Electric car manufacturer ZAP has announced plans to display Lotus Engineering's advanced APX concept car at the North American Dealers Association (NADA) annual meeting and exhibition, February 3 to 6, 2007, confirming that it will use Lotus' revolutionary platform and body structure design as the basis for the development of the high performance electric ZAP-X.

ZAP and Lotus Engineering will begin the first phase of an engineering project to use the British consultancy's APX ("Aluminum Performance Crossover") as a basis for designing a production-ready electric all-wheel drive crossover high performance vehicle for ZAP in the USA market.

A combination of the lightweight aluminum vehicle architecture, a new efficient drive and advanced battery management systems is intended to enable a range of up to 350 miles between charges, with a rapid 10-minute recharging time. An auxiliary power unit is planned to support longer distance journeys.

Lotus' APX's conventional gasoline V6 engine will be replaced by in-hub electric motors, delivering 644 horsepower in all wheel drive mode, theoretically capable of powering the ZAP-X to a potential top speed of 155mph. A new strong, lightweight and highly efficient structure based on the Lotus technology is planned to give the car a very attractive power-to-weight ratio.

Steve Schneider, CEO of ZAP, said: "Lotus Engineering's APX technology demonstrator vehicle is a perfect fit for our plans to introduce a full product portfolio of electric cars. Due to the initial design by Lotus, our cost and time to production will be significantly reduced. We believe that the ZAP-X will become the most advanced, most practical and most appealing flagship electric vehicle to date and will revolutionize the industry providing the driver with the enjoyment of a sports car and the practicality of an SUV."

Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc, said: "Lotus Engineering's APX is a world-class innovative concept and was developed to showcase real solutions to new challenges facing the automotive industry. So it's very satisfying that ZAP's proposed new model will make use of a great deal of the APX concept's advanced body structure and chassis technology. The bringing together of these next-generation vehicle technologies represents another significant step forward for automotive technology."

The APX showcases Lotus Engineering's Versatile Vehicle Architecture technology, combining lightweight aluminum vehicle architecture with exceptionally strong and stiff structural rigidity, as well as lower manufacturing investment requirements. Having first been shown to the world at the Geneva motor show in 2006, the APX concept has won the 2006 European Aluminium Awards in the "Transport and Automotive" category.

The development programme is proposed to be managed from a new centre of excellence for research and development of environmentally-friendly vehicle designs and technologies. Engineering input will come from Lotus Engineering Inc, and the British technology consultancy's other R&D centers in the UK, Malaysia and China.