ZAP: Then and Now
A short history of history of a pioneering company and the development of the ZAP Alias
In order to understand the history of the ZAP Alias entry in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize (PIAXP), one needs to appreciate the origins of ZAP, which is a challenge unto itself since ZAP was founded in 1994, over 15 years ago, making it one of the earliest companies to enter the EV business. So, please be patient, this could take awhile.
ZAP was founded on September 23, 1994 as ZAP Power Systems in Sebastopol, California, a venture started by EV entrepreneur and ZAP PIAXP Team Captain Gary Starr, with his previous experience in electric vehicles, as well as other electric vehicle developers and advocates. Starr had previous experience with electric cars including Solar Electric Engineering and U.S. Electricar, which is currently known as Enova Systems . Starr was involved in more than 600 electric car conversions between 1989 and 1994 from Ford Escorts, GEO Prizms, Chevy S-10s, Toyota Paseos, S-10 Blazer SUVs, Pontiac Fieros and various kit cars, with subsequent sales to Hollywood celebrities, government agencies, military bases, the US Post Office, Ford and GM. He left that venture to start ZAP believing there was a growing opportunity in smaller bicycle and scooter EV designs that could be affordable for a greater number of people. Continued…