Small and nimble will win the next segment of the
race. With most of the major auto manufacturers only slowly moving away from their once-insanely popular (but now seen as gas-guzzling burdens) large SUVs to smaller cars, independent small car makers are poised to dominate the new generation of cars says Gary Starr, who founded ZAP cars in 1994. The big car companies are coming a little to late to the party, he said. It's a little bit of history repeating itself. Starr told News.com that, "No covered wagon company became a major car company, and typewriter companies didn't take over the computer industry," except IBM, which made computers before the Selectric typewriter.
However the small car market shakes out in five or ten years, we can get a taste of small cars today. News.com says that ZAP's recently released Xebra is fun to drive, even if it does have a top speed of only 40 mph and "feels like a slightly souped-up
". The Xebra has a range of 40 miles, costs $9,000 and is made in
. Next year, ZAP will debut the Obvio (what kind of name is that? The Xebra at least is decorated with stripes), an ethanol-powered small car that will go from 0-60 in five or six seconds and seats three. Cost will be around $14,000 and the car will be imported from Brazil.