By Michael Collins

Los Angeles magazine’s “LA to Z” issue – December 1997

ZAP bicycleElectric bicycle, or the sensation of being stopped by a cop riding one. The ZAP Force bile has a 0.75-horsepower electric engine powered by a 12-volt battery.

ZAP Power Systems, a company launched three years ago in Sonoma County, began manufacturing the bikes as part of the statewide CALSTART program to supplement the dwindling aerospace business with a new alternative-fuel vehicle industry. ZAP markets to the public as well as to police departments and has sold 6,000 bikes in 30 countries.

Bikes cost from $449 to $949 and have a range of 15 to 20 miles before a three-cent recharge. The ZAP can achieve a speed of 20 miles per hour — faster than rush-hour traffic on most local freeways.