Consumer Reports covered the Automotive X Prize competition
ZAP Alias
Team name: ZAP (Zero Air Pollution)
Location: Santa Rosa, Calif.
Vehicle name: Alias

Who are they? ZAP been around since 1994, building electric bicycles and a few cars. It has made quite a few attempts at mass producing unique electric vehicles, but so far has its highest volumes have come in low-speed electric trucks and an odd (and reportedly slow) electric conversion of a Chinese three-wheeled sedan. The Alias a three-wheeled two-seater is ZAP's latest creation.

ZAP plans to sell two versions of the Alias, a base model and a high-output one. This car uses the base motor, which is 56 kw (75 hp), and the high-output battery, which has 32 kwh.

What they say will set them apart: ZAP says the all-electric Alias will be fun to drive, with Britain's Lotus Engineering doing some of the development work. The company is targeting a $35,000 base price. It intends to launch with about 100 handbuilt examples in late 2010. These initial cars will allow for valued customer feedback to help with further refinements. Meanwhile, they are working on securing a Department of Energy loan to add a factory to enable mass production.

Field notes: Professional driver Al Unser, Jr., made easy work of the performance tests and also brought friendly levity to the competition.

Class: Alternative
No. of wheels: Three
Passengers: Two
Drive type: Battery electric, front-wheel-drive
Battery type: 32 kwh, lithium-ion
Charging: 110v or 220v

For more information, see the ZAP team page on the X Prize website.

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