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ZAP Releases Drawings of ZAP-X Electric Crossover

The ZAP-X. Click to enlarge.

ZAP has published concept drawings of its proposed ZAP-X Crossover SUV on its website. Lotus Engineering is developing the ZAP-X for ZAP, and is basing it on the Lotus aluminum APX concept. (Earlier post.)

The compact-SUV design will feature all-wheel drive with in-hub electric motors delivering a combined 644 hp (480 kW) and a top speed of 155 mph. By combining a lightweight aluminum chassis, a new efficient drive system and advanced battery management system, the goal for the ZAP-X is to be able to achieve a 350-mile range, with a rapid 10-minute recharging time.

Click to enlarge.

The car reportedly will use a lithium-ion battery pack for primary energy storage, with supercapacitors to support acceleration. The ZAP-X will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.

The ZAP-X will also feature photovoltaic glass, and thermoelectrics for heating and cooling.



¿644 HP and solar cells on the roof?


I call vaporware. Either that or it will be significantly more expensive than the Tesla Roadster.


When is this set for production?


ZAP-X does it again! Great to have all that power but
most of the cars in and around the LA area need to just
crawl along in this never ending rolling parking lot. Ditto for most urban metro areas in most cities. Design something we
can actually use and afford in our daily lives. I can do without
beating the guy next to me in a race to the next red light. I
bet the car insurance companies are just waiting to calculate
the annual premium for this rocket. I think some different wheel/motor/battery options would add to the broad appeal of
this 644HP Racer X. Say 322HP?


Looks like my kids' Christmas list. Now that we have the ideal list of everything you might want they can start to compromise towards something that someone short of a millionaire could buy.


The battery listed has a 9,000 cycle life and a fast charge. Could this be anything other than an Altair battery? Toshiba maybe?


Where would you plug in to charge it in 10 minutes?

Tesla says their battery pack is about 50kWh. ZAP claims 40% more range with a less aerodynamic package. Also, if they need 644hp to make 60 in 4.8 seconds, it probably weighs over 4000 lbs, which results in a huge loss in efficiency compared to the Tesla. All told, I'm going to assume their battery pack will be at least 100kWh.

This means that to charge in 10 minutes, they would need 600kW (assuming 100% charge efficiency). 600kW is a fairly respectable output for a small power plant, and at 240V implies 2500A, a level similar to small lightning strikes. I can't even imagine the safety issues a vehicle and charger like this would run into.


As I said, looks like my kids' Christmas list (only marginally more expensive)


Like it or not, THIS is the kind of vehicle that will stir public interest in pure EVs. It's powerful, it's fast, it's attractively styled, and it has a long range. Might have a winner, here.


I agree with Peter. The specs sound good on paper but the whole thing is technically improbable. Nano solar cells? Why not stick some more prefixes on and make it sound even sexier! I think somebody's trying to generate hype hoping for some investor money.

Michael McMillan

Smells like vaporware. Look at the company's history.


well, nice to see someone spending some real time and money (Lotus doesn't do preliminary design work like this for free I bet) to do some progressive thinking.
But having spent some time and money evaluating the technologies and markets myself, I think they are a bit off the market. (too many gizmos, too much power, too expensive, etc etc).

But good for them for trying. Shame some of the larger Auto companies out there don't take BEV's seriously. But since auto dealers make 75% of thier profit from services, its hard to pay/insent your dealer channel when BEV's require less than 1/6th the maintenance of ICEs and Hybrids. Even Toyota wants to stretch the status quo for as long as they possibly can. They won't change until the Tesla's and the ZAP's of the world force them too.

so good luck Zap, just try to be more realistic and you might actually have something you can sell a few thousand units a year of.


Pop Sci magazine has an interview with the CEO of ZAP in the April issue of 07.

Says the Zap-X should be on the market in as soon as a year, and will be around $60,000 ... not a bad price in the luxury suv market.

The reason it needs 644hp electric motors is that it has no gearing, the motors are in-wheel, so you get no torque multiplication of a transmission... large electric motors don't decrease efficiency, ZAP claims the same $0.01/mile ($3.50) charge cost as Tesla based on average US KwH costs.

If they can bring this to market for $60k it'll sell every single one they can make, no question about it.


that charger will need a big flywheel to store energy or some Supercaps to charge that Mother in 10 Minutes.


Those specs sound almost exactly like the Mini QED from PML Flightlink. Right down to the 160bhp wheelmotors and the ultra-cap bank for acceleration.

PML Flightlink said they had interest from a lot of car companies when they showed their Mini in Japan last Fall. I hoped somebody more 'real' than Zap would license the system they built for the Mini QED.

If the Zap-X is using the entire package PML designed, then it includes a lot of nifty features -- such as no brakes. The ultra-cap bank can absorb so much power so quickly that the vehicle can stop on a dime while recovering energy rather than losing it to friction brakes. I've never heard of any other BEV or hybrid that completely eliminated the need for friction brakes. And the computer-controlled all-wheel drive means the ultimate in traction without any losses from a limted-slip differential.

I hope Zap really can build and sell it for $60K.


Should have mentioned the Mini QED is a series hybrid rather than a BEV.

80mpg running from the 20kw 250cc genset. At the current price of LiIon batteries per kwh, I think the genset would easily cut $10K from the cost of the Zap-X.


Sounds great...but how are they getting around all the unsprung weight that comes with in-wheel motors? I only have a basic understanding of the problem, but it seems that having all that weight (motors are heavy) below the shocks and close to the road means this car will be very hard to turn and have major problems on any sort of bump.

Mitsubishi had a line on the in-wheel motor car for awhile, until they back-burnered it in favor of a simpler single-motor design:

If Zap-X figured a way around it, I'll be first in line. But it seems like they've got to dodge this particular bullet before they start putting cars in showrooms.


EV's like fuel cell cars are and will be to costly;

most car buyers don't pay more then 15.000 for their car ... so paying 15000 for a battery pack is ridiculous
and these 15.000 are in a way too optimistic

maybe 25.000 are more realistic;

and then don't forget that you will pay 0,20cent/kwh;

the only real option to survive 120$/barrel is a lightweight car with 120mpg;
or a serial hybrid with a small battery and a efficient generator;



It looks like the wheelmotors, electronics, etc. are the ones built by PML Flightlink for the Mini QED. These are VERY lightweight. The total weight for each wheel is only 23kgs, I think. The wheel, including motors and control electronics are only a few kgs heavier than the stock Mini's wheels which are 20kgs.

You must realize that on a regular car, the weight of the axles (halfshafts, cv joints) and brakes add up to a lot of unsprung weight. Wheelmotors eliminate all of these sources of weight. Braking is done completely regeneratively, with NO regualr disk brakes at all.

Harvey D.


A Chinese battery manufacturer will produce 3000, 50 KWh Lithium quick charge battery packs at $3333 each for Beijing City garbage trucks.

Honda produces very good light weight 12 KW ICE power generators at less than $2K each.

Install those elements (or equivalent) in a mid-size Korean or Chinese car body, together with one or two electric motors + control system, and you may have a decent PHEV under $20K or well under $20K if produced in China.



RE: "The battery listed has a 9,000 cycle life and a fast charge. Could this be anything other than an Altair battery? Toshiba maybe?"

I have an feeling that it just might be ALTI. In a recent interview with ALTI's CEO Allan Gotcher... he stated that ALTI has been in talks with ZAP for over a year now. However, he can't confirm or deny that the battery being utilized in the ZAP-X is a battery of ALTI's design. Can't find the link at the moment but I know it's out there. The exclusivity agreement ALTI has with Phoenix will end in 2.5 years so the timing might be right.

Harvey D pointed out that ABAT is producing 3000 PLI batteries for the garbage trucks being used in the 2008 Olympics in Bejing. I doubt these batteries will be their Nanometer at a cost of $3,333 a pop. ABAT also has an agreement with ZAP for R&D use of their PLI batteries. The article doesn't state if it's the regular PLI or the Nanometer PLI batteries. If you recall, ABAT is utilizing the NLTO from ALTI for nano li-ion batteries

So if ZAP is planning to use a nano li-ion battery... ALTI might just have their hands in that play. But this is pure speculation.




Why do you assume this is a less aerodynamic package? The Tesla roadster has an open cockpit while this is enclosed. The frontal surface area may be larger but I bet the Cd is much better. Especially if Tesla tried to maintain the same "type" of aerodynamics as the Lotus Elise (where the aerodynamics induce some drag as they are designed to provide downforce at speed for traction).

Sid Hoffman

As always, until a company can mass produce a car (see: Toyota Prius, Civic Hybrid) it's still just a fantasy. I wish them luck, but until they're selling 1000 units a month, they are nothing but a company of press releases and drawings.


I just designed an EV car that has 999hp, a range of 600miles and a recharge time of 1 minute and can carry 8 passengers. A yeh, I forgot; it also looks great and is just for under 20k...; it's still on paper, but hey - it creates a lot of buzz, right ?!

Let them first get the other designs on the road in acceptable quantities and then go for the next round, otherwise it remains just like the first post said; vaporware.


No way this car makes any sense! Why do you need all this performance except on a race track? This is nothing more than PR to help brand ZAP cars.

As much as I love cars, if the truth be told, the one driver American car is fast becoming impractical and unsustainable because of many factors: The price of fuel, the over burdened infrastructure (roads), the high cost of insurance, the high cost of the new car, global warming, the large health costs associated with smog, and finally the large increase in the US people population. The future points more toward the Japanese mass transit model as the answer to moving large amounts of people in overpopulated cities. Not buying and supporting a new car is like getting a great new raise in pay.

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