Solar electric car a chick magnet? Wall Street Journal Uncovers ZAP Xebra Xero
Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 08/04/2008 - 09:01
Out of all things to which electric cars aspire – fighting record oil prices, combating global warming, reducing dependency on imported oil – getting a date was a surprising reason uncovered by The Wall Street Journal. Have electric cars finally become cool? For nearly 100 years electric cars have been derided from the internal combustion automotive circles because they could not match the performance of gas-powered cars. Though history has shown little concern over environmental performance, it seems that high gas prices are finally tipping the scales towards the electric car. "Texas is the land of the pickup truck… but high gas prices are making some Texans ditch their massive vehicles," reports the Wall Street Journal in a report about drivers leaving their trucks at home and driving small electric cars in their place. Houston, Texas resident Andrew Kunev says saving gas is his prime motivation. Video: http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid452319854/bctid1688114688 "The fact that it is purely an electric car -- it is a hybrid: a plug in and solar power -- but the fact that I don't use any gasoline at all, that is the main selling point," Kunev told the Wall Street Journal in an interview. He said it helps him save more than $100 a month in gasoline. Kunev drives a ZAP Xebra Xero sedan, a city-speed electric car made through a venture between US electric transportation pioneer ZAP and a Chinese automaker. Xero means it comes equipped with a rooftop solar panel which can help extend range a few miles by trickle charging the batteries. The electric vehicle was designed to be an alternative for commuters and urban drivers whose driving range is under 40 miles per day. While The Wall Street Journal said his Xebra looked like a Tic Tac, they reported an "unexpected bonus" of being a "chick magnet." '"You wouldn't think it, but it's a chick-magnet,"' the unmarried, 40-year-old chemical engineer told The Wall Street Journal, adding "that women -- and pretty much everybody else, too -- approach him to talk about his unusual car." He wrote to ZAP asking for brochures because of being stopped so many times about his car. When we sent some out he asked for more. Recently he says he has seen another Xebra driving around Houston. The Xebra has been called many things, from the volkes wagen of electric cars to being so ugly it's cute. But isn't chick magnet something reserved for hot rods, sports cars, luxury cars, custom cars, Hummers, Escalades and the like? Not a city-speed electric car manufactured by ZAP in China? If you've been to the car section of the magazine stand you will know what I mean. The Xebra sexy? One would more likely consider the new Lighting GT electric car just unveiled in the UK? Of course how many of us Americans can afford sexier automobiles these days? The Lightning GT and others are exciting vehicles but how many of us can afford this kind of chick magnet? Perhaps wealth is sexy? I suppose if you are wealthy you could flaunt your wealth before members of the opposite sex by driving around in a giant internal combustion vehicle. But I don't think that is going on here. It will be hard to tell which electric vehicle wins the "chick magnet" award in the end at the moment. The Xebra is one of only a few street-legal electric vehicles on the market, perhaps the only one in volume production in China. The novelty of the vehicle alone may be what attracts people. While automotive enthusiasts are heartily blowing off the Xebra, hundreds of people have been buying them faster than ZAP can make them. The Xebra has been known to be a guy magnet too. A female co-worker says guys on Harleys knock on the window of her ZAP truck at traffic lights to ask her about it. The solar panel adds an extra element to the look of the car that on one side speaks propeller head, but on the other screams green. And we all know it's hip to be green these days. The most common reaction from women is 'cute!' I guess it all boils down to what is sexy? What do they say? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is only skin deep. All that glitters is gold. Don't judge a book by its cover. Form follows function. Smart and sexy. Provide your own answer here _________. Perhaps in these changing times people's views on what is attractive are changing. Is the Xebra Xero a "chick magnet" because of the way it looks or because of what it does? What do you think?