OSLO, Norway - Norwegian manufacturer Pivco AS plans to build 5,000 City-Bee electric city cars a year.
The company is building a plant in Aurskog, near Oslo, that will employ 175 workers.
Twenty engineers from Lotus Group are working on the City-Bee project.
Pivco has targeted municipal and postal services as major potential customers.
A test series of 100 vehicles has been built. Fifty of them are on trial in California.
The City-Bee is powered by nickel-cadmium batteries. It has a top speed of 55.8 mph and a range of 62 miles.
The car carries two passengers on an aluminum platform. The body panels are plastic.
Norway's low-cost hydroelectricity and successful aluminum industry may boost the City-Bee's chance of success. The City-Bee will cost about $14,150.
Investors in the project include the Norwegian postal service and energy companies Oslo Energi and Statoil. Approximately $14.2 million has been invested in the City-Bee so far.