ZAP Xebra SedanEnlarge Photo
Back in 2009, we told you about the official National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall of the 2008 Zap Xebra three-wheeled electric motorcycle.
At the time, the NHTSA said the recall was to rectify an excessively long braking distance, which U.S. electric vehicle vendor Zap and the Chinese maker of the vehicle, Qingqi group Motorcycle Co., had proposed a fix for.
Now, nearly three years after the original safety recall was announced, the NHSTA has released another official recall: to address the same problem.
According to the NHSTA, Zap USA is recalling all Zap Xebras made during 2008, after it became apparent that they fail to meet the braking distance requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No.122, which governs motorcycle braking systems.
As before, the NHSTA reports that the affected vehicles take too long to stop, increasing the crash risk.
Because of its speed, size and number of wheels, the Zap Xebra classifies as a motorcycle, not a car.
That meant it had to undergo less stringent safety tests before being allowed on sale. In fact, under motorcycle laws, airbags, crumple zones and most impact tests aren’t even required.
Popular with gated communities and in some states where local laws permit slow-moving vehicles on roads with posted speed limits of less than 25 mph, the Zap Xebra was made between 2006 and 2009, giving zero-emissions fun to hundreds of drivers across the U.S.
However, with a limited top speed of 40 mph (less in some states), and a tiny 5-kilowatt motor, the Xebra soon lost popularity when cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevrolet Volt were announced.
Owners of existing Zap Xebra cars that were made during 2008 can find out more information on the recall at the NHTSA website.