Electric car goes 0 - 60 in 5.7 seconds, and will cost just $30,000.

ZAP might just be the most ambitious company you never heard of.  ZAP (for Zero Air Pollution) is based in Santa Rosa, California, where they are trying to become players in the specialty electric car niche.  This small segment is threatening to take away a great deal from the auto giants, who have seemingly dragged their feet over the years on R&D of electric vehicles.  The ZAP Alias has received praise for being innovatively designed, and cost-effective, but the big question is "When will we see a production concept?"

It won't take long before the car companies like Toyota, GM, Ford, and Honda catch up to the likes of Tesla, Venturi, and ZAP.  The newer all-electric automakers will have to release products within two years to take advantage of the growing sentiment that electric cars are more environmentally friendly, and cost less to use than petrol or diesel engines.

To try and speed things up, ZAP has created a joint venture with Chinese company China Youngman Automotive Group, with former Lotus Engineering CEO Albert Lam heading up the new venture.

"I am very excited to initiate this project," Lam said in a press release. "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."

No surprise, Lotus, which helped tremendously with the development of the all-electric Tesla Roadster, is also working with ZAP on the Alias.  The Tesla Roadster is also built at the Lotus factory in England.

Early specs on the proposed Alias have the three-wheeler (two in the front, one in the back) hitting 0 - 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, with a top speed over 100 mph.  The highway ready car is expected to have a range of about 150 miles.  Power to the two seater comes from two in-wheel motors producing a total of 320 horsepower and 557.52 ft-lb of torque.  Pricing for the car should be around $30,000, almost $69,000 less than the Tesla Roadster.

Buriend in the middle of the press release is a line stating that ZAP will "present its progress on the Alias" at the National Automobile Dealers Association conference, being held on February 9-12 in San Francisco.  We're hoping ZAP well tell everybody exactly how they plan to have productin in place within 14 months.

You can reserve a ZAP Alias, or any number of other ZAP vehicles by going to their web site, www.zapworld.com.

ZAP Alias To Hit Production in '09