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480kW wheel-hub motors will power Lotus-based electric SUV
Published:  10 April, 2007

A Californian electric vehicle developer called Zap – from "zero air pollution" – has announced plans for a five-seater, battery-powered SUV (sports utility vehicle) that will be propelled by four wheelhub motors with a combined power of 480kW (644hp). The aluminium-bodied Zap-X SUV will be able to accelerate to 96km/h (60mph) in 4.8s, hit a top speed of 250km/h (155mph), and travel for 563km (350 miles) on a ten-minute battery charge. An auxiliary power unit will allow longer journeys to be completed.

Zap says that the Zap-X could go on sale by the end of 2008 at a price of around $60,000, thus undercutting the $92,000 Tesla two-seater electric sportscar.

The Zap-X will be based on Lotus Engineering’s lightweight APX (aluminium performance crossover) concept car, first seen at last year’s Geneva motor show.

"Due to the initial design by Lotus, out cost and time to production will be reduced significantly," says Zap’s chief executive, Steve Schneider. "We believe that the Zap-X will become the most advanced, most practical and most appealing flagship electric vehicle to date, and will revolutionise the industry, providing the driver with the enjoyment of a sports car and the practicality of a SUV."

Since Zap was founded in 1994, it has delivered nearly 100,000 vehicles to customers in more than 75 countries. It currently claims to be selling the only city-speed electric car and truck available in the US.

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