The ZAP Alias Electric Car

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Archive for the ‘Slide Shows’ Category

Slide Show from the Hollywood Premiere for the Documentary “What is the Electric Car?”

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The ZAP Alias electric car at the Hollywood Premiere for the documentary "What is the Electric Car?"

A mini car show broke out at the Hollywood Premiere for the documentary "What is the Electric Car?"


Written by ZAPalias

December 18, 2010 at 12:44 am

What color will your ZAP Alias electric car be?

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What's your favorite ZAP Alias electric car color?

What's your favorite ZAP Alias electric car color?

We want to know what color you would want your ZAP Alias to be if you could have one right now.  Here are some images of the colors that have been shown.  Click on any of the images for the Flickr Slide Show gallery of ZAP Alias colors.  If you don’t like any of the colors, suggest one we haven’t used.

ZAP Alias Among 6 Electric Finalists Remaining in X PRIZE

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The Wave II Passed the ZAP Alias Midway through the Final X PRIZE Race

The ZAP Alias and Wave II in the Final X PRIZE Race.

The ZAP Alias, the most production-looking and production-ready electric car competing in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, has survived in a competitive, international field of 115 teams and 136 vehicles down to the final six electric vehicles remaining in the competition. Now it moves onto dynamometer testing at Argonne National Labs with the remaining 9 vehicles to validate the final efficiency numbers and declare a winner.

Aptera in the X PRIZE Charging Tent before the final  race

Aptera in the X PRIZE Charging Tent before the final race

The ZAP Alias is in the most competitive class of the X PRIZE, the Alternative Side-by-Side category with two-seats in a side-by-side configuration.  Other classes are Tandem seating for two and Mainstream for four.  From the $10 Million purse contributed by Progressive Insurance, the two Alternative Classes are competing for $2.5 million each with the Mainstream Class for $5 million. Monotracer and Edison2, each with two vehicles, are the last teams in their classes, while the 5-team Alternative Side-by-Side Class is a dogfight to the finish.

One of the most dramatic moments of the X PRIZE was a 100 MPGe “race” that Edison2 team leader Oliver Kuttner dubbed “The Race of the Century.” A time trial with five futuristic cars was held at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 as a tie-breaker in case more than one finished over 100+ MPG or energy equivalent.  Competitors included our own ZAP Alias, the well-known Aptera 2e, the quirky, slippery Wave II from North Carolina, the powerful, expensive RaceAbout from Finland, and the tiny, minimalist TW4XP from Germany.

ZAP’s car was driven by Chuck Turney, our master automotive builder who led the ZAP Alias build team from the beginning. Turney stepped in to drive without skipping a beat when team driver and Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. left to officiate an Indy Racing League event, a prior business obligation for which he regretted having to leave. An automotive genius who was integral to the success of the Alias, Chuck was cool and smooth in the driver’s seat as the Alias sailed effortlessly through efficiency, range and dynamic safety testing, passing each of the Consumer Reports safety tests on his very first attempt.  Chuck was clearly one of the smoothest drivers in the emergency lane change and acceleration test and appeared to post the best 60 to 0 MPH braking test. Turney’s talent is the pride of ZAP’s engineering and we are all in his debt.

The 100-mile, 50-lap “race” was non-elimination and included a challenging serpentine chicane on the backstretch to simulate real-world driving. The best time while achieving the 100 MPG or equivalent efficiency that passed validation in laboratory testing would be declared the winner.  Teams were required to keep their speeds at 70 MPH or below and 45 MPH or above throughout the course, except through the chicane where cars passed through at speeds of 30-35 MPH and had to accelerate up to 45 MPH within five seconds after exiting.  The circuitous chicane extended the distance of the course and taxed the cars far more than expected.

RaceAbout Electric Car before the X PRIZE Final Race

RaceAbout Electric Car before the X PRIZE Final Race

The powerful Finnish team RaceAbout had a high degree of confidence going into the event with its expensive, 400-horsepower EV and was the odds-on favorite by some to win the competition with 12 team members calculating every move of their vehicle. The Alias, with super smooth Chuck at the wheel, pushed the pace and may have caused the Finns to exceed the 70 MPH speed limit twice during the event, earning penalties which ultimately cost them victory. The second favorite Aptera with its multi-million dollar 3-wheeler, a sophisticated, lightweight and aerodynamic design that began engineering in 2007, ran into technical problems on the first lap due to what appeared to be overcharging and regenerative braking issues, and completed just 18 laps before stopping. The aerodynamic, odd-shaped Wave II was 800 pounds lighter, and had sophisticated wind tunnel testing, which meant that the Alias was less efficient and needed to have luck, skill and strategy to win this race.  The lightweight, minimalist TW4XP 3-wheeler ran conservatively to save energy, while in this all or nothing tie breaker event, the ZAP team went all out for the win. All of the other four teams received max and minimum speed penalties while the Alias with super-smooth Chuck behind the wheel roared on for 47 laps without any penalties at all.

TW4XP waiting to start the Final X PRIZE Race

TW4XP waiting to start the Final X PRIZE Race

Several days before the race and up late each night, Gary and Prash calculated and recalculated speeds and times. We knew we would need skill, luck and ultra performance from the Alias. We were not the most powerful, nor the lightest, nor the most aerodynamic, so the laws of physics and simple math were not on our side.  Carlo watched the action from his computer in Colorado, Sam had the lap times, while Dave and Alex counted down the laps. The only radio contact with Chuck was race-side through Ben.  Early on the team mathematically surmised that the RaceAbout had over-sped the course.  Indeed, following the race we learned they were penalized twice for going over 70 MPH.

The laps continued to tick down.

For much of the race the Alias was locked with the Wave II trading leads and then taking the lead towards the end.  Up until that point, the Alias was spectacular throughout the X PRIZE, making it to the final stage against all odds. Confidence was high, but again, math was not on our side.

As others have pointed out, it is a reality that the hyper-efficient, lightweight Wave II from Li-Ion Motors most likely would not have been in the finals without ZAP’s engineers lending them a hand and parts during the Shakedown. Some have said that it was wrong and a crazy thing to do.  In this dog-eat-dog world it has often been pointed out by Progressive Insurance and the X PRIZE that sportsmanship rose high during the competition. At the X PRIZE leadership seminar it was pointed out that only through cooperation would these cars of the future really have a chance of competing against the current multi billion-dollar industry that represents the status quo. The reality was that ZAP had the part that another team desperately needed, and a decision was made to give it to them. Later, the Li-Ion Team helped another team that was struggling.

The aerodynamic Wave II electric car before the final X PRIZE race.

The aerodynamic Wave II electric car before the final X PRIZE race.

Who knows how things would be different if that decision had not been made?  But who knows where our auto industry would have been if they truly met the goals of the original the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles program which was suppose to cooperatively share technology and produce high mileage cars years ago? Or what happened to real cooperation on fuel cell technology?  Would the Japanese have crushed us with hybrid technology that was originally invented in the USA?  Would billion dollar government-sponsored programs like the fuel cell initiative, the Freedom Car program, and the electric car mandate of the 1990’s have died?  Would the foreign car companies have out-produced and out-sold US companies?  Would we have had to give them tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to bail them out?  Who knows what the final outcome will be here, or who will recognize what really happened… But those who participated in this contest and those who were in the thick of it all know, what the ZAP team is made of, what they accomplished and what they did.

As the Alias went for the win, ZAP could also not have anticipated that the challenging course would consume more energy than earlier calculated, and by keeping up with Wave II, that was more aerodynamic and 800 pounds lighter, apparently all it took was one of the Alias’ 110 lithium battery cells going so slightly out of balance on the 48th lap, our automatic safety systems went into effect, and the Alias started losing power when the controller reacted and the overworked battery pack sent a low-voltage signal for cutoff.  The vehicle slowed and came to a stop just 2 laps short of its goal. In a gallant effort the team tried to re-boot and reprogram the system and unlock a small reserve of power, but time eroded and ran out.

ZAP Alias electric car waiting to start the final X PRIZE race.

ZAP Alias electric car waiting to start the final X PRIZE race.

Ironically our driver was so smooth with no penalties and the ZAP Alias performed so well, the math says we most likely would have won by going slower and conserving energy, and not racing the Wave II for the lead, but we couldn’t have known for sure at the time without a crystal ball, more engineering time, or simply a few more personnel on-site. The two most committed, serious teams RaceAbout and Aptera had many more engineers present throughout the competition. ZAP spent perhaps the least amount of capital of all the finalists, and was simultaneously engineering and constructing a vehicle for the USPS as well as a new lithium powered electric truck and an electric taxi for a venture in China, all at the exact same time as the X PRIZE events. Throughout ZAP’s Alias development, management at ZAP had a difficult time supporting a three-wheeled car. And progress happened through the will and persistence of a dedicated few.

After crunching the numbers, the technicians concluded that the Wave II, which had only one low-speed violation, was named the winner of the potential tiebreaker over RaceAbout with two over-speed penalties. Wave II was declared the winner by an incredible 0.129 second margin! Both teams and all the rest should be congratulated for such an exciting finish and for their perseverance in this “Race of the Century.” Now the Alias remains in the competition with a wild card chance among the 7 teams remaining going onto the validation phase at Argonne National Labs. The ultimate winners will be named in Washington D.C. on September 16.

ZAP is extremely proud of how the team pulled together with the support of our suppliers, (especially Carlo!) sponsors, employees, investors, family and friends. We need to thank the ZAP Alias Team for the X PRIZE: Al, Chuck, Prash, Dave, Gary, Joe, Aubre, Frederic, Ben, Brandon, Alex and others, including our fellow employees, volunteers including daughters, sons, brothers, and wives, many who have worked crazy 16-hour days in 95 degree temperatures for 7 days a week, some nights ’til 2 in the morning, some waking up at 4 am.  We need to thank those who used their own finances and their own credit cards to float the expenses of this competition. Even the willingness of the team to share an old house without air conditioning instead of a hotel to save on cost.  The Alias earned respect and admiration from competitors and officials alike, including the third-party recognition of the X PRIZE, Consumer Reports, and the Department of Energy.  Our stylish, innovative, and practical three-wheeler outperformed many of the best three- and four-wheeled cars in the world, so we are extremely delighted with its performance.  The Alias is now among an elite group of seven teams to survive the grueling three-year competition. Thank you to everyone for your support, including all our fans on Facebook and Twitter. And a special thanks to Al Unser Jr. and family for their support, helping to bring much more attention to the competition and providing a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team.

Bill of Wave II and Chuck of ZAP Alias after the final X PRIZE race.

Bill of Wave II and Chuck of ZAP Alias after the final X PRIZE race.

All the teams involved in the competition deserve a huge amount of credit for having the audacity to believe in and achieve 100+ MPGe automobiles.  One of the X PRIZE officials pointed out that the upcoming Nissan Leaf would not have been able to complete tests like this. Thanks to the event organizers and sponsors for executing the difficult challenge and mission of a 100 MPGe vehicle competition, including Dr. Peter Diamandis, Julie Zona, Bethann Budenbaum and countless others.  The Tech Team, led by Steve Wesoloski, ran a tough but fair competition.  Congratulations to all and good luck in the future.

ZAP joined the X PRIZE in the middle of its preparations for finalizing the design of the production Alias. While the competition outlined criteria for production-ready cars over the next few years, ZAP’s goal is to go into production soon after the competition is over, which at this point we are projecting to be by 2011.  For these reasons, it seems that the Alias matched the spirit of the competition more than it did the minimal rules that helped the other four cars. The Alias is heavier because it was designed with more safety equipment than the other cars, including a NASCAR-style chassis and safety cage.  The competition vehicle uses double reinforced door panels to meet side impact standards. Some of the vehicles only had one seat or extremely hard, lightweight seats while the ZAP Alias used standard, low-cost, off-the-shelf, well-padded and comfortable automotive seats.  The Alias also had off-the-shelf wheels, steering, braking, real automotive front and rear glass, defrosters and standard size tires and wheels.  It was the combined solid engineering, experience and vision of the ZAP team members that allowed this low budgeted race vehicle to compete with the best.

Due to the “I want one” look, the Alias is less aerodynamic and never had the sophisticated and expensive wind tunnel testing of the other cars designed solely for the competition.  Instead it used an aggressive, futuristic styling that would be attractive to consumers yet still surpasses the aerodynamics of most conventional cars. The ZAP Alias was designed to win in the marketplace, not necessarily just win the X PRIZE like the majority of all other vehicles.

It was believed that our goals of a production-ready, low-cost vehicle with good technology was a match for the X PRIZE rules, and so with little support, a 2-person, part-time team of Gary and Frederic filled out the original paperwork to enter and pass the early technical reviews. The Alias was created out of air, even when we were told that three wheel cars didn’t make sense and didn’t have a market. Two different senior management groups would not financially back the project. Even without any prior third-party analysis, or the funding or dedicated single focus of most of the other teams, the Alias still achieved an impressive 121.8 MPGe efficiency from the on-track testing, and had the least problems with the performance safety requirements.  It also appears that it was the least expensively built race vehicle by several multiples, all keeping with the goal of a true production-ready car to ultimately prove through sales that it could be built affordably even in modest volumes, at the currently projected retail price of $35,000.

Official Track Efficiency Results for ZAP Alias X PRIZE Fuel Economy

Official Track Efficiency Results for ZAP Alias X PRIZE Fuel Economy

For these reasons we would argue that the Alias is the best all-around car competing in the X PRIZE, which has been affirmed time and time again by third-parties, and by you, our fans.  Thank you for voting the Alias as the ‘Most Stylish’ car on the X PRIZE website, which is now up for ‘Most Practical’ through August 16.  Vote today at Don’t forget, you can also reserve a ZAP Alias today on ZAP’s website,  And look to see the ZAP Alias in Washington D.C. next month!

It remains to be seen whether history will look back on the X PRIZE’s 100 MPGe “Race of the Century” and remember it in the same terms of the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Charles Lindberg or Thomas Edison.  One thing is for sure, for those who were there and watching on U Stream that day, 100 MPGe cars put on an unforgettable show and won over more believers.  Perhaps it will represent, not a finale, but a new beginning, knowing that the technology for 100 MPGe cars is possible.  Perhaps this is the beginning of the real race – getting these 100 MPGe vehicles into production.  ZAP is now proposing the formation of a new alliance, an alliance of these fuel exciting teams and vehicles to assist each other in creating these quantum leap vehicles.  Join us.

ZAP Alias and Wave II electric cars following the X PRIZE Final Race

ZAP Alias and Wave II electric cars following the X PRIZE Final Race

ZAP Alias Electric Car Qualifies for Shakedown Stage of Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE

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Electric Race Car called the ZAP Alias - Click Image for Slide  Show
Click Image for Slide Show

Alias to Take Part in X PRIZE Kick-Off Slated for April 29th at Michigan State Capitol

LANSING, Mich., April 27 — The Alias, a prototype electric sports car from ZAP (OTC Bulletin Board: ZAAP), has qualified for the Shakedown stage of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE (PIAXP) competition for 100 MPG equivalent and above cars now underway at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The innovative all-electric ZAP Alias will appear this Thursday, April 29th, during kick-off ceremonies for the PIAXP at the Michigan state capitol in Lansing.

ZAP Alias - The Electric Car with an AttitudeThe Alias team is one of 28 competing for $10 million prizes, down from 43 teams last year. In the Shakedown stage, vehicles will be tested on braking speed, lane change ability, acceleration and refueling/recharging time, among other elements. ZAP’s shakedown will occur May 2-8 at MIS. This is a non-elimination event ahead of a Knock-Out Stage taking place in June.

“As an electric vehicle company founded on creating energy efficient transportation, we are delighted to be taking part in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE,” said Steve Schneider, ZAP CEO. “Competitions like this will further the advancement of eco-friendly electric vehicles in the U.S. market. It is an opportunity for researchers to showcase the capabilities of electric vehicles and push the frontier on what may be possible as we look for new ways to reduce dependency on petroleum, reduce CO2 emissions and enhance sustainable mobility. It’s also a good opportunity for government and the investment community to see the potential of these new designs.”

“This competition will help level the playing field and capture entrepreneurial, scientific and technical energy to bring about viable, super-efficient cars that consumers want to buy,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO, X PRIZE Foundation. “We are at a pivotal moment in time when promising new technologies, growing consumer demand, and global politics make it ripe for a radical breakthrough in the cars we drive.”

The cost-effective, powerful Alias will travel at freeway speeds with a range of 100 miles. Built using a NASCAR-type construction, the Alias has a tubular frame and composite body. Power is supplied to the three-wheeled, front wheel drive roadster by a lithium battery pack. The Alias features sleek styling, aerodynamic contours, a low profile, and wide stance with double-wishbone suspension. It can be re-charged with any 110V or 220V outlet.

Fans have several ways to follow the competition online through social media, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs as well as through the competition website The ZAP Alias Team Blog is

The ZAP Alias is competing in the Progressive Insurance Automotive  X PrizeTeams and their vehicles will compete in one of three categories: a class for tandem seating, a class for side-by-side seating and a third class for mainstream designs. The Shakedown phase of the PIAXP is already underway broken into two week-long events.

The goal of the PIAXP is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage competition for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 Miles per gallon or energy equivalent (MPGe). The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will place a major focus on efficiency, safety, affordability and performance.

An earlier prototype of the ZAP Alias is on display this week at the Beijing Motor Show as part of an introduction for ZAP’s new electric vehicle venture in the China fleet market.

About ZAP

ZAP is one of the world’s oldest electric vehicle providers, having delivered more than 117,000 of a broad range of vehicles to more than 75 countries since 1994. ZAP supplies electric trucks and vans to military, government and corporate fleets and is an innovator of electric motor cycles, scooters and ATVs. The Santa Rosa, California based company offers some of the only electric city-speed cars and trucks in production today. Further news and information is available at

INFO: Credentials for both events are required and available through the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE media department. Please email:


Alex Campbell, ZAP, On-site: 707-217-3089, office 707-525-8658 x 241

Jim Gill, for ZAP, 248-882-6309,

Written by ZAPalias

April 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Slide Show from Beijing Motor Show

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3-wheeled ZAP Alias Electric Car on Display in Jonway's Beijing Motor Show Booth

Click on the image for a Slide Show

ZAP, the U.S. electric vehicle pioneer, is introducing its electric vehicle design and engineering expertise at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show, including a new all-electric ZAP Taxi targeting the fleet market as well as its innovative all-electric Alias prototype sports car.

The ZAP Alias is competing in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize, a competition for 100+ MPGe cars. The Shakedown Stage begins today at Michigan International Raceway.

Written by ZAPalias

April 26, 2010 at 7:45 am

Posted in Photos, Slide Shows, Uncategorized

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Evolution of the Alias – Slide Show

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ZAP Alias early design rendition.

ZAP looked at many designs before settling on the current style. Click images for 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.

A three-wheel electric car design considered by ZAP in 2007.

ZAP decided an open rear wheel was more appealing.

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.

3-wheeled ZAP electric car prototype

The first styling prototype of the ZAP Alias was revealed in 2008.

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.

ZAP Alias Electric Car

ZAP showcased an extremely large rear wheel at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.

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.

Written by ZAPalias

April 8, 2010 at 5:44 am

Slideshow: ZAP Alias in Korea

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The ZAP Alias in Korea

The Alias debuted to public demonstration in the first-ever Korea EV Challenge. Click the image for a slideshow of the Alias from the event.

ZAP Alias in the Korea EV Challenge Slide Show – Click Here.

Written by ZAPalias

March 31, 2010 at 6:38 pm