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ZAP CEO: Electric Version of the Smart Car Possible

Initial test results from the ZAP-Advanced Battery Technology (ABAT) partnership (earlier post) confirmed significant increases in range for ZAP’s electric vehicles using ABAT’s lithium-ion polymer batteries.

The results encouraged Steve Schneider, CEO of ZAP, to speculate about the possibility of an electric version of the Smart Car. (ZAP sells an imported and Americanized version of DaimlerChrysler’s gasoline-powered smart.)

These excellent results underscore our initial research suggesting that the next-generation solutions developed by Advanced Battery Technologies would result in significant improvements in range of ZAP’s electric vehicles.

We believe many of their products will assist us as we continue to expand our electric transportation product line at all levels, from personal to public transportation, including the possibility of producing an electric version of the Smart Car.

—Steve Schneider, ZAP CEO

Under the terms of the strategic partnership agreement, ZAP provided Advanced Battery Technologies (ABAT) with several electric vehicles, including a ZAP low speed vehicle (LSV) for retrofitting with ABAT lithium-ion polymer batteries. Performance test results of the retrofitted vehicle indicate that the LSV range increased from 40 km (25 miles) to 150 km (90 miles)—an increase of 3.75 times.

ZAP’s current line-up of EVs use sealed lead-acid batteries. The companies had calculated that the threefold increase in energy density of the lithium polymer batteries compared to the lead-acid cells could enable a similar threefold increase in transportation range for comparable-weight batteries.

ABAT also recently announced he successful initial testing of new nanomaterial electrodes that could reduce recharge times by up to one-sixth. (Earlier post.)

In other ZAP news, the company recently appointed an auto industry executive to head the manufacturing and distribution of the Americanized Smart Car, and to relieve the related bottlenecks that are emerging in the wake of strong demand for the car.



Has anyone purchased a Smart Car from Zap or are you planning to? I have always loved these cars on my trips to Europe. I am thinking of purchasing one and wanted to get some opinions? I am going to use it to run around Northern California and do errands, beach runs, etc.

Jim Stack

I haven't purchased one yet but a tech class I took last week had an instructor grom Germany who has owned the diesel version for over 3 years and loves it. All his neighbor who have Mercedes and BWM's are always wanting to borrow it. With fuel at 4-5 dollars a gal equivenant he is very popular.


Don't give any money to ZAP, before the product is in you hands,...and working!


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The car is designed by Swatch and made by the Chrylser/Mercedes. I reserved one from the smartcar official web site last year. Six months later, they told me that I have to wait for another 16 months to get my smartcar. Chrylser/Mercedes do not know how to set up a plant and team to make cars. If you still want a smartcar, reserve one now and buy a used car for 3 years, maybe 5 years, then you will get one. Or buy a brand new mini copper.

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