Back when Lotus Engineering showed off its Aluminum Performance Crossover (APX) concept car at the Geneva show last year, most assumed it was a showcase for the company's new, lightweight architecture, and nothing more. But news hit the wire this morning that Lotus will use that crossover SUV as the basis for a joint venture with ZAP, the company that came to prominence last year for federalizing Smart cars and selling them in the US, despite being disavowed by DaimlerChrysler. The companies say the all-electric model will challenge the Tesla all-electric sportster in performance, with the equivalent of 644 hp and a top speed of 155 mph — and a range of 350 miles on a charge. No word on price, but the prototype will show up at the North American Dealers Association (NADA) annual meeting and leisure-suit exhibition.
The ZAP-X Crossover Electric Car - 155mph, 644 Horsepower, Based on the APX Technical Demonstrator Vehicle Designed & Developed by Lotus Engineering
ZAP-X features all wheel drive, 10 minute recharge time, a 350 Mile Range and will be the center piece of the NADA Exhibition, February 3rd to 6th.
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Automotive pioneer ZAP (BULLETIN BOARD: ZAAP) today announced plans to display Lotus Engineering's advanced APX concept car at the North American Dealers Association (NADA) annual meeting and exhibition, February 3 to 6, 2007, confirming their choice to move ahead using Lotus' revolutionary platform and body structure design as the basis for the development of the high performance electric ZAP-X.
ZAP and Lotus Engineering will begin the first phase of an engineering project to use the British consultancy's APX ("Aluminum Performance Crossover") as a basis for designing a production-ready electric all-wheel drive crossover high performance vehicle for ZAP in the USA market.
A combination of the lightweight aluminum vehicle architecture, a new efficient drive and advanced battery management systems is intended to enable a range of up to 350 miles between charges, with a rapid 10-minute recharging time. An auxiliary power unit is planned to support longer distance journeys.
Lotus' APX's conventional gasoline V6 engine will be replaced by revolutionary in-hub electric motors, delivering 644 horsepower in all wheel drive mode, theoretically capable of powering the ZAP-X to a potential top speed of 155mph. A new strong, lightweight and highly efficient structure based on the Lotus technology is planned to give the car a very attractive power-to-weight ratio.
Steve Schneider, CEO of ZAP, said: "Lotus Engineering's APX technology demonstrator vehicle is a perfect fit for our plans to introduce a full product portfolio of electric cars. Due to the initial design by Lotus, our cost and time to production will be significantly reduced. We believe that the ZAP-X will become the most advanced, most practical and most appealing flagship electric vehicle to date and will revolutionize the industry providing the driver with the enjoyment of a sports car and the practicality of an SUV."
Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, said: "Lotus Engineering's APX is a world-class innovative concept and was developed to showcase real solutions to new challenges facing the automotive industry. So it's very satisfying that ZAP's proposed new model will make use of a great deal of the APX concept's advanced body structure and chassis technology. The bringing together of these next-generation vehicle technologies represents another significant step forward for automotive technology."
The APX showcases Lotus Engineering's Versatile Vehicle Architecture technology, combining lightweight aluminum vehicle architecture with exceptionally strong and stiff structural rigidity, as well as lower manufacturing investment requirements. Having first been shown to the world at the Geneva motor show in 2006, the APX concept has won the 2006 European Aluminium Awards in the "Transport and Automotive" category.
The innovative placement of the power train leaves the space previously occupied by the conventional engine and drive train for additional battery capacity and amenities, making it a very consumer-oriented electric car concept. These design features will give the ZAP-X crossover the structural strength, and potentially storage and range that no electric vehicle has yet achieved publicly.
The development programme is proposed to be managed from a new centre of excellence for research and development of environmentally-friendly vehicle designs and technologies. Engineering input will come from Lotus Engineering Inc, and the British technology consultancy's other R&D centers in the UK, Malaysia and China.
About Lotus Engineering
Lotus Engineering has been behind the design and construction of some of the most successful cars in history and is one of the world's premier automotive consultancies with engineering centers in Asia, North America and Europe.
Employed by many of the major car manufacturers, Lotus Engineering maintains a strong tradition of excellence in the automotive business with cutting-edge engineering expertise, and talented, visionary staff. Lotus Engineering offers full engineering services capable of taking a project from initial concept and product design, through development, testing and prototype build, as well as production and production support.
Lotus is one of only two OEMs that has experience in designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing its own products offering this range of expert services to third parties. This gives Lotus a highly respected premium position in today's automotive industry. For more information, visit www.grouplotus.com.
ZAP currently markets the only city-speed electric car and truck available in the United States through a new automotive distribution portal marketing a complete lineup of advanced technology vehicles. ZAP's authorized auto dealer network will offer sales, service and parts distribution for the lineup of vehicles being developed by ZAP and its strategic partners in Europe, Asia and South America.
ZAP has been a leader in advanced transportation technologies since 1994, delivering nearly 100,000 vehicles to consumers in more than 75 countries. ZAP is at the forefront of fuel-efficient transportation with new technologies including energy efficient gas systems, hydrogen, electric, fuel cell, alcohol, hybrid and other innovative power systems. For more information, visit http://www.zapworld.com/ .
Statements in this press release that relate to future plans or projected results of ZAP are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "PSLRA"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by the PSLRA, and all such statements fall under the "safe harbor" provisions of the PSLRA. ZAP's actual results may vary materially from those described in any "forward-looking statement" due to, among other possible reasons, the continued acceptance of ZAP's products, increased levels of competition, new products and technological changes, ZAP's dependence on third-party suppliers, intellectual property rights, and the realization of any of the other risks described in ZAP's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB, or in any of ZAP's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers of this press release are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.