January 24, 2008 Electric-transport pioneer ZAP is now predicting a 2nd quarter 2009 production launch for the planned ZAP Alias(TM) highway electric car. The Joint Venture Company formed by ZAP and China Youngman Automotive Group has invited engineering and technology companies to participate in the project by initiating a RFQ (Request For Quotation) process for the 150-mile range, 100mph three-wheeler which the company hopes to bring to market for around USD$30,000.

The news follows the showing of the company's made for iPod electric car and iZAP rechargable battery technology at Macworld 2008 and the announcement of a deal with Coca Cola that will see a fleet of 30 of ZAP's compact electric trucks used for a new beverage distribution system in Montevideo, Uruguay, with the aim of targeting areas where larger vehicles are challenged by parking shortages, traffic congestion and air pollution.

Initiated in 2007 through a collaboration between ZAP (which stands for Zero Air Pollution) and Lotus Engineering, the ZAP Alias shares much of the technology announced for the ZAP-X Crossover SUV including in-hub electric motors. Apart from the meaner, ground hugging design compared with the ZAP-X, the obvious difference is the Alias' two at the front - one at the back footprint (a platform also chosen for the recently launched Aptera Typ-1. The result is a 1600lbs (733 kg), front wheel drive two-seater producing peak power of around 320 hp (240 kW) total and 557.52 lb/ft (756 Nm) of torque that is expected to achieve 0 – 60 mph ( 96.56 km/h) in 5.7 seconds.

"Everyone who has seen the Alias says they want to buy one," said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider. "The performance goals are attainable because the pace of new technology is accelerating. We have worked with Lotus Engineering during the initial phase of the development project and shall again be looking forward to their support."

"I am very excited to initiate this project," said Mr. Albert Lam, Former CEO of Lotus Engineering, now Chairman of the Joint Venture Company. "Looking at our initial project development plan and our discussion with a number of key engineering and technology partners, I believe we can go into production by the 2nd quarter of 2009. We will be using some of the existing facilities of Youngman to manufacture this vehicle."

Though production is still at least a year away and with a prototype yet to be sighted, USD$5000 reservations are being accepted for the ZAP Alias (which will be distributed under a new brand name for the Joint Venture Company in North America) and there are also plans to offer options like fast charging and a hybrid range extender.

ZAP plans to present its progress on the Alias electric vehicle at North America's largest dealer conference, NADA, February 9-12 in San Francisco, California.

See Zapworld.com for more information.

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