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LA Auto Show 2011: Three-seat Croatian electric racer, anyone?

LA Auto Show 2011: Three-seat Croatian electric racer, anyone?

Of the dozens of new models and concepts shining on the floor of the L.A. Auto Show, only one offers three seats, scissor doors and all-electric range in a body that looks fresh from bouncing turtles in a Japanese video game.

The DOK-ING XD is an ongoing project by a Croatian company known mostly for building mine-clearing vehicles. Under development for the past four years, DOK-ING has said it plans to build the XD sometime next year, with some help from outside firms. The goal: To build a mini EV that can still handle with luxury sports sedans.

Underneath the scissor doors and centrally placed driver’s seat behind a touch-screen dash, the XD will offer either 120 or 240-hp’ worth of electric motors, powered by 32 kWh batteries. Because of its tiny size and high torque, the XD can supposedly hit 60 mph in under 5 seconds — although it didn’t turn a wheel in anger at the auto show.

Stuck in an overflow room with Bentley, Aston Martin and Lotus, the XD was an oddity that still garnered more attention than many production cars and trucks. Dozens of companies are trying to build a market in tiny EVs, and DOK-ING’s lack of experience doesn’t bode well. Yet it will take a XD’s sense of style to make many people give small EVs a chance.