Brazilian-based Obvio Automotoveiculos SA says it plans to introduce electric cars based on its 828 and 012 vehicle designs for export to North America.

The niche auto maker says it will first roll out gas/ethanol-powered versions of its still-under-development 828 and 012 minicars, which are planned for production near Rio de Janeiro in 2007. It is not clear when the vehicles, which run on gasoline, ethanol, or a mixture of both, will hit the market.

Obvio is negotiating with suppliers for electric-drive systems for the 3-passenger 828 and the sportier 012 subcompacts, Obvio President Ricardo Machado says in a press release. It is targeting a price of $49,000 and $59,000, respectively, for the electric variants.

Obvio says the rechargeable electric vehicles will range up to 200-240 miles (322-386 km) per charge. The cars are so small that two can fit into a standard parking space.

Obvio’s exclusive distributor, Santa Rosa, CA-based ZAP, says it has pre-purchased 50,000 units. ZAP, which stands for Zero Air Pollution, also makes and distributes electric-powered scooters and ATVs.

DC plans to begin selling its 2-seater Smart Fortwo in the U.S. in first-quarter 2008.