It's not pretty, the interior's a bit old-fashioned and it gave the driver a mighty electric shock when he accidentally touched the battery, but ... it has a top speed of 75mph, a 'quite feasible' claim to run 250 miles on one electric charge, it seats four and it's planned to come on sale in the UK for between £16,300 and £20,500.
Compare that range to the 48 miles you get from the Reva G-Wiz, 62 miles from the Smart ED and 150 from the electric Mini (which only seats two) and the Zhong Tai, this new electric car from Chinese manufacturer New Power, sounds like it might actually have a market if it can sort out the usual Chinese naff design and dodgy components.
Astonishingly this production-ready electric car has been developed by a company with a staff of just 30 with some backing from Zotye, a mainstream car maker of which New Power is apparently a green subsidiary. With China expecting to have 150 million cars on its roads by 2020 I imagine the green angle is concentrating their minds a bit - at least I seriously hope it is.
I note that the test driver got from 18-54mph in just 5 seconds, then 'alarms started screeching and the engine had to be re-started'. I recall days like that from driving my Think - except I used to think of it as re-booting rather than re-starting ... they behave more like PCs than cars a lot of the time.
Don't expect to see the Zhong Tai in the UK or US before 2011. It's still got to go through a few European safety tests and Chinese exports tend not to do so well there. On top of that, it ain't no beauty and may not go down well with image-conscious westerners. Then again, European competitors are mostly putting off EV production until 2011 or later and can't compete with this one on range, so maybe we will find them on our roads before their prettier EV sisters get to market.