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It's Earth Day, so we would have been shocked to see the day slip by without a press release from Zap about their something or other. True to form, the EV company presents us with news that the Sopraffina Marketcaffe in Chicago will be using an electric Xebra truck with solar panels on the roof in its catering business (read more after the jump). Can't let the Ford Transit Connect have all the food fun, right?

The Xebra is Zap's one legitimate electric vehicle that has more than two wheels, but it does have some drawbacks compared to a "real" car because it's classified as a motorcycle. Still, for deliveries in downtown Chicago, running on electrons is a pretty good plan. Not a lot of sunlight reaches the street in the middle of the Windy City, but if you're on Lakeshore Drive, those panels should be able to suck up some juice. The three-cents-a-mile operating cost has got to be appealing to the business owners as well.

Press Release:

Chicago Rolls Out ZAP Solar Electric Car for Catering on Earth Day

Chicago's Sopraffina Marketcaffe to Unveil Solar-Electric Catering Vehicle in Chicago

CHICAGO, April 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chicago's Sopraffina Marketcaffe today is celebrating Earth Day with the unveiling of a new, first-of-its-kind, 100 percent solar-electric powered catering vehicle. La Grange Park electric car dealer Jessup's Automotive helped bring the vehicle to Chicago as part of a dealer network being formed by ZAP (BULLETIN BOARD: ZAAP) .

The modified ZAP Xebra truck being unveiled on Earth Day at Sopraffina's 222 West Adams location runs on electric power throughout the day and can be charged by solar panels located on the roof. At night, the vehicle recharges at a standard outlet. Owner Dan Rosenthal had the car modified for catering in downtown Chicago.

"The economic impact on companies is marginal and the environmental impact is huge," said Dan Rosenthal, president of The Rosenthal Group, which owns five Sopraffina Marketcaffes as well as Trattoria #10 and Poag Mahone's. "Electric vans should become the vehicle of choice for city-based deliveries. Every minute our van is on the street it is telling our potential clients that we are making a serious effort to help the environment. We're delighted to be the first in Chicago to have this type of vehicle."

The delivery vehicle is part of several initiatives The Rosenthal Group is taking to make Sopraffina one of the greenest restaurants in the city: Sopraffina Marketcaffe is a founding member organization of the Green Chicago Restaurant Co-op (http://www.buygreenchicago.org/). Started in October 2007, the Co-op has grown to include nearly 100 restaurants.

The Xebra truck hits a top speed of 40 MPH and is virtually silent during operation. It was modified with special compartments to keep insulated catering containers secure so food remains at the correct temperature during delivery. The vehicle does not require gasoline, diesel fuel, oil or any of the regular maintenance of conventional cars. The vehicle costs about three cents per mile to operate.

"With high gas prices the timing is right for electric cars, but when you are talking about Earth Day I think it all comes down to the doing the right thing," said Mike Jessup. "This truly is a unique vehicle created by Sopraffina and the guys at Fischer Crane. I look forward to working with them in the future to get more of these out on the road."

Test drives of the Xebra are available at Jessup's Automotive, located at 1118 East 31st Street, La Grange Park, IL 60526 or by calling 708-352-8800.

About ZAP

ZAP has been a leader in advanced transportation technologies since 1994, delivering over 100,000 vehicles to consumers in more than 75 countries. At the forefront of fuel-efficient transportation with new technologies including energy efficient gas systems, hydrogen, electric, fuel cell, ethanol, hybrid and other innovative power systems, ZAP has a joint venture called Detroit Electric to manufacture electric and hybrid vehicles with Youngman Automotive Group, one of China's leading manufacturers of buses and trucks. Detroit Electric is developing a freeway capable electric vehicle called the ZAP Alias in collaboration with Lotus Engineering. ZAP is also developing a new generation of vehicles using advanced nanotech batteries with Advanced Battery Technologies. The Company recently announced a strategic partnership with Dubai-based Al Yousuf Group to expand its international vehicle distribution. ZAP also makes an innovative, new portable energy technology that manages power for mobile electronics from cell phones to laptops. For product, dealer and investor information, visit http://www.zapworld.com/.

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, continued acceptance of the Company's products, increased levels of competition for the Company, new products and technological changes, the Company's dependence upon third-party suppliers, intellectual property rights, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

[Source: ZAP]


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