The Zero EV was originally designed by Britain’s NICE car company, the maker of the MyCar, Ze-O and the Mega City, but from the start its gestation has been handled by design teams in Italy. The goal for the Zero EV was to create a “high performance” micro-EV with a little Italian flair.

High performance is an intensely relative term, however, as the specifications are closer to human-powered transport than those of motorized vehicles. A top speed of 55mph (90km/h) and acceleration achieving 31mph (50km/h) in under 5 seconds reflect its city-only purpose, though the lithium battery pack's 93mi (150km) range, 45-minute recharge capability and roughly 2 cent per mile operating cost make the compromises seem minor in comparison.

Despite the Zero EV appearing more and more like a hyped up golf-cart, a small start-up in the U.S. has announced today that it will start importing the car from early next year. The company is Verdek-EV, which will start selling the Zero EV in North America, Mexico and the Caribbean islands next year.

Standard features will include 15in alloy wheels, an alarm system, a CD stereo with MP3, a sunroof, leather seats, LED tail lamps, and a 12V power outlet. In Europe the vehicle will start at €20,000.

One important note, since the vehicle is yet to be certified as a battery electric vehicle there is a chance that it may not be available for public road use. Verdek-EV and Tazzari are currently investigating their options for the potential of having the Zero EV certified for road use in North America.