The City of Richmond and Bay Area electric car distributor ZAP (OTC BB: ZAAP.OB) are launching a pilot fleet program to demonstrate ZAP electric trucks in a city fleet, the first fleet in the country to incorporate all-electric city-trucks. These trucks will be used on the historic Bay Trail restoration project with the City's Public Works department.
"As the first fleet in the country to incorporate all-electric city-trucks we are proud to promote zero emissions vehicles," said Richmond Mayor McLaughlin. "We're signaling a direction. Our legacy for the young people of Richmond is lower green house gas emissions, cleaner air, less pollution and a greater commitment to make Richmond vibrant and sustainable."
ZAP calls the XEBRA sedan and truck "city-cars," an electric car design for inner city driving up to 40 MPH. Able to plug into any standard electrical outlet, the XEBRA was designed to quickly and affordably fill the need for all-electric cars and trucks brought on by recent high gas prices. The XEBRA is manufactured through a strategic partnership with a Chinese auto manufacturer and available through ZAP's authorized dealers at a price of about $10,000.
Does this mean that this city could start a trend? The savings in gas and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions certainly would warrant their adoption. How many vehicles are driven in a city, by one person, never going over 40 mph, hauling a small load? Quite a few I bet. If every city over 50,000 people would buy 3 of these trucks, it would amount to a large savings and a big boost for electric vehicles. I could see 3 of this type of vehicle in every parks and recreational department, 4 for parking meter enforcement, and 3 in the water department. With a 2 passenger capacity, a payload of 500 lbs, 6 lead acid batteries, top speed of 40 mph, a range of 25 miles and a 6 month warranty; is that an adequate design? They have an option for upgraded batteries and a 220 V charger that might make a lot of sense. The main question I see is: Does Zap have the capability to pull this off? A look at their current financial statistics makes this questionable or are they at the cusp of a new market that will carry them through? They claim that they have received firm purchase orders for 2,300 electric cars from 19 dealers.