Published on June 21st, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Zap Jonway Announces Rollout of 2013 EVs Including 5-Star Minivan

June 21st, 2013 by  

Editor’s Note: Zap Jonway isn’t exactly the electric vehicle household name that Tesla is, but it’s rolling out 2–4 (depending on how you count) new electric vehicles this year (in China). Notably, they use lead-acid batteries. Say what?

Zap Jonway, an automobile manufacturer headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, has unveiled its latest lineup of 2013 electric vehicles, including two versions of a 5-star minivan, a 3-Door E380 SUV, and a 5-Door E-Falcon SUV.

Zap Electric Taxi SUV. Image Credit: Zap Jonway

Zap Electric Taxi SUV.
Image Credit: Zap Jonway.

The 5-star minivan EV comes in two versions, the EV-L, and the minivan-LA. The EV-L is powered by lithium-ion batteries, and the minivan-LA is powered by lead-acid batteries. The minivan-LA is only $12,000!

According to the press release, the EV-L provides 148 HP, has a top speed of 68 MPH (110 kph) under load, and has a range of 87 miles. The lead-acid minivan-LA has a top speed of 80 kph and a range of 50 miles (80 km).

I was surprised to see that it offers a lead-acid model. Lead-acid batteries were abandoned in new electric vehicles long ago. Weight is so important to electric vehicles that the lower price tag of lead-acid batteries is offset by the extra lead-acid battery capacity that has to be purchased to compensate for the poor range of lead-acid batteries.

The poor range is caused by their weight (which is four times that of average laptop and cellphone lithium-ion batteries) and their poor efficiency (which can be up to 40% percentage points below that of li-ion batteries).

To give credit where it is due, lead-acid batteries have the lowest initial prices by far, and the potential to last the longest with very light usage (low depth-of-discharge/DOD). They can last 15 years with light usage, but electric cars unfortunately need as much energy as batteries can provide, so light usage is not very feasible for them, unless your trips are very short.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • les

    A380, E380 380 the term is an International trademark of Airbus It is not legal for ZAP Jonway to keep calling this vehicle the 380. In fact in China they call it the UFO by Jonway. One of these days Zap Jonway is going to be smacked by a trademark /patent infringement lawsuit.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Living in hot Florida, I don’t think I’ve ever had a lead acid car battery last more than 5 years. The ones in the APC(computer backup) rarely last more than three and its climate controlled. I’d like to know the type that lasted 15 years.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Look down the page to “Comparing Battery Types”.

      I’ve used up two sets of golf cart batteries. I got seven years out of one set, eight out of the other. That’s with daily cycling to (usually) less than 80% capacity.

      • Wayne Williamson

        Bob, thanks for the link.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    Zap Jonway?! Zapped the Wong Way? Just had to try.

    That’s so cool he has lead acid batteries. I had thought the whole reason Elon Musk was doing swappable batteries was to fix any flaws the batteries may have in the next eight years because lithium-ion’s have no track record. Using lead acid batteries in these zapper cars is a fantastic idea minimizing risk.

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