January 31, 2008 1:42 PM PST

Zap to do three-wheeled car in 2009

Zap, the electric car company based in Santa Rosa, Calif., is adding another electric car to its lineup.
Zap Alias
Credit: Zap
An artist's rendering of the Zap Alias.

The three-wheeled Alias, due to go into production in 2009, will have a top speed of over 100 miles an hour and go 150 miles on a charge, according to Zap. It will sell for $30,000. The Alias will also likely come with a hybrid range extender, a small gas motor that can power the car or charge the battery.

The Alias will actually be made by a joint venture between Zap and China's Youngman Automotive Group. The company has an animated video of the prototype here. Zap said last year it planned to release a $30,000 electric car in 2009 but didn't mention at the time that it was a three-wheeler.

Zap also sells a three-wheeled low-speed electric car. (Check out the test drive here. It was a bit scary to drive, but we got noticed.)

Until recently, three-wheelers have occupied a niche of a niche of a niche. Some European companies made them back in the 1950s and '60s. And an evil villain drove one in Goldmember, the third movie in the Austin Powers trilogy.

Some three-wheelers, though, are going upscale. Venture Vehicles plans to bring three-wheeled hybrids and electric cars that would sell in the $20,000 range to the States starting next year.

Three-wheelers don't weigh as much as their four-wheeled counterparts, so they can go farther on a charge than regular electric cars. They are smaller, too, making them easier to park in cities.

Three-wheelers can also get to the market faster because they are classified as motorcycles, which means there is less safety testing. And they can be fun to drive. Venture's cars, based on a car design from the Netherlands, will tilt into turns like a motorcycle.

Zap, though, has many skeptics, and the company has many projects still in the works. It is also coming out with the Zap-X, an electric SUV later this year.

Zap, for its part, notes it is working on these projects with Group Lotus, a British car company. The Alias, in fact, grew out of the Zap-X project.

See more CNET content tagged:
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13 comments

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"Charge"
I wonder how long it takes to re-charge the batteries? I had one of
their scooters back in 98' when I lived in San Francisco, it was
unreal. I took it with me when I moved to Lanai' and I was the
most popular guy on the island amongst all the kids. Everyday they
would knock on my door & ask to use it. I liked what the company
stood for & wish them continued success with more energy
efficient products. Now I need one of their electric motors for my
tandem bike to get me around "Surf City!"
Posted by Bryce Mirtle (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How about Aptera?
I was wondering that it was not mentioned here, nor was really featured in cnet. This is more realistic, ready for production, gracefully designed, and better aerodynamics than Zap's three-wheeled car. Besides, it gets 120 miles to a charge, and a combined average of 300 miles to a gallon. See this site: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.aptera.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.aptera.com/</a>
Posted by Joe Real (1217 comments )
Reply Link Flag
btdt
Oink oink oink

been there done that
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Robin" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Robin</a>
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Aptera=sleep apnea - 200MPG diesel VW
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://jalopnik.com/cars/news/volkswagen-revives-200+mpg-car-project-252734.php" target="_newWindow">http://jalopnik.com/cars/news/volkswagen-revives-200+mpg-car-project-252734.php</a>
Posted by blurble (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
5 reasons to buy an electric car
5 Reasons to Buy an Electric Car
Submitted by nhayssen on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 14:52.
1. Zero Air Pollution
ZAP stands for Zero Air Pollution. We believe electricity is the fuel of the future. With electricity to power our transportation, our world can tap into renewable resources like hydroelectric, solar, wind, or geothermal power; resources that lessen our environmental footprint. Furthermore, studies show that millions of electric vehicles can recharge at night using existing surplus electrical generation; a vast, virtually untapped resource.
2. Save Gas
Gasoline is a precious natural resource and vital to the world economy. ZAP vehicles use no gasoline and require no oil changes. Using less fossil fuel can help relieve our current energy shortages while ensuring that future generations can rely on the same inexpensive, useful, petroleum products that we all take for granted.
3. Save Money
Gas keeps getting more expensive. Imagine all the money you can save by ZAPPING to work every day, rather than driving your gas vehicle. The typical electric car costs a penny per mile versus ten cents per mile with gas. Electric bikes and scooters are even less expensive. Plus, electric motors have fewer moving parts, meaning fewer trips to the mechanic. If you live close to work, you can save thousands of dollars per year by replacing your car with a ZAP bicycle.
4. Save Time
Traffic congestion and parking shortages eat away at our busy days, but a ZAP vehicle can help you save time, especially in busy urban areas. ZAP bikes and scooters slice through traffic jams and finding a place to park your ZAP neighborhood car is a snap.
5. Help the Economy
Today, the majority of USA's foreign trade deficit is attributed to imported oil. Using a ZAP vehicle will reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Furthermore, by investing in advanced transportation technologies, the USA can take the technological lead in offering energy efficient products that emerging economies around the world can use to build their own transportation infrastructures.

For more information on buying an Electric Car go to: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.zapworld.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.zapworld.com</a>
To view the ZAP Xebra Electric Car click here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.zapworld.com/electric-vehicles/electric-cars/xebra-sedan" target="_newWindow">http://www.zapworld.com/electric-vehicles/electric-cars/xebra-sedan</a>
Posted by zappedone (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Totally NOT TRUE
Where do you think electric energy is coming from? Generating electricity is one the most inefficient ways of converting energy as fuel is burned and there is tremendous amount of energy loss thru heat and mechanical losses. NO POLLUTION? You got to be kidding, majority of electric power plants in US use coal.
Posted by oxtail01 (308 comments )
Link Flag
You do realise that in the USA most of the electrisity you talk about comes from coal and natural gas... Which unless you know something i dont... Causes polution..
Posted by TheManInDboX (22 comments )
Link Flag
Wow
Wow, that's cool!
Posted by barneyRFD (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
CARVER beats it. As seen TOP GEAR
Apparently they missed the episode where top gear reviewed a swedish companies 3 wheel car, which is far more exciting than this stink bomb.

It also retails for mid $40k. Unfortunatly, they haven't been able to get enough money to meet US safety standards. And as well, the prices for these things is just too high anyway.

You can easily find the video review on youtube.
Posted by blurble (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Zap recently reported to be a sham company
You may wish to check out the recent Wired story on Zap before
posting yet more of their press releases. That story shows that the
vast majority of their announced cars have never materialized, the
partners they claim to have don't actually work with them, they are
under SEC complaints, and appear to have some very dubious
financial arrangements.
Posted by TieMeDown (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
there's a danish company that already has one, called the CARVER! So what if it runs on gas. Electricity is no better. And it was showcased on that illustrious automotive tv show TOP GEAR.
Posted by blurble (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am all for this but as long as you make a car that small it shouldn't burn that much gas so you don't need to make it electric. Just a thought to get them out the door quicker. Now that i hear that they have a problem with getting the safety standards up to US specs i am wondering why they dont publicize that more. Since they are that stringent it might quiet the only credible argument against them that an 18wheeler or an SUV will run over them on the road. I hate that argument. Just drive right and you will be ok. The standards the US set will make sure you will be ok.
Posted by iamarcin (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hey TieMeDown, you should visit the ZAP showroom to see the actual produced Alias..it's sitting right there gorgeous and as real as can be!
Posted by InformedConsumerss (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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