January 14, 2005 UPDATED IMAGE LIBRARY Pioneering automotive company ZAP may well be embroiled in a legal battle with Daimler Chrysler’s smart, but it has not slowed the expansion of its fleet of intriguing and economical cars. Amongst the cars which had their first public showing at the recent San Francisco International Auto Show were the WORLDCAR, Obvio! and XEBRA. The three-seater (side-by-side) Brazilian-made Obvio 012 and Obvio 828(main image) look to be the pick of the litter, powered by a Tritec 1.6 litre four cylinder motor (as used in the MINI) using flexible fuel technology that enables the engines to run on gasoline and alcohol or any combination plus an additional electric drive – effectively making it the world’s first “trybrid” automobile that can switch between three energy sources. Both cars bristle with the latest thinking, such as a survival cell, (a la smart), McPherson struts all round, four big disk brakes, an immobile carputer and a CVT (Constantly variable transmission). The engines are available in 115 bhp standard output, with tuned versions available all the way up to a brutal 250 bhp. Mainly constructed of composite materials to enable the lightest possible result (750 kg – the MINI weighs 1150 kg), the 012 looks to have all the ingredients for a top seller, looking great, offering startling performance and ecological cred at a time when we are seeing the "greening" of the American market.