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DATE News (chronologically)
05/05/10
miscellaneous
Unser Jr. Joins ZAP Alias Electric Car Team
Al Unser Jr.
Racing legend Al Unser Jr. will be behind the wheel as the ZAP Alias team competes in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-PRIZE.  Unser has agreed to drive the Alias electric car from industry pioneer ZAP (OTC Bulletin Board: ZAAP) for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE (PIAXP), a competition for $10 million in prizes set up to foster the development of clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 miles per gallon or energy equivalent.

Unser has agreed to drive for ZAP in the upcoming PIAXP stages of the competition over the next five months.  Unser plans to split his time between his other racing commitments and the PIAXP competition now underway at Michigan International Speedway (MIS).  His first appearance behind the wheel of the all-electric sports vehicle from ZAP will be this week during ZAP's participation in the Shakedown Stage of the competition taking place May 2-8 at MIS, a track where Unser has a track record and won several races. The team blog is http://zapalias.wordpress.com.

"We at ZAP are delighted that a driver of Al's capability and winning tradition has agreed to join the ZAP team in our quest to raise the visibility of electric cars," said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider.  "It really means a lot to ZAP and to the acceptance of electric vehicles in the U.S. market to have someone the caliber of Al Unser Jr. take part in this competition."

The sleekly-styled ZAP Alias is a 100 percent electric car being developed to serve the growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.  The all-electric vehicle is designed to drive at freeway speeds with a range of more than 100 miles on a single charge.  ZAP is targeting a price in the $35,000 range.  ZAP chose to pursue the PIAXP as a way to help bring the Alias to market, because of the automotive business expertise and analysis being offered on the performance, efficiency, design, safety and marketability of the vehicles.  The ZAP Alias is competing for a $2.5 million prize in the side-by-side Alternative Class.

"I just love the Alias," said Unser.  "It's clean, mean and green!  I'm proud to be selected as the driver for ZAP." Unser became a fan of the Alias in 2008 when he first met with some of the designers at an automotive industry event.  "I want this vehicle, so I am going to help ZAP make the Alias a commercial reality."

Al Unser Jr. (born April 19, 1962), nicknamed "Little Al," is a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.  He was born into a racing family, son of Al Unser and nephew of Bobby Unser who both won the Indianapolis 500.  By the age of 11, Unser was racing sprint cars.  After high school, he was already in the World of Outlaws series of sprint car racing.  He soon moved into road racing, winning the Super Vee title in 1981 and the Can Am title in 1982.  In 1992, he won the Indy 500 with Galles Racing defeating Scott Goodyear by 0.043 of a second, the closest finish in Indy 500 history.  He went on to win again in 1994 with Penske Racing.

In 2009, Unser was inducted into the Motor Sports Hall of Fame.  He won the Grand Prix Celebrity Race with Keanu Reeves.  He is a consultant to Indy Racing League and sits on the Board of Baltimore Racing Development.

Al Unser Jr. Accomplishments include:
 
Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Champion, 1992 with Galles Racing, and 1994 with Penske Racing
 
Two time Cart Series Champion
 
Thirty Four Indy Car Career Wins, 6 on the all-time list
 
Two time IROC Champion
 
Eleven IROC Race Wins
 
Two-Time Winner in the Grand Prix Celebrity Race
 
Inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame 2009
 

About ZAP

ZAP is one of the world's oldest electric vehicle providers, having delivered over 117,000 of a broad range of vehicles to more than 75 countries since 1994.  ZAP supplies electric trucks and vans to military, government and corporate fleets and is an innovator of electric motorcycles, scooters and ATVs.  The Santa Rosa, California based company offers some of the only electric city-speed cars and trucks in production today and is leveraging its accrued technology know-how in developing a cost effective high-speed electric car called the ZAP Alias. It recently started pilot production for an electric taxi through a partnership in China.

About THE PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE AUTOMOTIVE X PRIZE

The goal of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE is to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Ten million dollars in prizes will be awarded to the teams that win a stage competition for clean, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 miles per gallon or energy equivalent (MPGe). The Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE will place a major focus on efficiency, safety, affordability, and the environment. It is about developing real, production-capable cars that consumers will want to buy, not science projects or concept cars. This progress is needed because today's oil consumption is unsustainable and because automotive emissions significantly contribute to global warming and climate change. For more information about the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, please visit www.progressiveautoxprize.org or email progressiveautopress@xprize.org.

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