Curbside Crap: 2006 Zap Xebra

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

Is the owner of this Zap Xebra hoping the trash collector will take away this pile of junk? He may as well, because it’s been sitting there with a For Sale sign for well over six months. When I finally decided to stop and take a look at what he wants for it, I found out why. He’s been Zapped!

In my scathing review of the Xebra (here) I pointed out the harsh truth: these pieces of junk cobbled together in Chinese sweat-shop “factories” sell for about $3K in China. Zap asks $12K for them stateside and brags about the Xebra’s operating costs of “about 3 cents per mile”.

When I looked at the seller’s flyer a little closer, I began to wonder: He/she spent a total of $14.5K for the 2006 sedan and its upgraded batteries, etc. It has 3,360 miles on it (that tells you something right there). They are “hoping for $7,500.” Hopes are going to be dashed on the cruel rocks of eBay.

eBay’s listing for completed sales of Xebras are an eye-opener: A new ’08 Sedan just sold for $3550; a new ’08 pickup for $4200. Water eventually finds its level. And on Xebra forums, owners are offering ’06 models for “parting out.” Speaking of the forum, here’s a recent sample:

    These cars are pieces of crap! While working on mine to try to figure out what is wrong with it this time, I have discovered that the metal parts on the underside even after wire brushing, painting and undercoating last summer are rusted beyond repair, THEY NEED TO BE REPLACED. This POS is less than 18 months old and it has broken down on me and had parts break almost a dozen times. Out of that time it has been undrivable for 4-5 months. Not to mention the $2000.00+ dollars spent on batteries, heaters, and parts and towing. I AM DONE WITH THIS POS.

If this owner is lucky and can get $2K for it, they will have spent $3.75 per mile to “Save the Planet”. It’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it. Interested? I can put you in touch with them.

Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

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  • Davemurphy Davemurphy on Aug 27, 2009

    Hm, this is all great to know, especially since most of the feedback I've heard regarding the xebra has been positive (a few people in my neighborhood have one). I have heard, however, that they have plans to start manufacturing the cars here in the US (didn't they recently partner with a factory in Kentucky)? I'd be interested to test drive one of those models.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Feb 13, 2011

    [...] Chinese mid-seventies POC! I’ve had an inexplicable compulsion about finding a Chinese car (no, a Zap doesn’t count) for decades; it’s been a Niedermeyer family obsession since I sincerely offered my kids [...]

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.