ZAP Gets New Chairman from Dubai

The ever-evolving saga of the electric car company ZAP Motors has added a new chapter today. The maker of the three-wheeled, all-electric Xebra, has appointed Eqbal Al Yousuf as Chairman of the Board. Al Yousuf is President of Dubai’s Al Yousuf Group, a business conglomerate based in the United Arab Emirates.

Al Yousuf has been helping bankroll the 13-year old electric car maker since his company bought $5 million worth of ZAP stock in November, and more recently, it purchased nearly half a million dollars in convertible debt from the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based company. ZAP’s Co-founder and current Chairman Gary Starr will remain on the board of directors and continue his role in the company, ZAP says.

Perhaps this could be the leadership change that ZAP has so desperately needed for the last decade. Gary Starr, who wrested the company from his co-founder in 1999, has had SEC complaints filed against him.  A recent issue  of WIRED featured a lengthy expose about ZAP Motors’ allegedly shady dealings. Over the years, Starr’s ZAP has promised many great offers to its customers and dealers but has delivered very few actual cars.

Al Yousuf’s first test will come with the delivery of the Alias, ZAP’s new three-wheeled electric vehicle, originally scheduled for January 2008 and now slated for 2009. Meanwhile, the four-wheeled ZAP-X, ZAP’s first full-on car, scheduled for release in 2010 with an estimated $60,000 price tag, has us really wondering if ZAP can become a real car company. ZAP brought in Lotus engineer Albert Lam to help with the design. With a team of serious car makers and serious businessmen, perhaps ZAP can boost itself out of its 13-year rut.

Image courtesy of ZAP Motors.


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