Zagato Zele

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Zagato Zele
Also calledZagato Elcar
Production1974–1976; ~500 produced
AssemblyMilan, Italy
Body and chassis
Body style2-door
LayoutRear-engine, rear wheel drive
Electric motorMarelli direct drive
Battery4 x 12v; up to 8 x 12V
Range80 km (50 mi) (Official range)
Wheelbase51 in (1,295.4 mm)
Length84 in (2,133.6 mm)
Width53 in (1,346.2 mm)
Height63.5 in (1,612.9 mm)
Curb weight495 kg (1,091 lb)

The Zagato Zele 1000, 1500, 2000 (sold in the United States as the Elcar) is an electric microcar with a fiberglass body manufactured by the Italian design company Zagato. Produced 1974–1976, the Zele was an unusual departure from Zagato's famous designs, which had long been known for their beauty and performance. The Zele, however, was high, square cornered and had a low top speed. They were produced in 7 colors (Orange-red, Brown, Dark blue, Pastel blue, White, Green and metal flake Blue) and the chassis and suspension were derived from the Fiat 500 and Fiat 124. The 1000, 1500, and 2000 stands for the wattage of the motors respectively. Approximately 500 were made.

The Zele employed a 4 position speed selector and a 2 position foot pedal providing six forward speeds, two reverse speeds and a range of approximately 50 miles (80 km). The Zele 2000 also featured a boost switch which, once at top speed, weakens the motor's magnetic fields in the field coils to produce less torque but a greater top speed. Its top speed was between 25 and 30 mph.

The American importer for the vehicle, Elcar Corporation, also created an elongated four-seat prototype called the Elcar Wagonette.

The batteries are located under the floor of the vehicle.

See also[edit]


  • Taschen, Benedikt (1994). Kleinwagen, Small Cars, Petites Voitures.
  • Shuldiner, Herbert (June 1975). "Battery-powered cars". Popular Science. 206: 61–63. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  • Barry, Keith (18 November 2009). "Vintage Electric By Zagato On The Auction Block". Wired News. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  • Dempewolff, Richard (August 1975). "Road Testing the Electric Car". Popular Mechanics. 144: 47, 121–122. Retrieved 6 April 2012.

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