The Zotye 5008's reasonable electric powertrain is let down by its Daihatsu underpinnings

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Zotye, a growing Chinese manufacturer, has quietly got on with selling their electric cars while Shenzhen-based BYD has been busy trumpeting the BYD e6 across the world stage.

These cars may not be purposely designed electric vehicles but are already on sale to private customers, a feat only just matched by the e6

The 5008’s familiarity stems from it being based on the first generation Daihatsu Terios, launched back in 1997. Zotye has grafted on a more modern front along with other cosmetic changes.

Panel fit is above average for a Chinese car. But the interior is reminiscent of the 90s Terios with a low mounted touch screen LCD the only nod to modern technology. This is a nice touch on such a small car and comes with sat-nav, reverse camera, battery monitoring information, Bluetooth, and SD card and USB inputs for the stereo (there being no CD player).

Storage space is at a premium thanks to the car’s dimensions. Door pockets can hold little more than a sheet of paper and the passenger glove box is flimsy. It is only a four seater but in the rear space is adequate for adults thanks to the SUV style. Boot space is also limited.

The electric powertrain offers a good range with relatively sprightly performance for such a small car. However, on the move one of the most noticeable problems is the pedals. Firstly the accelerator is offset and your foot continually brushes the central console. Secondly the brake pedal needs to be pressed hard for much response.

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Thanks to the high centre of gravity, body roll is quite evident when cornering. The steering is light and doesn’t always give the precision one would like. Road holding though is reasonable and the car is fairly composed on a variety of surfaces without too much cabin vibration.

You can't yet, although European homologation is being undertaken and the 5008 EV is likely to go on limited sale in Europe in the next year. Despite being a fun little car, the overall package is nowhere near as appealing as Zotye’s Fiat Multipla-based EV, which currently cannot be sold in Europe.

Mark Andrews