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Old 12-11-2008, 12:30 PM   #1
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Default Ladies And Gentlemen, Your 2009 Zap Xebra

This weekend, the dealership, Ethical Approach--Electric Vehicle Center, held its grand opening celebration. On display were the company's first products: an assortment of electric plug-in vehicles from Zap Inc., a fledging, publicly-held startup based in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The dealership showcased various models of Zap's new three-wheel electric car, a four-wheel small truck, an electric scooter and even an electric bicycle. Daniel Reuter, president and chief executive of Ethical Approach (San Jose), offered me the opportunity to take a test drive in the new and lime green Xebra Sedan, which claims to be the world's only ''city-class'' electric car in production.

The Xebra is a small, three-wheel car that runs on a lead-acid battery and boasts speeds up to 40 miles per hour. The car has a range of 25 miles before it needs a recharge. It has an onboard 110-volt AC charger.

The car itself has been redesigned. The 2009 version, which I test drove, is a 5-door hatchback with folding rear seats, more than doubling the size of the rear cargo area with 34 cubic feet of space. The steel body is more durable than the original 2006 fiberglass model.

The vehicle, which seats up to 4 people, is 290- x 142- x 154-cm and weighs about 2,805 pounds. The sticker price is $11,700, but Ethical Approach was offering a $1,500 discount on the vehicle.

Zap manufactures its electric vehicles primarily in the Shandong Province of China. Zap handles the final assembly in Santa Rosa as a means to ''control the quality,'' according to a spokesman for the company.

At present, Reuter said Zap has already sold some 1,000 Xebra vehicles. Zap and the dealership are not only going after consumers, but the entities are also forging fleet-car deals with major corporations. Zap has delivered vehicles to Coca-Cola and Domino's Pizza. The Xebra is ideal for corporate campuses, said Reuter, who took leave as a mechanical engineering student at San Jose State University to open the dealership.
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:31 PM   #2
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Default Test drive: Zap's new electric car

he test drive Meanwhile, at first glance, the Xebra is a small, cone-shaped product, making it somewhat unnerving to take it on San Jose's busiest streets. Inside the car, the Xebra is quite rudimentary. The dashboard consists of a basic speedometer, odometer and radio. It also consists of an ''ammeter,'' which measures how many amps are consumed. This allows the driver to maneuver the car more efficiently.

The interior is also simple. Don't expect fancy leather material or bucket seats. The driver's seat was roomier than expected, but my wife seemed to struggle to get comfortable sitting in the back seat.

I soon learned that the Xebra operates much like a souped-up golf cart. There is a parking brake on the driver's side. Once the parking brake is lifted, the car is ready to maneuver. The pedals operate much like a golf cart. There is one to make the car move and another to stop it.

Despite playing golf -- and operating many golf carts in my day -- I found the initial efforts to operate the pedals were somewhat unsettling. Braking was surprisingly responsive. Before I headed out on my test drive on Stevens Creek Blvd. in San Jose, I hit the brakes and stopped on a dime.

Once I drove down Stevens Creek Blvd., I became used to the pedals and had no trouble driving the vehicle. The ride itself was not quite like my 2008 Honda Accord. It was a little noisy and bumpy, but the handling and steering mechanism were surprisingly better than I expected. Clearly, it was more stable than a golf cart.

Overall, I had a good and fun experience with the car, but the question is whether or not I would drive one on a daily basis? The answer is yes. I would drive a Xebra around my immediate area, but I would be reluctant to go beyond a certain point. Over time, I would get used to it. And, yes, I feel very safe in the car.
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:32 PM   #3
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Default ZAP Xebra finally gets some upgrades

The often-maligned three-wheeled Zap Xebra is getting some upgrades, after shipping a record number of vehicles last quarter, that could make it a much better vehicle overall. We don't think that anything has been changed that would potentially give the Xebra more range or more power, but an all-steel body definitely is an improvement over the old model's fiberglass unit. Another big change is the addition of a hatchback at the rear of the vehicle, which will make loading objects into the vehicle quite a bit easier. To go along with the hatch, the rear set of seats now folds flat so bigger items can be loaded inside. The interior also sees a bit of freshening and now includes power door locks and reclining seats.

Also new is the Zapino electric scooter, boasting a top speed of 30 miles per hour and a range of 30 miles. We've pasted a video detailing the upgrades to the Xebra along with the introduction of the Zapino for your viewing pleasure after the jump.

[Source: ZAP]

video here

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Old 12-11-2008, 05:51 PM   #4
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I bet you could build a space shuttle out of that.
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:06 PM   #5
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Zap - has a really bad rep - lots of press about not delivering whats promised. The lead founder was chased out - the head guy promoted his secretary and GF both have piles of stock and have left many - many investors holding the bag on "great ideas" never delivered on. I was big on Zap back when it first started but now its kind of a on going joke. I think they were under investigation at one point.
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Derbagger View Post
I bet you could build a space shuttle out of that.
"I went on the internet this week and I found THIS."
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:10 PM   #7
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boasting a top speed of 30 miles per hour and a range of 30 miles

i wouldn't boast about that
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Old 12-12-2008, 03:29 AM   #8
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:58 PM   #9
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It looks like a rebadged relient robin.
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