Small Croat firm has big dreams for electric car

Thu Apr 1, 2010 6:32am EDT
 
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By Zoran Radosavljevic

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Fancy electric cars are hardly the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Croatia. Ethnic wars of the 1990s or the booming tourism on its pristine Adriatic coast are the far more common associations.

Yet a small Zagreb-based company, Dok-Ing, has won global recognition with innovative high-tech products, like de-mining robots used by the U.S. army in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now determined to get a foothold in the electric car market.

Barely seven months after the initial idea, the company produced a funky, bright red prototype, called XD, and displayed it at the Geneva Car Fair last month.

The small city car attracted considerable interest. Dok-Ing is now perfecting it and trying to find investors willing to foot the bill for mass production, preferably in Croatia.

"Ever since I was young I had this idea, to produce a car. Now I realized we have the know-how and we did it. I wasn't motivated by profit, it was more like a game, to prove I can actually do it," Dok-Ing's owner Vjekoslav Majetic told Reuters.

The car holds three people and its state-of-the-art batteries, spread along the chassis, give it enough power to drive around town for several days without recharging.

"Driving at 50 km per hour, you can cover 250 km (145 miles). Recharging it at home takes six to eight hours, but we are also developing fast chargers which can do it in an hour," said project manager Tomislav Bosko.

FUNDING KEY PROBLEM   Continued...

 
<p>A engineer test drives on a prototype of a Croatian-made electric car XD in the factory yard located in the industrial district of the capital Zagreb on March 30, 2010. Fancy electric cars are hardly the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Croatia. Ethnic wars of the 1990s or the booming tourism on its pristine Adriatic coast are the far more common associations. Yet a small Zagreb-based company, Dok-Ing, has won global recognition with innovative high-tech products, like de-mining robots used by the U.S. army in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now determined to get a foothold in the electric car market. REUTERS/Nikola Solic</p>