ZAP, Lotus Team Up for Electrics


Santa Rosa, California–based ZAP has confirmed that the firm is using Lotus’s APX (Aluminum Performance Crossover) platform, from the 2006 Geneva show, and its body structure, for developing a high-performance flagship model called the ZAP-X. Lotus Engineering will also provide development assistance for the vehicle, which could go on sale in calendar year 2008.


Instead of the gasoline V-6 in the original APX, the ZAP-X will have wheel-hub electric motors, providing all-wheel drive, to deliver up to 644 horsepower. The X, according to ZAP, would have a theoretical top speed of 155 miles per hour. An advanced battery management system will enable a range of up to 350 miles, with charges as short as ten minutes.


The unique placement for powertrain components will leave extra space for battery capacity — an auxiliary power unit is planned for those who drive longer distances — and the car is expected to offer more cargo space than previous compact electric adaptations, where much of the existing cargo space often gets converted to battery space.


ZAP was unable to reveal exactly what type of battery pack the X will have, but a spokesman said that the company is currently in discussion with suppliers and is considering some very leading-edge solutions that limited-volume production allows — a hint that the company is considering lithium-ion technology.


The model would take on the Tesla, the carbon-fiber-bodied sports car that’s based on the Lotus Elise and claims 0-60 times of around four seconds and a top speed of about 150 miles per hour, with a range of up to 270 miles in normal city driving. First deliveries of the Tesla are slated for later this year.


The company will be showing the ZAP-X, the first of several different new concepts to be rolled out through a new partnership with Lotus, at the North American Dealers Association (NADA) annual meeting and exhibition in Las Vegas , February 3-6.


ZAP boasts the only city-speed electric car or truck currently available in the U.S., and also produces a range of electric vehicles including scooters and ATVs. The company has a U.S. dealer network and also has distribution partners in Europe, Asia, and South America.


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Tesla Wants Sedan, Crossover? by Joseph Szczesny (1/11/2007)
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