Here’s a 2006 Zap Zebra that’s already ended up at an towing auction, expected to sell for a rock bottom bargain price as little as a few hundred dollars.
The car only has just 2854 miles on it. Yet, it’s already a towing auction special. The little Chinese made electric cars were plagued with more than a few problems from the very first production models. Early models were plagued with problems that included charging systems that didn’t work right, water leakage that caused electrical malfunction problems, body problems and other issues. Some reports claim only 150 units were sold in the U.S., that had a blazing top speed of just 40mph with a range of just 20-25 miles before hours of recharging was required just to use the car again. Without regenerative braking like a hybrid, the little cars also had some real limitations. Suddenly, saving the environment doesn’t seem to be such a great idea when far more dependable fossil fuel burning cars have this car beat hands down for a much longer service life and far more reliability.
With the three wheeled design, the cars are probably likely to tip over in a real sharp turn, so care must be taken not to oversteer. Classified as a motorcycle rather than an automobile, these cars likely required most drivers to spend extra time and money acquiring a motorcycle endorsement just to legally drive these cars.
Some dreamy-eyed businesses bought a few of these electric cars to use as delivery or business vehicles. They thought that they were saving the planet. Instead, most of the time you saw the little cars being towed around rather than driving under their own power. To say that these cars were not reliable is a gross understatement.
Not many cars end up at a towing auction with less than 3,000 miles on them. But, one of these lemons sure did. It’s strange they named the car after a “zebra”. A “turkey” would have been a far better name choice.