The world desperately needs vehicles with alternative powertrains, such as battery electrics. The potential to make a killing in the business is huge, as is the potential to lose everything. The auto industry - as anyone who has ever gotten involved in it knows - is hugely capital intensive so investors are needed. However, people tend to be unwilling to put large quantities of cash unless they see a potential return. In any new business arena there are startups who fail without drawing much attention to themselves. Unfortunately there are also those that draw inordinate amounts of attention to themselves before they ever produce anything. Those in the latter category tend to poison the investment waters for those who may actually have something real to offer.

Such is the case with Zap! and their heavily-hyped electric vehicles. The Santa Rosa, CA company has been around for quite a number of years and has actually managed to sell a number of electrical products mostly related to mobile power products. However when it comes to electric transportation, their products are limited to the Chinese built three wheel Xebra "sedan" and "truck". Wired has now pubished a detailed article on the often sordid 16 year history of Zap! and its two primary leaders Gary Starr and Steve Schneider. Schneider and Starr have apparently "built" a business on alternating press releases about world-beating new electric cars and issuing new stock to continue paying the bills, including their salaries. Meanwhile enthusiastic prospective retailers of Zap products like Ehab Youssef and Joseph Gottlieb with little experience in the realities of the car business, have plunked down large amounts of cash for the right to sell vehicles that either come nowhere near meeting their rated specifications or never materialize at all. It's a sad tale but well worth the read. For those Zap representatives that often post in the comments here, please feel free to try and refute anything you feel may be incorrect in the article - but only if you have facts to back it up.

[Source: Wired]

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