August 21, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

Automaker aims to bring clean cars to the masses

(continued from previous page)

At the moment, electric cars, at least inexpensive ones, need work. While the Xebra can go 40mph, it takes awhile to get up to top speed. Flooring it, I cranked it up to 30mph, but it took about six seconds. The battery charge lasts for about 40 miles. The performance and range, however, will increase with better batteries. Currently, the Xebra runs on a lead acid battery.

But I do have to admit, I smiled the whole time I was driving it.

"This is a second car or even a third car," Schneider said. Ninety percent of all car trips in the U.S. are under 21 miles, and most of the time the driver never cranks up the car past 40 miles an hour, he added. Thus, a market could exist for cheap commuter cars.

By contrast, the scooters are a different story. The Zappy 3 picks up quickly and turns well. It is also much easier to learn to drive and seems to be faster than a Segway. The Zappy 3 costs only $700, far less than the thousands that Segways cost.

May buyers of the scooters are big fans. Ken and Diana Ackerman, who were visiting ZAP's warehouse, have bought 20 ZAP scooters for residents of their trailer park in Calistoga, Calif. "We ride every night at 7 p.m.," Diana said. The riders, some of whom are around 80 years old, will soon participate in a parade.

The Zappy 3 is supposed to top out at 15 miles an hour. Schneider, who lives on a hill, recently took a Zappy up to 40mph, but wiped out and broke four ribs and some other parts.

"I took it way past its capabilities," he admitted.

Previous page
Page 1 | 2

See more CNET content tagged:
car, lobby, automobile company

14 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
typo?
"and a gas car that gets 50 miles an hour, making it cleaner than other gas cars."

did you mean 50 mpg? And if so, why do you equate fuel efficiency with cleanliness?
Posted by johndunk (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
mpg
Fuel efficiency does equate with cleanliness because the more fuel
burned to generate power, the more CO2 and other pollutants that
enter the atmosphere.
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
Kings of Hype
I have watched Zap and over the last few years they seem to be nothing but the kings of hype. They come out with some special battery and then nothing. They talk about all these electric cars they have and then they come out with a car that is like a GEM neighborhood car.

I would recommend you no longer report what they are doing until they actually come out with something that is better than a scooter.
Posted by sabot96 (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Old Vision Finally Becoming Reality
Check out Bruce Weiner's magnificent Microcar Museum at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://" target="_newWindow">http://</a>
www.microcarmuseum.com/. These visionaries from Germany,
France, the US, Italy, and other places were way ahead of their time.
Posted by jmdecombe (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually
Those concepts not only "were ahead of their time" but ahead of [u]petroleum power[/u]!!! The only reason our vehicles are mainly powered by petroleum products is that back at that time the technology didn't exist to make them as viable or as easily powered (and produced) as the petroleum powered vehicle. Of [b]cour$e[\b] M-O-N-E-Y played its part as well as it does today! :|
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Link Flag
Agree! Enough hype
It's unbelievable that with the technology and computing capability that we have today, that we never seen any fruition, just hype. You hear of working cloak technology, ultrasonic weaponry, they can take a clear photo of "a galaxy far, far away" and yet when it comes to energy, we are still burning fossil fuels.
Posted by BengalTigger (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It needs to go 60MPH, and ...
...otherwise it won't feel/be safe during many people's
commutes.

The styling and name could also use some work. Some of the
models shown in the video are very very ugly, and "Zap" is not a
good name. Makes me think of being zapped by an SUV or
delivery truck. May as well call it "Squish".

How about "eCar" or "Charge" or "eLite" or "eGo" or "E4U" or
something like that?

But I like the concept.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I disagree, I love ZAP!
I disagree, I love ZAP. ZAP reminds me of electricity, which is what it runs on. I also like the acronym, Zero Air Pollution.

The names you suggessted remind me of Yugo, and Geo Metro, yuck.

IMHO

JD
Posted by Jivedaddy (17 comments )
Link Flag
I LOVE IT! Goodbye Gas Hogs!
I have multiple electric scooters and love them. I also have a new gas powered scooter which is very cool too.

These work great for running to the corner market, cruising the neighborhood, or zipping over to the lake near where I live.

I really hope ZAP cars take off, I'll buy one. I have a Scion xB right now, and a ZAP would look great sitting next to it. Who needs a Hummer!

JD
Posted by Jivedaddy (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Electrics spawn fraud
Like everyhting else, once the public gets som
idea in its head (in this case CO2 emissions) it
lays itself wide open to fraud. Asoide from the fact that the electricity that powers these electric cars is most definitely NOT GREEN, the biggest fraud are
thsoe that make economic claims, like so many
equivalent miles per gallon, carefully avoiding the
costs of batteries. Unless a new electric uses the
Altair Nanosafe lithium batteries, it is antique technology. That goes double for the hairbrained Tesla, which must incorporate a Rube Goldberg battery management system in an atempt to overcome
the limitations of the plain Jane lithium ion
batteries it uses (cost $20,000; lifespan - 750 recharges). Unfortunately those batteries cannot be rapidly charged like the Altair batteries(8 minutes versus Tesla's 4 hours) and be completely
safe and flow current 4 times faster and last for over 10,000 recharges. Any electric not using the new Altair batteries is a waste of money.
Posted by theBike45 (90 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Guess you've got shares in Altair!
Guess you've got shares in Altair!
Posted by MyRightEye (1284 comments )
Link Flag
Electric cars
Tha gas pedal and brake are flip flop. What in blazes does that mean.??????????
Posted by tommybed (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.