We had the pleasure of driving the good old Zastava 750 with a modern, eco-friendly twist - an electric motor! The car was given an electric make-over by a student of mechanical engineering from the Škofja Loka School Center.
According to Domen Oblak, this is the first ever electric Zastava 750, which is a version of the Fiat 600 that was originally produced by the Serbian car maker Zavod Crvena Zastava between 1955 and 1985.
"The car was bought by my father a long time ago. Then five years ago I decided to give it a new look. A lot of other things were happening at the same time, so nothing came of it. After a while, I came up with the idea to make an electric vehicle out of that old thing as a school project. I now have a car I use nearly every day," explained Domen, however when asked how much time exactly did he spend working on the car to create an EV, he had to think about it for a while. "I'm not really sure. I was working on it for about six months, whenever I had time. Sometimes for days at a time."
Let's face it, there is not a lot of room inside this car, nor plenty of luxury. But that is beside the point. This is pure nostalgia with an electric motor and driving Zastava 750 with a new power system is simply incredible. And simple! You turn the ignition key just as you would with a standard version of the car. Then you press the clutch pedal and shift to second gear. "The first gear is too short and is to be used only when driving up steep gradients," says Domen. After that, you can take your foot off the clutch pedal – worry not, the car won't make a move. Step on the gas and the car will move – in almost complete silence.
The overall experience is very compelling. Electric Zastava 750 accelerates much faster that the old, original version, and offers far more leisure time when it comes to switching gears. Three gears would suffice.
Zastava 750 was never made to reach racing speeds, but Domen was able to push the electric model to 120 kph. The battery can be recharged in just three hours to offer a more than satisfying range of over 100 kilometers. "That's mainly due to the small size and low weight of the car," explains Andrej Pečjak, the student's mentor at the Institute Metron.
Congratulations, Domen, you've done a remarkable job!