This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 30, 2006

Two Electric Vehicle Companies, Two Approaches: Small and Fast

Photo of a bright blue Xebra PK, a three-wheeled, two-seated electric vehicle that has a flatbed for hauling.

The hauling capabilities of the Xebra XP make the two-seated electric vehicle more versatile.
Credit: ZAP

ZAP, the company that bills itself as an "automotive pioneer," has been on a roll lately, introducing a variety of new electric vehicles to the U.S. market. In July, the company started delivering its new Xebra three-wheeled electric vehicles to five dealerships in Arizona, California, Florida, and Oregon. The vehicle is manufactured in China, and if you want, you can get it in white with black zebra stripes. On August 24th, the company introduced the Xebra PK, a three-wheeler with a multi-purpose platform in back that can serve as a hauler, dump truck, or flatbed. See the ZAP press releases about the Xebra and Xebra PK.

Those with a little more expendable income might want to wait for the Tesla Roadster, a two-seater electric vehicle being developed by Tesla Motors. The company claims the vehicle will go from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 4 seconds and travel 250 miles per charge, at an operating cost of about 1 cent per mile, although the fine print on the Web site warns those numbers might change. The company has yet to actually produce one, but the combination of a lithium-ion battery pack, a 248-horsepower electric motor, an aluminum chassis, and a beautiful design has gained the company plenty of media attention and led people to reserve the first 100 cars. The company hasn't even announced a price yet, but expects to start actually selling the cars in 2007. Until then, enthusiasts will have to settle for a nice image for their desktop wallpaper. See the Tesla Motors Web site.