Volvo Invests in Black Liquor Gasification Company
JAXA Targets 2008 Launch for Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite

ZAP and Lotus to Use APX Concept as Basis for High-Performance In-Wheel Motor Electric ZAP-X

The Lotus APX will serve as the basis for the new electric ZAP-X.

ZAP and Lotus Engineering are beginning the first phase of an engineering project to use the British consultancy’s APX ("Aluminum Performance Crossover") as a basis for designing a production-ready electric all-wheel drive crossover high performance vehicle for ZAP—the ZAP-X—in the US market.

A combination of the lightweight aluminum vehicle architecture, a new efficient drive and advanced battery management systems is intended to enable a range of up to 350 miles between charges, with a rapid 10-minute recharging time. An auxiliary power unit is planned to support longer distance journeys.

The APX’s supercharged gasoline 3.0-liter V6 engine will be replaced by in-hub electric motors, delivering 644 horsepower in all-wheel drive mode, theoretically capable of powering the ZAP-X to a potential top speed of 155 mph. A new strong, lightweight and highly efficient structure based on the Lotus technology is planned to give the car a very attractive power-to-weight ratio.

The APX showcases Lotus Engineering’s Versatile Vehicle Architecture technology, combining lightweight aluminum vehicle architecture with exceptionally strong and stiff structural rigidity, as well as lower manufacturing investment requirements.

According to Lotus, the key to the VVA architecture is the high-pressure die cast corner nodes that are combined with bonding, mechanical fasteners, extruded and pressed aluminium. Having first been shown to the world at the Geneva motor show in 2006, the APX concept has won the 2006 European Aluminium Awards in the “Transport and Automotive” category.

The use of in-wheel motors leaves the space previously occupied by the conventional engine and drive train for additional battery capacity and amenities.

The development program is proposed to be managed from a new center of excellence for research and development of environmentally-friendly vehicle designs and technologies. Engineering input will come from Lotus Engineering Inc, and the British technology consultancy’s other R&D centers in the UK, Malaysia and China.

Lotus Engineering’s APX is a world-class innovative concept and was developed to showcase real solutions to new challenges facing the automotive industry. So it’s very satisfying that ZAP’s proposed new model will make use of a great deal of the APX concept’s advanced body structure and chassis technology. The bringing together of these next-generation vehicle technologies represents another significant step forward for automotive technology.

—Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc

Earlier in January, ZAP had announced the selection of Lotus Engineering to undertake engineering concept studies for a number of electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) ZAP will display the current Lotus APX concept car at the North American Dealers Association (NADA) annual meeting and exhibition, 3-6 February 2007.




fyi CO2

And will this vehicle be more affordable than the Tesla roadster?

Harvey D.

This should please green muscle car fans (with enough cash). A worthy complement to Telsa's e-sport car.

If this special application can advance e-vehicle development it is positive. Others will find a way to make lower cost copies.

Brian Lenk

Looks like similar specs to the PML Mini... One comment there was that the car would only really need 2 hub motors - and once motors were mass-produced prices would come down...


It would be nice if ZAP could put out just one practical, affordable car that could actually be sold to real people who are interested in basic transportation. Instead, their offerings range from the totally weird to the completely unaffordable or unavailable.

Nothing here on price or kwh required to move the car, of course. Why am I not surprised.


If they do without the carbon fiber body work of the Tesla they should easily be able to shave off atleast $10K versus the price of the Tesla.

I have never heard any price figures for the "APX" chassis versus the Elise chassis though.

Mark A

Very promising, but it has to be affordable to take off. Maybe Mitsubishi will now step up their in-wheel "MIEV" concept, and beat ZAP to the punch. Nothing but positives here. Maybe the next battery fuel cell breakthrough is just around the corner to make these ideas even more feasible.

BEV is the way to go.


I would buy one tomorrow , but I guess we will have to wait a few years .
Funny with all this activity from Lotus in the UK, still there is no media coverage of any kind , I guess " electric car " is just what the government do not want to hear !


Is this a four seat hatch back?


Brian: There is a reason they make it a pricey sports car instead of an affordable people mover. It's too expensive to make right now, so if they made it into a boring, Prius-looking thing, it would probably still be $50K+. By making it a sports car (and with the Lotus prestige) you can now charge a lot more money for this - and people who have the money will find it more appealing.



That is "normal" because UK has some oil and it's budget is highly dependable on oil business - like in the USA.


Just think!

The "transmission' for this car is four copper wires.


more like eight I think , even so remarkable !




Looks like things are finally shaking up. Let's cross our fingers that sooner than later we'll have these mass marketed.


This is surely encouraging, but considering this is "beginning the first phase of an engineering project ... for designing a production-ready" vehicle one does wonder if a production target is in the foreseeable future.


Sign me up!

As a side note, I would be curious to see how this affects GM's decision as to whether or not they want to buy a large stake in Proton/Lotus. If they did, they could potentially block the potentially disruptive ZAP developments.


This technological development should revelutionise the autosector in future

The Swede

Well, is this concept car possible to drive or are they approaching the future like GM with Volt? If not, who is supplying the batteries? What will be the price?
If this is possible to build with a price tag below $50K it surely is a winner.
But always concept - as long as Tesla and Phoenixmotors are the only corp who actually builds interesting BEV I am yawning at concepts like this.

The Swede

Fred Sands - do you have any inside information on this?


It isn't even a concept car yet. It's just an idea that they now will start working on. It will be several years if ever before we see a prototype driving around, let alone actual production.

Fred Sands PhD

Hello Swede,

I don't have an insight about this, but I can tell you that the EV company I know about is miles ahead of these fellows and I'm assuming that within a year or max two we should be able to purchase their BEVs at a very reasonable price. Unlike Tesla, Phoenix and ZAP this new EV company main goal is to reach the middle market segment with some models geared towards the high end/sport cars market. So far for what I have been able to grasp I think they will take a huge portion of EV market from the get-go here in N.A. and in other countries as well simply because they are not based in the US so they can thrive on less controlled markets [no Detroit presence/no Lobbying groups] and get themselves financially very strong.

I applaude their strategic plan and their vision.
For a start-up EV company the US is not strictly necessary to obtain a certain level of success.
So, perhaps Tesla and Co. should look elswehere for a much faster and easier market penetration...but what do I know? I'm just a scientist...

FS ;o)

Sir Scrumption PhD MBA


You're not fooling anybody. Any company large enough to deliver hundreds of thousand of BEVs in the middle market at competitive prices within two years of now would be on the radar. That sort of activity requires infrastructure, relationships with several suppliers, and thousands of employees.

I don't know what you get out of posting your craziness here, but I wish you wouldn't unless you want to offer some proof of your claims.


Mr. Scrumption,

First of all thank you for calling me crazy!

I never said that the company is going to sell hundred of thousands of units...and also I am not part/employee of such EV company but merely a friend of a top mechanical engineer at the EV co.

For what you know they could be out in the sun, but launching their EV under a branded name which is not yet know...people like yourself are the cause why there's still so much doubt about EVs...

Perhaps I am crazy, but I rather be crazy than a negative/uninspired/zero-vision person like you!



In Wheel-Motors BAD Idea.

The comments to this entry are closed.