ZAP (whose name stands for Zero Air Pollution) has made a couple recent announcements of interest: Cash for Clunkers is available for the ZAP Xebra, and they have secured new financing for up to $25 million. ZAP has over 15 years experience with selling electric vehicles, beginning in electric bicycles and scooters and now selling a range of three- and four- wheeled electric vehicles.
ZAP’s Cash for Clunkers program is not part of the official government Cash for Clunkers program. As noted earlier that program only supports replacing a liquid fuel burning car with another liquid fuel burning car, and does not support purchase of alternates like electric vehicles. ZAP on their own is offering a trade-in allowance of up to $3,300 towards purchase of a ZAP Xebra Sedan at the Voltage Vehicles dealership in Santa Rosa. ZAP claims their Xebra gets 150 miles per gallon (equivalent). Allowing vehicles like the Xebra under Cash for Clunkers would clearly increase the “green” attributes of this program. On the other hand neither ZAP or any of the existing electric car makers (other than Tesla Motors) sell a vehicle that comes close to directly replacing the driving range and other utility of existing gasoline based car. The Xebra for example is very limited compared to typical gas cars meaning that Xebra purchasers have to go into it with eyes wide open over what they’re getting and how to make best use of the vehicle.
The stated purpose of the New Financing is perhaps apropos to this issue. ZAP says they will “will use a portion of the funding to pursue longer-term contract production and assembly commitments, and to accelerate deliveries of trucks and vans to fill current fleet and government orders… also will enable ZAP to expand its vehicle distribution network into the European Union … ZAP intends to pursue automotive opportunities in China” ZAP’s range currently includes and electric ATV, two scooters, two three wheeler car-like vehicles, and two NEV class four-wheelers. Additionally the ZAP Alias is a long-promised high performance sporty looking three wheel car-like vehicle. These are all interesting vehicles that, while not feasible for mass market adoption, have bright potential in specific market niches. Hinted in this press release is the possiblity of expanding out of their market niches into vehicles with broader appeal. For example the Xebra is well regarded by current owners, and would have broader appeal with more range and speed than it currently delivers.
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