Eye to Eye with the Zotye E20 EV in China

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This is the Zotye E20, a funky mini electric car from China. The Zotye E20 debuted as a semi-concept on the Beijing Auto Show in April, and was launched in selected markets throughout China over the year. It is however not available anywhere near Beijing so I was very happy when I found two examples on the China Hi-Tech Fair in Shenzhen last week.

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The Zotye E20 seats two and a bag of groceries. Zotye says they are selling about a thousand units a month, which isn’t all that bad for an electric car in China. Price without subsidies is 108.800 yuan ($17.700). Green energy subsidies from central and local government bring that down to 48.800 ($7.944), a total subsidy of 60.000 yuan ($97.600).

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See exhaust pipe! (It’s not real…) The Zotye E20 is powered by an electric motor with 24hp and 82nm. Top speed is 80 kilometer per hour, and that is just enough to be allowed on the highway. Range is 120 kilometer per hour. Charging on 220V takes six hours for a full charge. Charging on a fast charger takes 20 minutes for an 80% charge.

Size: 2765/1540 / 1555, wheelbase is 1765. Curb weight is 670 kilo.


Dash was made out of cheap black plastic, but fit and finish were all right. Earlier Chinese electric cars of this size looked like they would fall apart at any moment but this Zotye E20 appeared solid and strong. Floor mat covers both foot wells.


Oddly, the drive selector is located in the center console, just below the LCD screen and above the aircon control. The knob is tiny and somehow doesn’t look important. One could easily mistake it for a button the adjust the mirrors.


Well this looks important! It is an emergency button. Pressing it switches off all electrical systems, and thus the car. Don’t tell the kids… In front of the emergency button sits the electronic parking brake. Don’t mix ’em up…


Funky in yellow funky in red. I was pleasantly surprised; the Zotye E20 was altogether a much better package than I expected. May there be more.

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  1. Hi Tycho!

    We had around ten of these for test driving in the company car park last week, they are quite funky actually and have quite a few parts from the VAG parts bin (Steering wheel, key, seatbelts…).

    Not bad to drive, my only complaint is that the acceleration is a little slow (it was designed for a max speed of 90kph) and the acceleration peddle is in the middle of the car rather than the center. There is a new generation coming soon that will have a greater top speed. Suspension is harsh but manageable.

    Also note that these have nothing to do with Zotye, they are produced in Shandong (where else?!) by Xin Da Yang and the Zotye badge is a badge of convenience to gain mass production.

    Pricing is around 100k RMB, but after subsidies they are about 45k which isn’t shabby at all!

  2. As everytime in China there are copies and original. The Original shown in the pics is a real Zotye and quite famous EV in China.
    Actually is the second best pure EV in Chinese market after the Kandi EV that is mostly used for car rental. The Zotye E20 EV has sold more then 5600 cars this year. It’s strange as in China is very difficult to get real info about the EV. Looks that also the government is confused in his statistics. For example this Zotye E20 is a car that can get subsidies for the sales of EV as it is offical listed in the numbers of the legal EV, but then it is not mention in the number of EV sold in China.


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