Outside of Israel and Shai Agassi’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure company Better Place, the Middle East doesn’t have much of an electric car industry. That might change soon now that a team of Iranian scientists from Tehran’s Khaje Nasir Toosi University of Technology have developed the country’s first EV, a mini two-seater called “Qasedak-e Nasir”, or the dandelion of Nasir.
The steel car, which was built in just 10 months by a 14-person team of students and graduates, was originally constructed for a competition at Sharif University, but the team ultimately decided that it was worth designing it for real-world use on city streets.
Like other plug-in EVs, the car is powered completely by an on-board battery pack. As might be expected from a vehicle built in under a year, the Qasedak-e Nasir lacks the flashiness of electric cars like the Tesla Model S or the Roadster. And in reality, the car is more like a low-speed neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) than a full-fledged EV — it has a top speed of 50 mph and an average speed of 15 mph.
But the vehicle is nonetheless impressive, if for no other reason than its status as the first EV to come out of a country that is economically reliant on its status as a major oil producer. When a country that has the world’s third largest supply of oil reserves starts to pay attention to electric vehicle technology, it’s time for all of us to pay attention.