Saturday, October 14, 2006


ZAP! (Zero Air Pollution) is celebrating their 12th anniversary with a new look to their website. If you haven't checked them out lately, or (GASP!) ever, you should surf over that way, they've really got some exciting things brewing.
They currently have seven offerings in their ZAP cars category. Four of these are electric, and the other three are hybrids or highly fuel efficient Smart cars. The Smart cars, which are made in Europe by Daimler Chrysler, seem to have become an entangled mess of legalities and broken promises.
Luckily for ZAP! they are about to start importing an several models of the way cooler Obvio from Brazil. This move has gotten some major press lately, getting written up by Newsweek and Bloomberg. The 828, pictured above, has the following stats:

• No more parallel parking, fits lengthwise into the width of most parking spots
• Runs on 100 percent ethanol, 100 percent gasoline, or any combination of the two
· Achieves a fuel economy of 12.5 Km/Liter (29.40 MPG) in urban driving and 17.3 Km/Liter (40.69 MPG) during highway driving when equipped with ZAP Eco-Flexible SUPER ULTRA LOW EMISSION VEHICLE (SULEV) - 1.6 Liter/115Hp high fuel efficiency Tritec power train coupled with ZF´s Ecotronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)
AND a top speed of 100 mph
Retail is expected to be $14k.

The Dragon likes the 828, and expects that those in the scooter community (especially those in love with modern automatic scooters) will like it as well. Why? Well, there is some kind of strange synergy between the Modern Vespa crowd, and the micro-car crowd. A lot of people who own a newer Vespa, own a Mini Cooper as their four wheeler, or a VW Bug (old or new.) But also that CVT transmission, well that's the same style of automatic transmission that auto scooters have been using for years, and it's a pretty slick and elegant technology, supposedly much more worry free than a geared transmission. If you scroll down on the 828 linked page, you will find one of the better explanations of CVT trannies I've seen.

But hey, maybe you don't like micro cars. Maybe you don't like scooters. Maybe you want something sportier...

Well then, maybe you should check out the 012, which is pictured below. A little more James Bond, and a little less Mr. Bean, right? It has very similar specs to the 828, uses the same types of fuel, but has a top speed of 160 mph! That's not a geeky little penny-pincher car, that's a real slick sports car, baby! Oh yeah, retail on this one is suspposed to be $28K, so you're paying for sportiness.

"But Dragon", you whine," even these aren't slick and cutting edge enough for me. Engine noise interferes with crystal clear sound of my Manhiem Steamroller Fresh Aire CDs." Well have no fear, for those of you who just have to be on the bleeding edge, and/or can't stand the stink and thunder of internal combustion engines, both of these obvio bodies will be released with alternative models featuring ELECTRIC DRIVES! SCHWEET!

Electric version - both model 828E and 012E - preliminary specifications
Range 200 – 240 miles
Acceleration 0 to 60 < 4.5 secs with 200HP’s and CVT transmission system
Top Speed 120 mph
Charge rate 30 minutes for 20 – 50 miles
Full Charge 2 hrs (fast), 5 hrs (normal)
Electric Propulsion
Drive system 120 kW, 220 Nm, 13,000 rpm
Regenerative braking
Battery Li Ion, 39 kWh, 580 lb
Charger Onboard, plug in anywhere - up to 20 kW
Vehicle to grid (V2G) Bi-directional grid interface

The 828E should retail for $49k, while the 012E will be $59K.

OK, I've ranted and raved enough. But, also check out the "carputer" that will be available as an option on these.

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