Zap World

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I love cars.

Maybe not love, but I surely enjoy them and I like a variety. Currently my wife and I have a Dodge Ram 2500, a Honda Odyssey, and a Porsche 914. However in the 24 years I've been driving, I have had 21 cars or motorcycles that I've driven on a regular basis. I used to average one per year of driving, but we've slowed a bit over the last few years with kids.

I've written quite a few times before about my cars and earlier this year I was looking hard to trade in the Odyssey. I don't like the van and after 3 years, I want to get rid of it, but it's a lease and short of trading on a new Honda, we'll lose too much money.

Still I was close earlier this year and actually went to the Toyota dealer to get a Prius. Even with the loss I would have traded if they'd had any. As it was, they wanted $1000 deposit and said I'd probably get one around Jan or Feb of 2007. Too long to wait for me.

So I've been searching around for something else. I like the idea of a more efficient, more environmentally friendly car. All of the hybrids have caught my eye, but most of them are more money than I want to spend or they're too small. So when I got my newsletter from ZAP that they were bringing in an electric car that could go 40mph and seat 4, I was interested.

There just so happened to be a SMART/ZAP dealer near my house, actually out in the country here in SE Denver, so a buddy and I went down there to check out the Xebra. We drove around a little and was surprisingly happy with the car. It's a great car for teenagers, which is what my friend is thinking. At a top speed of about 40-45mph, a range of only 40 miles, and a cost of $10,500, it's a practical car. Insurance is cheap and at 40mph you can only get into so much trouble.

Personally I think it would make a nice "errand" car for us. Take the kids to school, hit the grocers, etc. Possibly even for my teenager.

The SMART car is a little nicer, but at $30k, I'm not sure it's worth it. Though at 40mpg in the city and $3.00+ a gallon of gas, maybe it's not too bad. There's also the Obvio, which is more interesting with three seats. The electric version is a bit expensive ($50K), but the gas version is tempting at < $30k.

Steve Jones

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