September 25, 2006 Automotive pioneer ZAP will later today roll out a new, all-electric vehicle designed to address the need for gas-free alternatives with multi-purpose city driving, from industrial fleets to commuting. Called the XEBRA PK, the three-wheeled ZAP seats two with a multi-purpose platform behind the passenger compartment that serves as a hauler, dump truck or flatbed. Selling for less than US$10,000, the XEBRA PK will debut before California regulators participating in the 2006 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Technology Symposium in Sacramento, September 25-27. ZAP Chairman Starr cited a study that showed more than a third of new car buyers in California would buy an electric vehicle if that vehicle were priced close to a gasoline vehicle and offered similar functionality. The 2000 Green Car Institute study titled "The Current and Future Market for Electric Vehicles" used the same research methodologies employed by the auto industry to identify markets for gas vehicles.
Officials with the Company say they had test-marketed a single passenger version, but feedback told them a two-passenger version would be more versatile.
"This vehicle is the result of more than 30 years of research in the EV field," said ZAP’s Gary Starr, a founder of. "Based on what we are hearing from consumers and ZAP dealers, we believe the potential for the XEBRA PK would be bigger than for the sedan version. It serves a multitude of functions and we feel it is truly unique in the marketplace, a market previously untapped in the auto industry."
"Green Car Institute's study put to rest the contention that there is no market for electric vehicles," said Green Car Institute President Ron Cogan. "The challenge is that the new car market is price and feature sensitive, and that created a disconnect with most EV models marketed in the recent past. They were very expensive to manufacture -- mostly because of their battery packs and small build numbers -- and almost all were available for lease only. Survey respondents wanted affordable EVs they could buy... they just didn't exist. Six years after the study, gas prices are even more of an issue for consumers and this potential EV market remains."
That market is presenting itself with the introduction of the XEBRA and the XEBRA PK. ZAP dealer Larry Dye of Electric Wheels in Salem, Oregon said, "I've already sold over 25 of the XEBRAs, but I've sold four XEBRA PKs sight-unseen. It has many more uses: it's a great commute vehicle; it's also a hauler; a dump truck; it folds down to be a flatbed; it can be a ranch or farm vehicle; or an economical fleet vehicle. I've got several businesses that can't wait to go for their first test drive. We'll have a whole herd of XEBRAs and PKs running around Salem before you know it."
Starr noted that ZAP has talked to many cities that are interested in replacing their gas powered parking enforcement vehicles. Several businesses have inquired about inter-campus transportation and even bridge districts have requested vehicles like it.
ZAP will be showing the XP at this year's San Francisco International Auto Show at the Moscone Center starting Saturday, November 18th.