder NICE Car Company. “However, we all know customers want practical electric cars and they want them sooner rather than later. The Ze-O is a genuinely spacious and affordable car. We expect to be very busy at the motor show.”

The Ze-O does however fall short on some performance figures many consumers will crave, the top speed lies at a rather disappointing 55mph and the range of the battery on a single charge is just 65 miles. This does of course restrict the usefulness of the electric vehicle but the £14,000 price tag will still bring in the punters.

source: worldcarfans.com
 

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News has it that state-owned Chang'he Auto may drop auto manufacturing and shift to manufacturing aircraft parts for its parent Aviation Industry Corp of China II (AVIC II). Where will Nice then get its shell for the Ze-O?

The Suzuki-based Ideal is a nice car and so a buyer will most likely appear as Zotye did when state-owned Jiangnan Auto went on the block.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Paultan is the first media which acknowledged that Ze-O is indeed based on Ideal.

Only one photo of the Nice Ze-O has been released by electric car manufacturer Nice (No Internal Combustion Engine) so far, but we are able to have a preview of how it will look like by looking at the car it is based on, the Changhe Ideal II, a joint venture development between China’s Jiang Xi Changhe Automobile and Suzuki, Changhe’s partner in China.

The Changhe Ideal was designed by design firm Bertone and launched in 2003, and it received its current looks when it got a minor facelift in 2006. It comes with a choice of a 45hp 1.0, a 64hp 1.1, a 78hp 1.3 or a 90hp 1.4 liter engine but naturally these will be missing in the Nice engineered version as the Ze-O will be powered by an electric motor. The Ideal is sold outside China under various badges like Suzuki and Effa.
http://paultan.org/archives/2008/07/21/nice-ze-o-is-based-on-the-changhe-ideal-ii/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
About Nice.
NICE is the leading independent retailer for electric vehicles.

In July 2006 the NICE Car Company was born. Founded by former-Lotus colleagues Julian Wilford and Evert Geurtsen, NICE made its debut at the British International Motor Show. The stylish Mega City, the company’s first car, was presented to more than 400,000 eager ExCeL visitors.

NICE signalled the start of a shake-up in the auto industry. Car makers had dallied with electric cars since the turn of the 20th century, but NICE recognised the zeitgeist. The electric car’s time had finally arrived.

Since launching the company, the automotive picture has changed. For some, within and outside the industry, the electric revolution has been sudden and unforeseen. For many it is unwelcome. But the change has real political momentum and the business case for all-electric cars, vans and trucks has never been clearer.

The world caught up with the NICE vision. Electric vehicles have won the technology war and, as the company grows, customers across Europe are set to reap the benefits.

The political tide

Biofuels, hydrogen, hybrids and electric cars; two years ago the drive to sustainable motoring seemed to be wrapped up in a host of competing technological endeavours.

Then in March 2008 two influential reports were published. The King Review shaped policy maker’s thoughts about sustainable motoring in the 21st century. Its author said that road transport could only achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions if industry, consumers and government turned to electric and hybrid vehicles en masse. Government took notice.

Last month the prime minister added his weight to the electric revolution, announcing an increase in renewable energy supplied to the national grid. Renewables would form 15 per cent of the mix by 2020, he said, as part of the government’s renewable energy strategy. He added that greater take-up of electric and hybrid vehicles would be key to achieving carbon reduction targets.

It was a message with echoes of an influential WWF report, also published in March. Called Plugged In: The End of the Oil Age, it pointed out the benefits of all-electric cars, even with the current energy mix. But also their potential for the future:

“despite those wretched power plant efficiencies and the fact that powertrain technology is relatively immature, the battery electric vehicle can be over 60 per cent more efficient than today’s conventional ICE (internal combustion engine) across the plant to wheel life cycle” – p 86

“Electric vehicles need not wait for the coming renewable energy revolution, though they will automatically reap the rewards when that does happen.” – p91

Mainstream car companies have started queuing up to reveal plans for all-electric models. More and more will be coming to market, they claim, either in 2010, 2011 or 2012. But few can sell cars to customers today.

For the NICE Car Company though, the dawn of mass-market, all-electric motoring was something for which the company had prepared and planned.

Today there is no other company offering the range of vehicles – cars, vans and motorcycles - that NICE Car Company can supply. Three global launches in London reflect the continued drive to be market leaders and the hub for electric motoring in the UK. And soon, across Europe too.
Home page:
http://www.nicecarcompany.co.uk/home.html

Beside Ze-O company is going to offer three more electric vehicles, two city cars - Mycar and Mega City - and electric version of new Fiat 500. They are also selling various commercial vehicles.





 

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I feel these rigs need more "range" per charge-up, same shortcoming in my eyes. But...these NICE vehicles are nonetheless a step in the right direction for the industry. An electrically-powered Fiat 500 sounds kinda interesting, too.

I am for EV production and sales worldwide, yet, I am not sure I like the NICE product mix as a personal choice.
 

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Rally Red Lancer GTS said:
...these NICE vehicles are nonetheless a step in the right direction for the industry......
You're spot on Rally Red, but I also like the looks of the designs that NICE has chosen. Granted the range and top speed leaves something to be desired, but that will come in time. Meanwhile folks need to have something good looking in the driveway.

As for China, they are now in a perfect position to get started with green cars and I really hope they seize the opportunity. That is, even if it's with heavy government subsidies and incentives, as in the early development of the Japanese auto industry.
 

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Which is interesting, because, if China gives subsidies, would the U.S. give it's citizens subsidies as incentives to buy "green" electrically-powered vehicles? I don't see any movement towards that at all from the current administration, nor from the two big candidates running. Big oil still dominates and butts its ugly head in to "green" endeavours. Nonetheless, the EV's seem the most likely form of propulsion for future cars.
 

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Nicely does it as Chinese cars make a quiet debut

July 25, 2008

The first Chinese cars have quietly – very quietly – sneaked into the London motor show this week. Silently in fact – because they’re electric cars.

The two of the pioneering green car distributors that took large display areas at Excel both had electric conversions of Chinese-built city cars on their stands. The idea is to offer something rather more substantial in terms of crashworthiness than the often-criticised quadricycle designs that both companies also offer.

Quiet Car Company, based in Lymington, showed a battery-electric conversion of the Chinese Hafei Lobo five-door hatchback, an attractive small car designed by Italian styling house Pininfarina. Priced at £12,995, the Quiet Car 2 has Lithium batteries offering a range of around 65 miles on a full, five-hour charge. Performance is strictly ‘urban’ – top speed is only 50mph. But running costs are low – QCC claims 100 miles of driving will add just £1 to your household electricity bill.

The conversion sees the car’s engine replaced by a battery pack under the bonnet, with a rear-mounted electric motor driving the rear wheels. Much of the electric drivetrain equipment is fitted under the rear seats. QCC is taking orders for the car – but deliveries won’t start until October or November.

Across in the other main hall at Excel, NICE Car Company – whose name doesn’t seem so bad when you realise it stands for No Internal Combustion Engine – premiered its own Chinese-made five-door hatchback EV, the Ze-O.

Built in China but styled again in Italy – this time by Bertone – Ze-O is a version of the Changhe Ideal, a car introduced in China in 2006. It’ll come to the UK before the year-end, says NICE, priced around £14,000. Initial versions will have traditional lead-acid batteries with a 60-mile range and a 55mph top speed, but Li-Ion versions with longer range will follow.

NICE Car Company, founded by former Lotus Engineering director Evert Geurtsen and Julian Wilford, is looking at radical retailing ideas: "We’re looking to sell cars in the same way that Carphone Warehouse sells mobile phones," said a spokesman. Could these little Chinese cars in time become the high-fashion items like iPhones and Blackberrys? And might this be a better route to market for Chinese automakers, rather than the costly, slow and difficult task of growing their own Chinese brands? We shall see.

http://www.gasgoo.com/auto-news/7200/Nicely-does-it-as-Chinese-cars-make-a-quiet-debut.html
 
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