Zippy, flashy biofuel 3-seaters make gas an afterthought

Zippy, flashy biofuel 3-seaters make gas an afterthought


Why do we think that Austin Powers would enjoy one of these? The colors, perhaps, or the interior?

You’ll certainly be seeing bright colors if you get your hands on one of these, a sports car from the bright minds at Lotus and the flashy designers at Obvio. For those who really want the down-deep details, the designation is 012. That’s not the number of an International Man of Mystery but rather the model number of a three-seat sportscar that can boast a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, 6 speeds, 170hp, and 40mpg. Economics are king, as the manufacturers envision this baby running on ethanol or compressed natural gas (with a petroleum option, of course).

Not bad for a car that you’ll have a hard time getting in and out of if you have any kind of height at all. Still, it’s the fun that counts, and that’s what you’ll get with the 012. You’ll begin to see these cars in the U.S. in 2008, thanks to an import agreement between Obvio and ZAP! (which is also bringing you those lovely SMART cars).

The base price on this little number is expected to be just US$28,000. You can get an electric plug-in version as well, for US$59,000.

But that’s not all. Moving up the ladder, we can see the 828, a more economical cousin of the 012 that will sell for a jaw-dropping US$14,000 (with an electric version at US$49,000).

These are definitely zippy little cars. How long you can put up with the color scheme is up to you.