Chris Lopez and her husband are some of the first in the area to buy a ZAP, or a Zero Air Pollution, all-electric vehicle.
Four dollars per gallon. Five dollars per gallon. Heck, make it $10 per gallon.
Chris and Danny Lopez don’t care anymore.
“We’re boycotting gas,” Chris Lopez said.
She and her husband aren’t walking, riding bicycles or taking public transportation. Instead, the Rockford couple bought a ZAP, or a Zero Air Pollution, all-electric vehicle.
Headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., ZAP has two authorized dealerships in Illinois, Port Byron and LaGrange Park, where the Lopezes made their purchase.
The specs on their Xebra pickup, which Chris has named “Zappie,” boasts that it produces 98 percent fewer pollutants than gas cars. The vehicle has a top speed of 40 mph and gets about 25 miles per charge.
“We don’t take it on Perryville or Newburg,” Chris Lopez said. “That’s kind of the (Indy) 500 around here. It’s not made for that, but it’s perfect for city driving. There’s no gas, no oil and no transmission. It’s totally green.”
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $12,500.
The pickup, which can seat two and haul 500 pounds in the flatbed, is powered by six 12-volt marine batteries. Just as they charge their cellphones at night, the Lopezes charge “Zappie” by simply plugging it into a standard outlet.
“I didn’t notice any difference in the electric bill,” Chris Lopez said. Instead of dollars per gallon, the Lopezes are spending pennies per mile.
A separate battery powers the cassette radio, heater and defrost.
“We’ll see how that works when it comes time for it,” Chris Lopez said.
As if seeing a three-wheeled, two-seat pickup traveling down the street wasn’t eye-catching enough, the steering wheel on the Lopezes’ model is on the right side. The 1,800-pound vehicle is classified as a three-wheel motorcycle and requires motorcycle license plates.
As for insurance, the couple will see a huge savings as well. The Lopezes will pay $75 for an entire year’s coverage.
Chris said she learned of ZAP via her home computer.
“I started looking on the Internet on what I had to do to make a golf cart street legal,” she said, “and I found this.”
Mike Jessup, owner of the LaGrange Park dealership, said the Lopezes’ vehicle is one of a dozen ZAP vehicles he has sold over the past year.
“Sooner or later, you’ll have to replace the brakes, but there’s no oil changes, transmission fluids,” he said. “And they’re just fun to drive. You feel good, too, knowing that you’re doing something good for the environment.”
Danny Lopez, 67, a semi-retired machinist, drives Chris, a civilian employee at the Rockford Police Department, to the Public Safety Building before he goes to work at NAFCO in Loves Park.
The couple say they are used to the stares and giggles from other motorists.
“We’ve had people follow us to our destinations and take pictures,” Chris Lopez said.
Danny said of their daily commutes: “You get a lot of finger-pointing and laughing. I just tell them, ‘I’ll race you to the nearest gas station, and I’ll sit and watch you fill up.’ ”
Chris Green can be reached at (815) 987-1241 or firstname.lastname@example.org.