MAR 21

644 HP, $.01 a Mile and WiFi in an Electric Car

Written by on March 21, 2007

While the marketing department could have worked harder on branding, the ZAP-X electric car has features that more than make up for the cheesy name. ZAP, a California electric car company, is expected deliver the ZAP-X with up to 644 horsepower and an all-wheel drive option using one electric motor per wheel. The ZAP-X will have a top speed of 155 miles per hour and a range of 350 miles. However, the real kicker is a 10 minute rapid recharge time with an expected cost of $3.50 for a full tank of electrons.

In addition to all this, they continue to market to EcoGeeks with an onboard computer to provide “Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, high definition video” and the usual ports for your iPod and other gadgets. Lastly, ZAP is using a special glass, which allows the windshield and other windows to provide a small amount of solar energy to the car.

So how do they do it? The ZAP-X is only slightly larger than a Prius and uses an award winning, Lotus designed all-aluminum chassis, making it very lightweight. Also, they are integrating batteries from Altairnano, who have proven their “nanotech-based batteries” in other electric vehicles.

The real key to producing such an amazing vehicle is getting people to pay for it. This is, likely, the first entirely practical electric vehicle, until you factor in the price: $60,000.

ZAP is shooting for a 2008 release, so us EcoGeeks will have some time to save up.

Via: Inside Green Tech and Ecofriend

Official Press Release


38 Responses to “644 HP, $.01 a Mile and WiFi in an Electric Car”

  1. Uncle B says:

    Two Seater Commuter Car
    Can they scale down this aluminum bodied wonder to a two seater, in tandem, commuter capsule to replace my bike in inclement weather and for longer distances at higher speeds than my legs can endure? I don’t need a “Cross-Country” life support ferry, just a fast, dry way to get to work and downtown at a price I can afford. Just because a gas car will go great distances without refill doesn’t mean that my handy-dandy commuter HAS to!

  2. James says:

    No ZAP-X — No surprise!
    What’s wrong with everyone here? This isn’t an actual car — it’s a picture of a car with a set of stats that are impossible to meet!

    This concept vehicle designed by Lotus would run at least $60K with a normal gasoline engine. Adding 70 kWh of lithium-ion batteries and extremely expensive in-wheel motors and all the assorted controllers and battery management systems put it WAY past $60K.

    Not a day goes by without a new tech breakthrough or the next great electric car. Most of these announcements are just that — they never materialize. I do believe the major car manufacturers will have plug-in hybrids and full electric cars in the next 2-5 years. We’ll be lucky to see a compact 4-seater with a 90 mph top speed and 100 mile range at mainstream prices.

    As for the rest, it’s an enormous and expensive challenge to develop a new vehicle with leading-edge technologies. I predict we will never see the ZAP-X and certainly not at the stated price.

  3. Sergio says:

    Make it cheaper
    This car sounds great!!!!!! Now all they have to do is make it slower and less powerful so that they can make the damn thing cheaper!!! They should also come out with a line of cars like this one and get rid of those crappy cars that look like toys that only go 40 mph or something. It’s funny how things work, before they needed to make them faster, more powerful and more autonomous now they need to do the exact opposite! Market them now before gas companies start to bust balls!!! This car means huge profit, a huge change in society and would possibly make a huge difference in global warming if it were marketed properly. don’t just sit their reading blogs Lexus do it!!!!

  4. VirtualGathis says:

    Range issues.
    The range listed is battery only. Until there are charging stations across the country you would need a tow along “range extender” trailer. These could be rented as needed or purchased if you use it allot. The trailer has a generator in it and would provide just enough power to cruise and the batteries would provide acceleration energy. There was a guy who in 1976 used this concept to make an Opel GT that got 76MPG so this vehicle could still get a respectable MPG. The math for my Corolla would make it 135mpg using this concept as it only takes 6hp to keep my Corolla at 70MPH once it is there. I have no idea what the HP needed to maintain 70MPH is on this vehicle so couldn’t come up with a good estimate for it.

  5. VirtualGathis says:

    Recharge time…
    If you use the 240Vac @ 60A (14.4KW) it’ll take 1-2 hours as the battery is a 35Kwh on this.

    The A123 systems site talks about using a second battery pack to recharge in 10 minutes to full charge. At 240V a ten minute charge would pull 875 amps so they use the second battery to trickle charge and then dump that to your vehicle.

    The charging fuel stations would have a shed full of these battery packs and trickle charge them at night during off peak hours.

  6. VirtualGathis says:

    $60K US isn’t as bad as it seems…
    I’ve been looking at this $60K US is allot up front however you need to take into account several facts.

    There is no complex gas engine to maintain. That Means no oil changes, no spark plugs, no oil and breather filters, ect…

    There is no complex drive train, that means no transmission maintenance, no failed transaxles, ect…

    There are no friction brakes. No more $200 brake r

    It does not use gasoline. The standard crossover gets about 20mpg. At todays $4/gallon that means $20K in fuel to drive 100K miles. The best I can calculate is that will be $2k in electricity for those same 100K miles.

    Finally a well made electric motor lasts a very long time, and the nanosafe batteries have a 5000 recharge cycle life so can last 20 years.

    So while this vehicle comes with a very high initial price it comes with a very low cost of ownership and it could easily outlast any ICE based vehicle. Also these are all very new technologies. As we have seen the early adoption price is higher as the mass production benefit has not come into play so the price would be noticeably lower in a couple of years.

  7. Lu Vencl says:

    Current Requirements @ 220 VAC?
    Anyone know what the current requirements are for a “10 minute charge” at 220 VAC?
    So if I have a 60 amp 220 recptical, I calculate 13.2 KW of power available to charge the battery.
    But at the claim of “10 minutes” is that in fact a full charge?
    Thanks for the reply.

  8. Adam L says:

    I don’t know why $60,000 is too high. This is nicer than a lot of BMW’s, but we don’t know much about the interior yet… but does everyone know just how much horsepower 644 HP is? That’s a lot. $60,000 doesn’t usually get you that much horsepower in the gasoline sportscar market.

  9. Bill Bylund says:

    Year 2008 is here. Where’s the ZAP-X electric car? any news on release dates?

  10. That’s great!! No more gas pumps !! :D

  11. bobbie says:

    Costco and SAMS/Wal-Mart
    Will have the chargers installed for this vehicle….so I’ve read.

  12. Rusted 1 says:

    Hopefully all the naysayers here are watching the altairnano test trials in Oslo, Norway going on right now. 5 person capacity SUV, 330Km per charge, ten minute recharge….440v three phase, not your typical home wires but available….Aerovironments in California will have the installations going.EV are back and whoever said it above…they aren’t going away this time. Oil at 88.00/barrell this morning…how much longer will we allow this erosion of our economy by other countries bent on our demise.

  13. Randy says:

    You can attain a 100% self reliant vehicle without ever stopping to recharge. You simply need a “recharger” that makes more energy than it uses. I know a person who has such devices and the government has refused him patents to his inventions. Dark political powers at work here, starting with the Reagan and Bush administrations which has pretty much snuffed this guy out. He is reappearing again, hopefully if he survives this Bush Administration, the world can find out how he turns 120 volts into 1,000 volts continuously. For a contract of “3 vehicles” I will be happy to put you in contact with this person. He does put up websites but eventually due to political persuasions, tend to closed.

  14. Randy says:

    I like this vehicle. Focusing on a car that has cross county capability is smart. Once this is accomplished, you’ll be able to corner the market. Even though the 10 recharge is awesome, one more break through in making the vehicle self reliant is the Key to your long term Success. To have continual performance without ever stopping to recharge should be your aim. Maybe a gyro charger that works off the earth’s gravity could be placed under the hood for additional charging, that would actually charge with no use of energy from the vehicle and it would work 24/7. Or maybe a batter reserve that can be used in a rapid charge “on the go”.

  15. Per Olav Gudbrand says:

    This is a great car. And the price isn’t really that bad. Here in Norway you actualy have to pay about $60000 for a new car in that class. This is mostly because of high taxes on new cars, but since this is an electric car this you pay $0 in taxes.

    By the way: I read that the 10 min chargingtime is based on a 400 Volt charger.

  16. David Kyriacou says:

    Stop lying beuchert!
    Tesla changed the distance per charge because of a change in a transmission not because they were lying about the distance. The weight of the vehicle changed so obviously the miles per charge changed just like an ICE changes it distance per tank when the weight of the vehicle changes.
    Newton in the UK has BEEN using ELECTRIC TRUCKS for a while now and Brits are used to them. They work.They are fully electric. Electric vehicles are not going away this time. To much momentum.
    Sorry Beuchert.

  17. kent beuchert says:

    ZAP-X makes misleading statements
    The ZAP corporation, which has gone into bankruptcy
    at least once, makes their share of misleading statements. One is their penny per mile cost claims.
    That would require 4.5-5 cent electricity, which doesn’t exist anywhere in this country save overnight rates in a few places. The average cost of electricity in this country is 8.5 cents, or almost twice what they claim, and California day rates are the highest in the nation, at around 15 cents, or almost three times what they claim. As for that ten minute charge – that would only be available at public charging stations – in California they would have to charge 20 to 25 cents per kWhr, or roughly 4 to six times the costs cited by ZAP. Any ZAP claims obviously must be taken with a grain of salt. They claim 350 miles, and $60,000 sticker. But the 350 mile range is only for their high end model, which costs a lot more than $60K.
    We all know that a Prius sized vehicle operating
    in electric mode would obtain roughly 5 miles per kWhr, requiring a70 kwhr capacity for 350 mile. We also know that Altair batteries weigh around 28 pounds per kWhr. This battery pack would weigh
    roughly 2000 pounds. Even in the unlikely event that
    the car sans battery pack would weigh 1500 pounds,
    that’s still a total weight of 3500, a rather portly Prius, and one that cannot obtain 5 miles per kWhr.
    It wouldn’t be too far different in weight than the Phoenix truck that uses Altairs and gets roughly 3.5 miles per kWhr. We’ve all heard these false claims before from these electric car makers – Tesla first claimed 250 miles range and (stupidly) specifically guaranteed that it could be acheived regardless of terrain, traffic, A/C usage, etc., a totally nonsensical claim. We know what happened to that claim – it was reduced by 20% by the
    Federal testers. Now Tesla is claiming “over 200 miles.” Tesla execs also made false claims about the cost of their battery pack and are guilty of misleading customers about future battery costs as well. I’ll believe a claim made by any of these mushroom companies only after an independent tester certifies them. I also note that they always want their customers to buy their products sight unseen, in advance, before the first vehicle has been produced.
    GM’s battery integration companies have both rejected the Altairs as too heavy and not powerful enough (requiring the extra electronics for this vehicle to obtain acceleration). This holds for the Gen II Altairs as well. Altair claims they can get the exorbitant costs down, and that alone is one reason that a car like the ZAP-x is a car “in the future.” They simply couldn’t build one today. Or
    tomorrow. Or the day after. ZAP can make all kinds of wild claims for a car that may or may not ever be built. Extreme skepticism is required for any ZAP claims. They have shown themselves to be capable of very unethical advertising with respect to the ZAP-x. Phoenix has seen the light and is planning a far more practical plug-in version. Even if Altair’s dreams come true and they manage to produce their batteries for $500 per kWhr, the 70 kWhr battery pack
    required for that 350 mile range would cost $35,000.
    (That’s not counting the costs of the capacitors, etc). That model is their $75,000 job, whose price is never mentioned, only its superior characteristics.
    Buyer beware when it comes to small electric car makers. The have proven to be unreliable in their claims and ALWAYS misleading.

  18. wilfred lines says:

    Another EV or ZAP underpinnings?
    Anybody investigated
    Their HiPa motors seems very similar to ZAP motors and they are using Kokamo batteries.

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  20. Enrique says:

    This is would be a great commute car. Even if you drive 60 miles one way to work, and 60 miles back, You would enough capacity to re-charged at home.
    Just imagined if your house was powered by solar energy, then the energy would be free.
    For example if a compact car does 30 miles per gallon and it takes 15 gallons to fill, at $2.50 per gallon for gasoline that would be $37.50 to fill the tank.
    30 miles per gallon times 15 gallons = 450 miles.

    If you drive 120 miles everyday to work back and forth that would be 120 miles per day times 5 days= 600 miles

    for 600 miles commute, you will paying $37.50 + $12.50= $50 per week. Let’s say you have 4 weeks vacations, then you will work 48 weeks
    $50.00 x 48 weeks = $2,400 in your pocket every single year.

  21. occ says:

    Batteries could be from Altair
    Phoenix only has 3 yrs exclusive use..from late 2006, so by 2010 Altair could sell to other EVs. Also, Altair/Pheonix is working on doubling range on their EV, and I’ll bet it’s not just by adding more of 1st gen batteries….could be reducing battery weight or volume. Targeting Altair battery would be the “current” way to go, since they have the best C/D specs yet!…But you’re right..if Altair had talked about supplying for ZAP-X, it would be news!

  22. kent beuchert says:

    Batteries not from Altair
    Phoenix has exclusive use of Altair batteries in an EV, so I don’t see how Altair batteries can be used – nor has Altair said they are supplying the batteries. Altair batteries are heavy – a 350 mile range would make the battery pack weigh over 2500 pounds. There are other batteries that can be recharged in 10 minute other than Altairs. Also, the specxs claim a CD of 9000, whereas Altairs have CDs far in exceess of this figure.

  23. free energy now says:

    746 watts per Horsepower outdated
    Your comments in compairing the car to cold fusion means that you’re assuming that technology can’t change the 746w/hp. Is it at all possible that the cars engines are more efficient then your calculations allow for. There are also ways of using capacitors to increase efficiency in heavy load conditions. Technology is changing my friend, and in a lot of situations the nubers just don’t add up. My friend has designed a heater which can run indefinitly after a couple of days of being pluged in. He heats his whole house with them, no they don’t use cold fusion, just an ingenious design. So just because you can’t figure out the math, doesn’t mean it’s immposible. Peace out

  24. Brett says:

    But they also pull the specs of 350 miles per charge under best conditions. No slope, light wind, no AC or heater, no lights… Driving naked kind of. So under normal conditions, you’re probably looking at about 225 to 250 miles per charge or less. Remember, this entire car is electric. An electric AC unit will pull a lot of power as well as the power steering, which under best conditions, will almost never be used.
    So although their specs are thrown from regular use, I do believe it is possible to obtain the 10 minute charge if a special charging station is used as Thomas described.
    I don’t know about everybody else, but my electric company (FPL) charges $0.132 per 1kWh
    1kWh = $0.132
    30mph = 0.746kWh

    350Mi @ 30mph = 11.67h
    350Mi = 8.705kW
    8.705kW * ($0.132*1kWh) = $1.14906

    This also assumes that you will only travel at 30mph and as Bruce also said, you don’t consider acceleration and that you’re traveling at a steady state. “Perfect conditions”.
    I don’t know about everybody else but a cost of $1.14 for a full charge, even if you only get 200mi out of it, is still a great price @ $0.0057 per mile.

  25. Thomas says:

    Bruce, the 10 minute charge would be done with a special charger with an eletricity resovoir to draw power from. But charging from and ordinary electrical outlet would indeed take about 6 hours. No big — one overnight charge would be good ewnough to last most people a week.

  26. Bruce says:

    Lotus Zap-X Is Like Cold Fusion
    The physics does not compute! The marketing hype is incredible (as in non-credible)

    Let’s see how much energy it takes to go 300 miles at 60 mph. It takes approximately 20 HP (11 HP to overcome air resistance and 9 to overcome rolling resistance of the tires on the pavement) to move the Lotus Zap-X down a freeway at 60 MPH. So here’s the power usage for a 300 mile trip:

    Time for trip: 5 Hr (60 mph x 5 hr = 300 miles)
    Total Horsepower: 20 x 5 = 100 HP-hours
    1 Horsepower = 0.746 KW
    Trip energy in KW = 100 HP-hr x 0.746 KW/HP = 74.6 KW-hr

    Average home electrical power:
    15 Amps/power socket (actually circuit breaker)
    120 Volts electrical voltage
    => Average power per home outlet = 1.8 KW

    Hours to replace 74.6 KW-hr energy for 300 mile trip @ 60 mph:

    74.6 KW-hr/1.8 KW = 41.44 hours = 1.73 days

    So, despite the implications in the Lotus Zap-X car marketing materials, you can’t expect a 10 minute recharge after a 300 mile trip because your home electric system cannot supply the amount of energy used for the trip faster than 1.73 days after you plug in the car.

    How much energy can you get after 10 minutes charging the Zap-X car and how far will that take you?

    10 minutes = 1/6 hour
    1/6 hr x 1.8 KW = 0.3 KW-hr

    74.6/300 = 0.25 KW/mile (assuming 20 HP @ 60 mph)

    => after a 10 minute charge the car would go 1.2 miles (0.3/0.25) at 60 mph.

    It takes about 1.2 HP to make the car go 30 mph

    1.2 HP * 0.746 KW/HP = 0.895 KW

    The 0.3 KW-hr charge will last (0.3 KW-hr / 0.895 KW) 0.335 h
    => At 30 mph the Zap-X will go 30 m/h * 0.335 h = 10 miles

    All these distances assume steady state and don’t take into account accelerating to the stated speed, which would take much more power. The horsepower estimates to go at the speeds mentioned apply to a Corvette. Even if the Lotus Zap-X uses 1/2 or even 1/4 as much horsepower to maintain the stated speeds, it still doesn’t make sense for traveling any distance from home because of recharge times.

  27. stephanie says:

    fabulous -cant wait to get one.

    sydney australia

  28. Caroll says:

    Gypsy Technician
    I want one as soon as my pocket book can afford it. The range does not concern me because as soon as the cars start appearing Restaurants will be putting out a parking meter type plug in and you can fill while you eat. I don’t drive more than about 250 mile without stopping for a break anyway. Bring on the electrics and say good by to the POS Suuu-Veee’s. ;D

  29. Daniel Lunsford says:

    Hank, in response to your statement, I think your point has merit… people want to have the “option” of driving all the way across the country. I think it will only take people a few years to grab ahold of this concept that 99% of our driving is to and from work, which is well under the 350 mile range cap. I think we’ll start to see people buying electric cars for themselves and then participating in groups where you “buy-in” to a hybrid-sharing program ($400 a year buys you a time-share with a hybrid car for when you need gas to get cross-country).

    I really think that when Americans are truely presented the case that you don’t have to own a gas guzzler to drive to the opposite ocean, they will realistically begin to look at electric transportation as the only logical vehicle.

  30. Richard says:

    ZAP Car
    8)This would be way to good to be true, it would be better if you designed the car to look like the cars from the 50’s, something with style.
    I would buy one tomorrow, if I had the money, but the price is going to keep me out of the market, and I don’t see many used ones coming available.

  31. Hank says:

    “just plug it in”
    Unfortunately, “just plugging it in” isn’t as easy as it sounds. The Zap-X will probably have the ability to be charged by a regular 220 volt plug. However, with a regular plug, charging would take at least an hour, probably several hours.

    Special outlets will be able to charge the car in under ten minutes, but Americans like to be able to take road trips, something that will be impossible for electric cars until there are electric filling stations across the country.

  32. tcx says:

    Range – why issues on filling up i would have thought you just plug it in if its electric ?
    £30k is alot of money but the spec is eignificantly better than anything else on the market i think people over here would pay it if a decent dealer and servicing network could be established – like … said partner up with one of the ig companies – problem solved :-)
    i look forward to seeing it on the roads

  33. Matt says:

    It gets the equivalent of 135 MPG, I think that’s where that number comes from.

  34. Phil says:

    This is great (except for the price, of course). I’ve been hoping someone would release a car with motors in the hubs: that saves a lot of room and weight (no transmission needed).

    But it would have to get down under $30K before I could even start to seriously think about purchasing one. Wouldn’t one of the big manufacturers be able to make it for less (economies of scale)? Why don’t they approach one of the US companies that doesn’t have much to show yet and enter into some sort of partnership? You could imagine Ford or Chrysler possibly being able to make something like this for about $30K.

  35. Hank says:

    Janis –
    I’m not sure where you got 135…the range of the Zap-X should be more like 350 miles, which is a great number. Of course, it will still be limited by the fact that a lot of places don’t have anywhere to fill up. However, it’s a step in the right direction, and it’ll work great in california, where infrastructure is already in place.

  36. Janis Mara says:

    135-mile range?
    It does sounds sporty, doesn’t it – sorta like the Datsun Z ;-) So when you say this little puppy will have a 135-mile range, you mean it can go 135 miles without a charge? That’s a big deal. Wasn’t it only able to go 40 miles without a charge before?

  37. rob says:

    Sounds good.
    This is the sort of electric car we need, get the price down to £10-15 thousand and everyone will buy them. But it all depends on whether these new batteries work as claimed, it sounds to good to be true, but fingers crossed.
    Incidentally, I like the name Zap-X, sounds sporty. ;D

  38. Greg Clark says:

    Sustainable Goals Network
    I’ve created Sustainable Goals Network a wiki site for people to commit and converse on specific actionable goals that help the environment. I’m looking for other like minded individuals that want to join in. I’ve just got a shell now, but I’m hoping for lots of help to get it going. If you’re interested that would be great. If you could just tell a couple others about the site, that would be great also.


    Greg Clark