The use of wheel hub motors effectively makes the Zap-X an all-wheel drive, of course. But because the conventional single engine and drive train is gone, ZAP gained the additional advantage of more room for extra battery capacity and for advanced amenities usually expected of luxury SUV’s.
Given very high HP, this compact SUV can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 4.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 MPH. Obviously, this is power worthy of a high-performance roadster.
For busy vehicle owners constantly on the go and inclined to forego re-charging the lithium ion batteries until absolutely necessary, a second significant innovation is the installation of obviously heavy-duty capacitor banks that permit full charging in an unheard-of ten minutes.
The third major innovation of the Zap-X is that it greatly extends the envelope for pure-electric vehicles going the distance between charges. Advanced lithium ion batteries will, the maker promises, let this crossover go 350 miles before it must recharge. Given the high power output and the SUV, albeit compact, body it will be interesting to see if this bit of hype proves out. After all, even the Tesla Roadster (also a Lotus design) boasts a range of just 250 miles and that is the high end for the moment for PEV’s.
Not content with all that battery-pack capacity, designers also promise to incorporate nano solar cells into the Zap-X. More than enough power, obviously, to make this crossover a mobile office, entertainment center and communications node combined. An on-board computer with touch-screen controls and Windows XP will be built in, as will GPS and ports for every conceivable personal gadget. The designers have thought of Wi-Fi, Blue-tooth, HD video, iPod, Fire wire and USB ports.
As a compact SUV, the Zap-X is capacious enough to seat seven in a 2+5 configuration. Thermoelectric elements for point comfort will be standard, as will an ultrasonic rear obstacle detection system and the ultimate in security, a keyless bio-metric entry and ignition system.
At this time, however, the Zap-X remains a concept vehicle. But the race is on because, after the first flush of successfully lining up buyers for the first 100 Roadster units, Tesla Motors of San Carlos, California, is already talking up design plans for equally powerful sedan or crossover SUV versions.
All in all, nonetheless, the Zap-X could prove unmatched for delivering both the practicality of an SUV and the high performance of a sports car.