Evolution of the Alias – Slide Show
In 2006 ZAP set out to continue its pioneering work in consumer electric vehicles with the goal of a vehicle capable of freeway speeds and 100 miles range per charge. Watch a slide show showing the progression of the Alias until now. ZAP’s strategy was to use lithium batteries, lightweight materials, and a three-wheeled configuration that looks like something from the future.
ZAP believed such an innovative approach would appeal to a growing market while minimizing initial production costs. The company commissioned world-class design engineers to create the initial drawings. The three-wheeled design instantly sparked ZAP’s imagination to explore advanced construction techniques, composite carbon fiber materials, steel safety cage, and interchangeable lithium battery packs accessible via lift. All this and more, but in a package that would appeal to automotive enthusiasts.
Many designs were considered and ZAP sought a great number of outside opinions before focusing in on what it is today. For example, the idea shown here with an enclosed rear wheel would have offered a better coefficient of drag, but ZAP felt an open rear wheel would be lighter and more visually appealing.
On June 16, 2008 ZAP revealed the first styling prototype closely following the original computer models. It used a two-tone pigment for the paint-scheme developed by a company in its hometown of Santa Rosa, California. A second prototype was developed that had a more rigid body structure and slight variations in the design. With a stunning luminous silver paint job, this prototype included an initial design of the interior.
In January 2009, ZAP built the first drivable prototype, a version in red that debuted at the North Automobile Dealers Association annual expo in New Orleans. The design included lambo-style doors. ZAP expects to greatly increase this distance when it tests a lithium battery pack at the shakedown stage of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize, May 2-8.
A second drivable prototype was built in late 2009 and given a red and black color-scheme for an appearance at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. The most recent iteration includes no front ground-effect spoilers; the passenger compartment is wider to increase accessibility and comfort, seen where the body meet the front fender; a larger rear tire with a double rear swing-arm was adopted for a more aggressive stance.
Let us know what you think of the design. While the way it looks is important to ZAP, it’s what’s inside that counts and ZAP has been working to perfect the batteries, motor, controller, charger and other features and details to make the Alias even better. Look for more changes as it prepares to enter the Shakedown Stage of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize May 2-8, 2010.