This is the Oxygen, a small battery-powered car by Iran’s KSJ Motors (Khodro Sazan Jonoob). The country’s first EV was unveiled last week in the southern city of Shiraz, in a ceremony attended by senior government and industry officials.

Little is known about the Smart fortwo-style two-door, two-seat EV, but the Oxygen is set to be launched in May this year. Energy consumption will be less than 15 kWh per 100 km and range will be 220 km per charge, KSJ Motors CEO Siamak Hojjat revealed.

He also said that the Oxygen will be the cheapest two-seat EV in the world with a price tag of 2.7 billion Iranian rials. That’s no typo – it is indeed billion, and the sum is equivalent to US$10,500 (RM44,195) at current rates. If so, the cheapest EV claim isn’t quite true.

The EV sensation in China that is the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV starts from 28,800 yuan (RM19,014), and that’s a two-seater. The Mini EV, which has a 120 to 170 km range, is a sub-3m car, and there are even smaller and cheaper nano-sized EVs in China.

From L-R: Smart EQ fortwo EV, Wuling Nano EV

Anyway, KSJ Motors says that it will make 1,000 units of the Oxygen in nine months starting from May 2022. The target is for production to reach 10,000 units per annum in the calendar year starting March 2024. Hojjat says that KSJ Motors will source only 20% of the parts needed for making the Oxygen from other countries, which translates to 80% of local parts.

According to the IRNA news agency, the Iranian Telecommunication Manufacturing Co (ITMC) contributed to the development of Oxygen and the company will hold a stake in the commercialisation phase of the homegrown EV.

A senior diplomat from the Senegal embassy in Tehran was also present at the Oxygen’s debut, and reports say that the African country is keen to introduce the EV there. Senegal already hosts a car factory by Iran’s largest carmaker, Iran Khodro or IKCO.