ZAP, which stands for “zero air pollution,” has been in transportation technologies since 1994. Last year, the company began importing to the United States a modified version of the European micro Smart Car. ZAP Automotive is currently launching the Xebra, which ZAP says is the first 100-percent production EV not designated as a low-speed vehicle. ZAP claims the Xebra is the only production EV available in the U.S. with a top speed of 40 mph. ZAP manufactures the Xebra sedan and the Xebra truck, similarly priced at about $10,000. Both are based on a three-wheel chassis, which classifies Xebra as a motorcycle under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations. The truck is steel-aluminum construction, while the outside of the sedan is fiberglass and the inside is steel aluminum. The sedan has four doors and carries four passengers, while the truck carries two passengers and has a bed that can convert to a dump or flat bed. The Xebra is manufactured through a partnership with a Chinese auto manufacturer. This past May, ZAP sold several Xebra sedans, trucks, and ZAP scooters to six Domino’s Pizza franchises for pizza deliveries. Domino’s will test them for possible larger-scale use throughout the company. As for future production vehicles, the ZAP-X Crossover, being developed with Lotus engineering, will feature an all-wheel-drive option with electric motors inside each wheel, potentially delivering a whopping 644 hp and speeds up to 155 mph. ZAP says this high-performance electric car will be available in 2009. Global Electric Motorcars (GEM)
Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), a DaimlerChrysler company, manufactured its first vehicle in 1998 — a 48-volt, twopassenger vehicle with a top speed of 20 mph. Soon thereafter, NHTSA designated the neighborhood electric vehicle as a new class of motor vehicle. All GEM vehicles come equipped with safety belts, headlamps, windshield wipers, and safety glass. GEM offers a choice of six models suiting passenger and utility needs. The GEM e6 six-passenger model is popular for shuttling in environments such as campuses, hospitals, and other large complexes. The two-passenger e2 starts at under $7,000. GEM also has a security vehicle option set for patrolling in planned communities, colleges, parking lots, and downtown areas. GEM’s newest model, the GEM eL XD, is a heavy-duty utility vehicle. “The eL XD has a half-ton payload capacity and is proving to be a great addition to a variety of fleets such as those found at military installations, state parks, work sites, and university grounds,” says Russ Kiefer, director of sales and marketing at GEM. Columbia ParCar
Columbia ParCar Corp. manufactures gasoline and electric-powered golf carts and utility, industrial, commercial, and passenger vehicles. Columbia’s Eagle line of passenger vehicles include neighborhood EVs available in two- or four-passenger configurations. The Eagle’s 48-volt system uses eight six-volt batteries instead of six eight-volt batteries like many of its competitors. Columbia says its customer response has shown that this is the best system for extended run time and better hill-climbing ability. Miles Automotive
For the past three years, Miles Automotive Group Ltd. has developed a series of low-speed all-electric vehicles, manufactured in China. The three low-speed cars are now being imported for sale in the U.S. for fleet and government use, and for sale to individual consumers through regional dealerships. Vehicles include:
British Columbia, Canada-based Dynasty began the design of the IT line of electric low-speed vehicles in the fall of 1999 and produced the first sedan model in April 2001. The models include a sedan, utility, and van, along with the Tropic, a “fourseat rag top,” and Sport, a four-door, four-seater. The following features are standard with the sedan: halogen headlamps, self-canceling turn signals, three-point anchored seat belts, automotive safety windshield, dual zone automotive brakes, side- and rear-view mirrors, windshield wiper with two speeds, and a heater/de-mister system. Prices start at around $11,000. Highway Ready and Available: Phoenix Motorcars
Phoenix Motorcars manufactures zero-emission, freeway-speed fleet vehicles. In August, the company began deliveries of its five-passenger Crew Cab pickup truck, similar in size and configuration to a Chevrolet Colorado or Dodge Dakota Crew Cab, allowing for payload in the back and multiple passengers. The vehicle, priced at $45,000, gets about 100 miles per charge and has a top speed of 95 mph. The company will release an SUV model in the first quarter of 2008. Scheduled customer deliveries include Pacific Gas and Electric in Northern California, the County of San Bernardino, Calif., Univ. of California Los Angeles, the city of Santa Monica, Calif., and the Port of Los Angeles. Phoenix Motorcars Vice President of Sales and Marketing Bryon Bliss says the long-lasting engine is one reason why the vehicle is worth the asking price. The vehicle uses a permanent magnet DC motor that has only 10 moving parts, Bliss says. “It’s brushless, meaning there’s no friction, allowing for a motor that’s going to last much longer and run much more efficiently than an internal-combustion engine,” says Bliss. Bliss claims the vehicle, including the battery, will last up to 400,000 miles. On the high end, this fall, Tesla Motors will start selling a $92,000 all-electric roadster that does 0 to 60 in about 4 seconds. The company is also said to be working on two other mass-market models.