March 7,2007 After a positive response for its Xebra Xero, electric car pioneer ZAP has designed a solar option for the three-wheeled electric workhorse - a photovoltaic panel that ZAP says can offer short-distance driving on sunlight alone. ZAP intends to showcase the new Xebra Xero (pronounced zebra zero) Truck at up-coming industry events for automotive fleets. The Xebra truck is a city car, available as a 4-door sedan or 2-passenger truck, good for city driving up to 40 mph and will cost about US$12,000 with the Xero Solar Panel Option. The car recharges normally by plugging into a standard 110 volt outlet for a full charge in up to six hours and a 50 percent charge in 1.5 hours. The ZAP Truck converts into a flatbed or dump-bed that can tilt to allow maximum exposure to the sun.
“If the Xebra Xero is exposed to sunlight during the day, and your commute is short, you can get pure solar powered driving,” says ZAP Chairman Gary Starr. “If you want to ensure 100 percent solar generated commuting, you can purchase a larger system that can sit on your rooftop.
Starr believes the Xebra is the first production electric vehicle that incorporates solar power and adds that the main reasons people are choosing alternative fuel transportation are the growing relevance of the environment and the feeling of energy independence. There are also other advantages of using solar panels with your electric car. Studies have shown that solar power charging systems can double the life of batteries. Panels consume no fuel and have no moving parts to wear out. The only maintenance is to occasionally wash the panel to ensure it is working at peak efficiency.