Bologna Motor Show 2012


It's the realm of Lamborghini, a stone's throw from Maranello and just down the road from Horatio Pagani and his bespoke spaceships disguised as cars, so there's no doubt that Bologna sits deep into supercar territory. This year, however, saw the third iteration of 'Electric City' at a snowy Bolgona Motor Show, and an insight into the weird world of Italian EVs.

No room for the Leaf inside Nissan's sphere

Nissan, Renault and Smart represented the main-stream manufacturers with displays and test-drives available for most of their cars - Nissan showing the battle-scarred Leaf and the electric version of the NV200 van. Renault presented the entire ZE range - the Twizy, Zoe, Kangoo ZE and Fluence ZE - and Smart displayed their third generation electric ForTwo and eBike.

There was more, however, from some lesser known companies, namely Fort, GreenGo, Restart, Speeder Motion and Zic Europe, some of which were also available for test runs. 

Italian company Fort, from Vicenza, showed their Cityfort - a lightweight electric pickup designed for use in urban areas, as well as several commercial tools for carrying, towing and usage by hoteliers and airports.

As is now the norm at motor shows, there was an opportunity to test drive eco cars

The somewhat unfortunately named GreenGo, also from Italy, held the world première of their first electric car, the Icaro (Interconnected Car Zero Emission), expected to launch soon at just under €10,000. It features Li-ion batteries, has a top speed of 47mph, a range of around 100 miles, interactive navigation and 24-hour centralised real-time monitoring (the 'interconnected' bit), air conditioning, a photovoltaic panel and regenerative braking. Build quality appears good but the aesthetics are challenged (think successor to the G-Wiz) and when combined with the name it's hard to imagine it making it to the UK.

Sicilian company Tecnicar from Syracuse premiered their Genius, a four-door, four-seat city car. It is hoped to launch in early 2013, dependent on investment. It has a range of around 60 miles and top speed of 52mph, making it comparable to a mia electric, and the styling is quaint, with hints of the original Multipla. It certainly wouldn't look out of place roaming the streets of Italy.

Twizy still getting attention courtesy of a Momo makeover

Zic Europe showed their Kandi Zic which borrows not a little from the styling of the Smart ForTwo. The vehicle body is manufactured in China by Zhejiang Kangdi Corporation and then fitted out in Italy by Gruppo Integrazioni & Sistemi S.p.A, meaning that the car has had a substantial environmental impact before it's even been kitted out for sale. The Kandi has a range of up to 75 miles and is available for purchase or lease in car and van configurations, with a large number of personalisation options including a choice of lead-acid or Li-ion batteries.

Finally Restart, an electric bike company showed their Eco-Way, a Segway-style electric vehicle running Li-ion batteries to give a maximum speed of 12.5mph and a range of 25 miles. Speeder Motion showed a similar offering, their Green Runner Robin M1.

Mercedes exhibited natural gas and electric concepts from Paris

EV-Now! Foundation presented their work on electric vehicle charging networks and smart homes which can produce electricity to power vehicles and efficient appliances and can also be stored in batteries for later use. They also demonstrated the electric car they will be running in the Tallinn-Monte Carlo electric rally.

Outside Electric City visitors saw the Mercedes B 200 Natural Gas Drive, the Electric Drive Concept B-Class, the Smart Brabus electric drive and the Smart Forstars electric concept which all premièred at Paris earlier in the year.

If nothing else, this year's Bologna show has evidenced that the electric car scene is alive and kicking in Italy – both for personal or commercial use – but in the design stakes they're still a way off their petrol-powered compatriots.   

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