The Zap Alias
Zap have been building and selling electric cars in the US since mid-2007, they have been producing vehicles in low numbers so you might not have heard of them but they are very much a David with the Goliath automakers hot on their heels. Zap decided, rather last minute, to enter the Alias into the Automotive X Prize and much to the surprise of their many nay-sayers, passed the qualification stage with minimal fuss. The Alias is licensed as an electric motorcycle, not a car, so it is officially a “trike” although that really doesn’t do it justice, much in the same way that calling a car a “quad” would be misleading.
The Alias’s lithium-ion battery system and electric motor is said to be capable of jetting the Alias to a top speed of 75+mph and a total combined range of 100 miles, although most manufacturers are notorious for fudging these numbers for about 20% boost over reality. The Zap Alias will be built in China, this instantly raises serious questions about build quality and safety, and will initially be for sale in mainland China before exports begin to both North America and Europe in early to mid 2011.
The initial sale price of the Alias will be $35,000 USD, that is before federal tax breaks and incentives, which puts it into play against the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Coda Sedan and Aptera 2e so it’ll be interesting to see how Zap differentiate themselves in order to stake out market share. What do you think? Would you buy an Alias over the other choices in the price range?
UPDATE: We have received word from Zap that they entered the Alias into the Automotive X Prize well ahead of schedule, this isn’t what we have heard from other sources but is worth mentioning. Zap have also said they expect the price to be below $35,000, closer to $30,000. They did request that we remove the sentence about the somewhat suspect build quality of Chinese goods, that’s not going to happen.