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ZAP and PML Flightlink -- now it's official

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by tonybelding, May 2, 2007.

  1. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    I stumbled across this on TransWorldNews. . .

    I'm sure we'll see more information about it real soon now.

    This link between ZAP and PML has been one of the worst-kept secrets around.  Ever since the ZAP-X was first released, many commented on how similar its specs were to the PML Mini QED, which is an impressive technology demonstration vehicle.  With PML and Lotus both based in England, it seemed only natural for them to collaborate with their technology.  However, now it's official: PML, ZAP and Lotus are all in cahoots on this one.  PML and Lotus will provide the technology, Lotus will do the engineering, and ZAP will write the checks.

    From a technology standpoint, this means PML will fundamentally take the existing Lotus APX concept car and give it the same conversion treatment that they gave to the Mini Cooper.  It's all off-the-shelf in that respect.  So, when people point at the ZAP-X specifications and say they look wildly over-optimistic, keep in mind that it's basically the same thing PML claim to have already accomplished with their own research prototype.  And since the APX is all made out of lightweight aluminum, it would appear better suited for this treatment than the Mini Cooper was.

    My biggest worry is whether ZAP has deep enough pockets to see this project through to completion.  I suspect that Lotus is pursuing it on the assumption that whatever technology they develop will be sellable to somebody, even if ZAP runs into business problems and drops out.

    UPDATE: Here's a slightly longer report from Green Car Congress: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/05/zap_signs_deal_.html
     
  2. DDB

    DDB Member

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    Tony,

    I've speculated that ZAP has some value here. First the batteries, although I'm not sure if ZAP will ultimately be the company supplying the ZAP-X's. Where else can you buy an EV that runs at 45 mph for under $10,000? Additionally, the UK companies see a larger market in the U.S. rather than selling only to Europeans. Either way, if we're luck, Tesla, ZAP, and Miles will be competing in late 2008 with any luck.
     
  3. Iz

    Iz EVs are here to stay

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    Given that WhiteStar and ZAP-X are about 2 years away and we can only dream at this point, what would influence a purchase decision between the two models?

    Debate Issues:

    Wheel hub motors
    Miles per charge
     
  4. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    I have greater confidence in Tesla being able to deliver on their promises with Whitestar; it's simply an extension of what they've already demonstrated with the Roadster, and we also know far more about their business plan (dealers, warranty service, manufacturing plans, etc.)  It gives me a lot of confidence in buying a car -- any kind of car -- from them.

    I have some doubts about the hub motors in the ZAP-X.  In particular, they are talking about having no mechanical brakes.  I'm not sure if that is going to be practical.  It's unproven, and even if they can make it work, it might require laws to be changed before they could legally sell it.

    Now, looking purely at the types of vehicles and what's been revealed about their designs. . .   I've got to admit the ZAP-X looks very appealing.  The hatchback design is very practical, and the ability to take long trips with it (as a PHEV) is not to be written off lightly.  I might balk at having nothing bit purely electric cars, with the difficulty of taking long trips.  I'm pretty sure a lot of people aren't ready for that yet.

    Me personally? My plan is to do most of my driving in the Roadster, and then drag out the ol' 1995 Bonneville whenever I need more passenger space, range, etc. I could have that Bonneville for a long time to come, it's got plenty of life left in it.
     
  5. Iz

    Iz EVs are here to stay

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    Tony: Agreed. Tesla is very open about their plans and Martin’s testimony before the senate subcommittee indicates Tesla is indeed doing the right thing. It will be difficult to muffle their progress. From what I know, they are close to 400 orders. When the roadster hits the streets we can expect that number to reach 800, perhaps by years end? Selling 800+ will be somewhat of a milestone when compared to the leased EV1’s.

    ZAP-X looks great. There are no WhiteStar photos or templates yet, so from an imagination perspective ZAP-X is all there is at this point. Not having mechanical brakes will not be a strong selling point for ZAP-X. I doubt laws will be changed in the foreseeable future to allow this. However, the design, range, styling, photovoltaic glass and bio-metrics have the potential for an amazing success story.

    The auxiliary power unit to support longer distance journeys would be nice if one could install and remove on an “as needed” basis. If I were driving from NY to Florida I would install it and remove it for local driving. This does present a number of challenges including the location of fuel storage tanks and connections to the charger.
     
  6. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Mainecoon Butler

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    I expect ZAP to backoff from inwheel motors puting normal disc brakes back in there. Hub motors can be placed onto the chasie, close to the suspension mount points, one per wheeel. In this way nonsuspended mass gets greatly reduced and motors suffer much less vibration. Still, there are no differentials nor transmission gears eating into your available power.
     
  7. Tesla2Go

    Tesla2Go Member

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    Interesting comment about these "add-on" power units in Martin Eberhards latest blog:

    This extra fuel storage tank would need to be mounted pretty far away from the back of the car in this case and protected somehow, which wouldn't make it an easy job of removing/installing when needed, even more so by your average driver.
     

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