Zap Electric Car and Zenn Electric Car Models

February 10, 2012

Zap electric cars have been in production for several years now. With a name an acronym for Zero Air Pollution, Zap Motors only manufactures electric vehicles. Zap manufactures scooters, cars and even trucks.

Ignoring the scooters, Zap currently lists four models: the Zap Alias, the Zap Truck XL, the Xebra Sedan and the Xebra Truck. Of those four vehicles only the Zap Truck XL has four wheels. The rest are all three wheelers.

Zap Alias
The Zap Alias is the newest car in their fleet. It was designed in a joint effort between European and American automakers and is their first highway capable car. A three wheeler, like their other cars, the Zap Alias looks like a cross between a European sports car and a space ship. It has gull wing doors that open up rather than out. It does 0 to 60 in 7.8 seconds and can travel over a hundred miles on a single charge. It is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 75 miles per hour. Technically, the Alias falls under the category of motorcycle for most traffic registration laws. The list price of the Alias is $35,000.

Zap Truck XL
The Zap Truck XL is considered a "NEV" or "Neighborhood Electric Vehicle." That's because the top speed is just 25 miles per hour and the maximum range before recharge is thirty miles. Still, the truck can carry two passengers and up to 1600 pounds of cargo and lists for just $15,000. For short range needs it's a good option.

Zap Xebra
The Zap Xebra is available as a sedan or a truck. It's also classified as an NEV because its maximum range on a single charge is 25 miles and it will only travel a maximum of 40 miles per hour. This vehicle is also classified as a 3 wheel motorcycle. It doesn't have the space age look of the Zap Alias. Instead the Zap Xebra looks more like a traditional car with some additional European elements to its styling. It can carry a driver and three passengers and has a storage compartment for hauling groceries or other cargo. The doors on this vehicle open in a traditional car manner—outward instead of upward. One option equips the vehicle with a solar panel that can trickle charge the vehicle while it's parked. The Zap Xebra has a manufacturer suggested retail price of just under $12,000 and is available throughout the United States.

The Xebra Truck is classified as a motorcycle. It has a top speed of 40 miles per hour and the same mileage limitation as the sedan (twenty five miles). It can carry two people and up to 500 pounds of cargo. Its list price is similar to the Xebra Sedan at just $12,500. The Xebra Truck is also capable of being equipped with the solar panel, thereby cutting the time needed to recharge the battery.

Zenn Electric Cars: An Overview

The Zenn Motor Company began by transforming a number Renault's to run on electricity instead of gasoline. They first released a car, the Dauphine Electric, in 2000 and sold 15 of the vehicles in their first thirty test drives. So, they are definitely no newcomers to the field.

The name Zenn is an acronym that means Zero Emission, No Noise. Their current model, the Zenn Electric car, has a top speed of 25 miles per hour and a maximum range of about 40 miles on a single charge. That makes it an NEV and not designed for long trips or highway driving. It is perfect for those with short commutes on local streets. This three wheeled vehicle can be purchased fully equipped for somewhere between $18,000 and $26,000.

As with all electric vehicles, the "guts" of the Zenn are much simpler than a gasoline powered vehicle. For that reason it will likely require less maintenance and repair, but the vehicle's battery is said to need replacement every three to five years.The vehicle can be modified by changing out a computer chip to go up to 40 miles per hour.

One complaint that's been made is that you need to more vigilant about pedestrians because they can't hear the car. Reviewers also report that the car is roomy, but it isn't the most fun vehicle to drive. On well maintained roads it's reported to be good, but if there are a lot of pot holes the ride can be pretty rough.

One thing that Zenn has going for it is history. So many electric cars out there are still in their infancy. That means they might not have a proper sales or service team in place yet. There could still be bugs to work out. The Zenn electric car is a legacy vehicle and there's a certain amount of reliability and confidence that only that type of history can bring.

While the NEV concept is not a good fit for everyone's driving needs, for those who live and work in one general area, it is a viable option.