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Click on the image for a high-res gallery of Lotus APX images

A couple of weeks ago we had a story about the next model from Tesla possibly being a crossover utility. A reader asked whether the rumored vehicle might be based on the Lotus APX concept which was unveiled last year. Tesla subsequently rebutted the idea and said they are indeed building a sedan.

Well the idea of a battery powered APX obviously appealed to someone, because today Zap! has announced that the first product of their new collaboration with Lotus will be the ZAP-X, based on the APX. The ZAP-X will use in-hub electric motors in place of the V-6 gas engine. According the Zap! press release the combination of motors will provide 644 horsepower in all wheel drive mode and potentially drive the aluminum-structured vehicle to 155 mph. The hub motors will also allow extra batteries and an auxiliary power unit to be mounted under hood. Zap! is estimating the range at 350 miles and a recharge time of 10 minutes, although that fast charge time would almost assuredly have to be via a 480-volt charging system. Presumably Zap! will be using the new battery management system they licensed for this vehicle. Zap! will be displaying the APX at in North American Dealers Association (NADA) annual meeting and exhibition, February 3 to 6 in Las Vegas. So far there is no information on price or timing of the new vehicle. Check out the Zap! press release after the jump.

Update: We got word from Dallas over at InsideGreenTech that they have been in contact with the crew from Zap! and have some additional details on the Zap-X. Go check out their article here.



[Source: Zap!]
The ZAP-X Crossover Electric Car - 155mph, 644 Horsepower, Based on the APX Technical Demonstrator Vehicle Designed & Developed by Lotus Engineering

Tuesday January 30, 4:00 am ET
ZAP-X features all wheel drive, 10 minute recharge time, a 350 Mile Range and will be the center piece of the NADA Exhibition, February 3rd to 6th.

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 30 -- Automotive pioneer ZAP (OTC Bulletin Board: ZAAP) today announced plans to display Lotus Engineering's advanced APX concept car at the North American Dealers Association (NADA) annual meeting and exhibition, February 3 to 6, 2007, confirming their choice to move ahead using Lotus' revolutionary platform and body structure design as the basis for the development of the high performance electric ZAP-X.

ZAP and Lotus Engineering will begin the first phase of an engineering project to use the British consultancy's APX ("Aluminum Performance Crossover") as a basis for designing a production-ready electric all-wheel drive crossover high performance vehicle for ZAP in the USA market.

A combination of the lightweight aluminum vehicle architecture, a new efficient drive and advanced battery management systems is intended to enable a range of up to 350 miles between charges, with a rapid 10-minute recharging time. An auxiliary power unit is planned to support longer distance journeys.

Lotus' APX's conventional gasoline V6 engine will be replaced by revolutionary in-hub electric motors, delivering 644 horsepower in all wheel drive mode, theoretically capable of powering the ZAP-X to a potential top speed of 155mph. A new strong, lightweight and highly efficient structure based on the Lotus technology is planned to give the car a very attractive power-to-weight ratio.

Steve Schneider, CEO of ZAP, said: "Lotus Engineering's APX technology demonstrator vehicle is a perfect fit for our plans to introduce a full product portfolio of electric cars. Due to the initial design by Lotus, our cost and time to production will be significantly reduced. We believe that the ZAP-X will become the most advanced, most practical and most appealing flagship electric vehicle to date and will revolutionize the industry providing the driver with the enjoyment of a sports car and the practicality of an SUV."

Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, said: "Lotus Engineering's APX is a world-class innovative concept and was developed to showcase real solutions to new challenges facing the automotive industry. So it's very satisfying that ZAP's proposed new model will make use of a great deal of the APX concept's advanced body structure and chassis technology. The bringing together of these next-generation vehicle technologies represents another significant step forward for automotive technology."

The APX showcases Lotus Engineering's Versatile Vehicle Architecture technology, combining lightweight aluminum vehicle architecture with exceptionally strong and stiff structural rigidity, as well as lower manufacturing investment requirements. Having first been shown to the world at the Geneva motor show in 2006, the APX concept has won the 2006 European Aluminium Awards in the "Transport and Automotive" category.

The innovative placement of the power train leaves the space previously occupied by the conventional engine and drive train for additional battery capacity and amenities, making it a very consumer-oriented electric car concept. These design features will give the ZAP-X crossover the structural strength, and potentially storage and range that no electric vehicle has yet achieved publicly.

The development programme is proposed to be managed from a new centre of excellence for research and development of environmentally-friendly vehicle designs and technologies. Engineering input will come from Lotus Engineering Inc, and the British technology consultancy's other R&D centers in the UK, Malaysia and China.

About Lotus Engineering

Lotus Engineering has been behind the design and construction of some of the most successful cars in history and is one of the world's premier automotive consultancies with engineering centers in Asia, North America and Europe.

Employed by many of the major car manufacturers, Lotus Engineering maintains a strong tradition of excellence in the automotive business with cutting-edge engineering expertise, and talented, visionary staff. Lotus Engineering offers full engineering services capable of taking a project from initial concept and product design, through development, testing and prototype build, as well as production and production support.

Lotus is one of only two OEMs that has experience in designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing its own products offering this range of expert services to third parties. This gives Lotus a highly respected premium position in today's automotive industry. For more information, visit www.grouplotus.com.

About ZAP

ZAP currently markets the only city-speed electric car and truck available in the United States through a new automotive distribution portal marketing a complete lineup of advanced technology vehicles. ZAP's authorized auto dealer network will offer sales, service and parts distribution for the lineup of vehicles being developed by ZAP and its strategic partners in Europe, Asia and South America.

ZAP has been a leader in advanced transportation technologies since 1994, delivering nearly 100,000 vehicles to consumers in more than 75 countries. ZAP is at the forefront of fuel-efficient transportation with new technologies including energy efficient gas systems, hydrogen, electric, fuel cell, alcohol, hybrid and other innovative power systems. For more information, visit http://www.zapworld.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that relate to future plans or projected results of ZAP are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "PSLRA"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by the PSLRA, and all such statements fall under the "safe harbor" provisions of the PSLRA. ZAP's actual results may vary materially from those described in any "forward-looking statement" due to, among other possible reasons, the continued acceptance of ZAP's products, increased levels of competition, new products and technological changes, ZAP's dependence on third-party suppliers, intellectual property rights, and the realization of any of the other risks described in ZAP's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB, or in any of ZAP's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers of this press release are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.



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  • 35 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I didn't see the price of this vehicle, anywhere in the article but, I'm guessing at least $150K. If Lotus is involved, you know it's going to be a high dollar rig. Zap will bulid 2000 of these over the course of three or four years (my guess) and then stop because that is the total market for a high end specialty vehicle, like this.

      So, why should we care? Because a few of the vehicles that are sold, will be sold to GM and Ford and Chrysler and probably a few of the Japanese car companies too. They will test the cars and play with them and take them apart and steal as many ideas as they can because that's what companies do in a competitive market and, the electric car market is poised to become very competitive.

      Vehicles like this are important, not because they are practical for you and me but, because the ideas they contain help drive the market and show the mainstream car makers what is possible. Then, if they're smart, the big guns will build vehicles based on the best concepts, that everyone can afford.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This car doesn't deserve to be called "green." In addition to the above mentioned issues of using more power from plants, there is also the issue of battery disposal. Chemicals in batteries can do great damage to the country's water supply and soil quality, two things we must be very careful not to mess up anymore. Much of the west would understand- they already have major water problems.

      In regards to the electricity, even if it uses less energy from the plants than it would directly by burning gasoline, the lack of gasoline would encourage people to drive more since they won't be hindered by high fuel costs.

      Electric cars seem like a logical next step, but they are the same. The only real solution is to get people to walk and ride bikes more. The changes have to be in lifestyle, not the car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Scam. ZAP one again promises on vehicles that will never get to the showroom.
      Lotus gave permission to ZAP to use the APX as a model to market a new car... but Lotus stated clearly that ZAP has not signed any type of deal or partnership to allow ZAP to maufacture the Lotus in the USA.
      ZAP could in fact buy the cars in Europe and then make the changes in the USA, but then the cost of doing that would increase the retailing price of the unit to aprox 105K.
      However ZAP claims they will sell the car for 60K.
      Investors and buyers: Beware!
      • 8 Years Ago
      -#11 is right, we need to develop better technology for electric plants, too. A lot of the pollution will switch over from the roads to the plants.
      I think I know the difference, though; You can generate more energy from the same amount of fuel at the electric plant than in your car. That will at least cut down the amount of fuel we use, and make relatively less pollution.

      If we would be consuming the same amount of fuel at the power plants, then the oil companies wouldn't care about getting rid of vehicles that use gas.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I would buy a car with a max speed of 70 mph, clumsy handling, so-so acceleration, average performance, and less interior room. I just want a car that doesn't use gas.

      I know I'm not the only one desperate to get rid of this pollution. It's disgusting.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hats off to the inventors/engineers responsible for the batteries in this vehicle. That is where the promise for the future lies. As we search for cleaner energy formats, a major part of the solution is storage. I'd like more information on the batteries and types of charging systems.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Peter,

      I did not fully understand your point about transmission. An electric motor normally would not require it due to an almost constant torque at all speeds. Can you clarify please?
      • 8 Years Ago
      No problem. Electric motors do offer maximum torque at zero rpm and much higher rpm limits than gasoline engines, so with a reasonable range of speeds -- say 0-80mph -- you can get away with a fixed gear ratio.

      If you multiply the motor torque by the gear ratio, you get the torque at the wheels. Wheel torque is proportional to the car's acceleration, so a shorter gear ratio will increase the car's rate of acceleration. However, it will also limit your top speed. So if you want both, you need multiple gears.

      It's only an issue if you want both extreme acceleration and really high top speeds. I'm curious how ZAP plans on achieving 155mph and maintaining reasonable low end acceleration.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If you know anything about ZAP, then you know they are crooks and couldn't figure out how to put wheels on a tricycle.

      I'd be real cautious about anything they try to get going.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's about time people got serious about electric cars. Now how about electric conversions of existing cars for people who don't have a hundred large to spend on wheels. A simple transmission adapter, couple of engine mounts, yank out the gas tank and use that space and the space saved under the hood by the small size of the e-motor for batteries, ba-da-bing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The ZAP sounds like a very interesting car indeed. The only concern I have with all the electric vehicles is the cost of purchasing them. If we intend to curb the greenhouse effects, we must have these affordable for mainstream consumers not just the very affluent. Most cars and trucks are operated by middle and lower class I would guess, so this technology must be affordable or it is really just a high dollar toy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Peter, Chris M- Thank you for your insights. There may indeed be advantages to using wheel motors in low speed, off road or specialty vehicles. I can see your points in regards to passenger cars. K.I.S.S will also reduce vehicle weight, acquisition, maintenance and operating costs. I appreciate your help.
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