The ZAP Alias Electric Car

Nothing happens unless first a dream – Carl Sandberg

ZAP Alias Electric Car in the X PRIZE / Consumer Reports Skidpad Test

with 2 comments

We have hours of footage from the X PRIZE, but this is one of my personal favorites I’ve been saving for a cold winter day. This is the Skidpad test on which Consumer Reports tests all new cars.

According to Wikipedia, a skidpad or skidpan is a large, circular area of flat pavement used for various tests of a car’s handling. The most common skidpad use is testing lateral acceleration, measured in g.

The test is carried out on a circular track with a calculated radius. A car driving on said track is slowly accelerated until the outermost tires on the car begin to slip. Going any faster would cause the car to drive outside the 300 ft radius. At this point, the speed of the car is recorded, and given the centripetal acceleration formula, v²/r, a car’s handling in terms of lateral gs can be derived.

To pass the test, the Alias had to surpass 40 MPH to achieve a lateral acceleration of .7 g without losing control. As you can see, this was a piece of cake for the Alias and X PRIZE posted a result of .85 g, not bad considering Al Unser Jr. was just getting started when they called him in. None of the X PRIZE cars in the Knockout Stage had a problem with this test and it was dropped for the finals.

Thankz to ZAP Alias Team Member Prashanth Radhakrishnan for capturing this raw video, which was posted originally on Facebook in June.

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2 Responses

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  1. Very impresive. I knew that by design, the Alias would be very stable, but this video proves that the three wheel design is safe and practical. The Alias shown in this test appeared to have a narrower rear tire than the auto show promo photos. Will production models have a wide rear tire or would this be an option? I live in the Portland oregon aeria and there are icy road conditions and often snow in winter and lots of rain in spring. The wider rear tire would provide more traction in these conditions. I want to buy an Alias when they are available, and I think that the Alias faired better in the lateral acceleration test than the Tesla roadster.

    michael hines

    January 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

  2. I would design the next model with a central steering position and two rear seats very close to the front seat, but turned at an angle outward for completely stretched-out legroom. Many advantages. Think it through yourselves. One advantage: the rear seats can recline if the passengers want to sleep on a long trip.

    Pierre Rousseau

    January 26, 2011 at 7:51 pm


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