The ZAP Alias Electric Car

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

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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.

Behind the Scenes from Popular Mechanics X PRIZE Photo Shoot

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Popular Mechanics Features ZAP Alias Electric Car in Automotive X PRIZE Finals Coverage

A Popular Mechanics cover-story gives the Alias electric car from ZAP 4-1 odds to win the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE as the remaining seven teams move onto dynamometer efficiency testing and validation this month at Argonne National Lab.

“A solid effort from a proven electric-car builder,” writes John Pearley Huffman in the September 2010 issue of Popular Mechanics, on news stands now. From the original 136 vehicles entered in the X PRIZE, ZAP is among the nine remaining vehicles moving onto laboratory efficiency validation to determine the final winner, which will be announced in September.

The Popular Mechanics article features photos and coverage of several competitors from the XPRIZE, including FVT’s Evaro, Li-Ion Motors’ Wave II, Edison2, Western Washington University’s Viking 45, RaceAbout, X-Tracer, Illuminati Motor Works Seven and Aptera’s 2e.

The photo shoot was done in May immediately following the Shakedown.  The ZAP Team said it was a high point of the three-year competition. In the months and weeks building up to the XPRIZE Shakedown event team ZAP was often working 16 hour days and this was the first time the team was able to relax and reflect on its accomplishments. While many teams struggled and were eliminated from continuing in the competition, the Alias performed beautifully, earning fans while proving three-wheelers can easily match the performance of four-wheelers. Popular Mechanics photographer Joe Pugliese turned a garage at Michigan International Speedway into a photo studio.

Thank you to Popular Mechanics for opening a window to the X PRIZE for the outside world, highlighting these new breakthroughs in MPG efficiency.