Tesla Motors' days as the only electric car dealership in Menlo Park may be numbered.
ZAP!, a Santa Rosa-based electric vehicle company, is in talks with the city to open a dealership at 550 El Camino Real — the site of the abandoned Buick/Cadillac/GMC dealership.
Menlo Park Business Development Manager David Johnson said the city has been in talks with ZAP! since late 2007.
"This fulfills our mission to have the lights on and people occupying these buildings while we go through the visioning process for El Camino Real," said Mr. Johnson. He noted that ZAP! would likely be a short-term tenant — similar to Tesla Motors, which opened a showroom in June at the vacant Anderson Chevrolet dealership at 300 El Camino Real.
Dan Reuter, president and CEO of Ethical Approach, the company that handles distribution for ZAP!, said the electric car company is "very interested" in opening a Menlo Park dealership, but put the odds of a Menlo Park dealership actually getting built at "about a 50/50 chance." He said the main building on the 550 El Camino Real lot needs about $60,000 of repairs, and the automaker still has to work out details of the potential dealership with Stanford University, which owns the land.
Judging by the specs of ZAP! vehicles, they aren't intended to hit the freeways, like the trendy Tesla Roadster.
The company's three-wheeled, zero-emissions Xebra sedans and trucks have max speeds of 40 miles per hour, and can travel just 25 miles on a single charge.
But the ZAP! vehicles are significantly cheaper than the $109,000 Roadster. The Xebra sedan is listed at $11,700, and the truck costs $12,500, according to the ZAP! Web site.
The company also has a $32,500 three-wheeled sports car called the Alias set for a 2009 release, and a $60,000 sports utility vehicle called the Zap-X set for 2010, according to the Web site. Those two models can travel for longer distances per battery charge, and can hit higher speeds.