Electric cars have huge potential to change the auto industry, particularly with rising gas prices, but a new design out of California targets the niche of busy urban drivers. The Zap Xebra all-electric car is a 40-mph, three-wheeled automobile designed for people who do a lot of in-town driving. Unlike hybrids, the Zap car needs no gas at all – just plug into any conventional outlet. Zap sees a market with multicar families that are looking for the fuel-savings benefits electrics offer for urban commuting and errands. Many view it as a great second car for in-town driving, but according to Zap it soon becomes the first car for the entire family. “Many people buy electric cars because they want to use them when they don’t need their gas cars,” said Alex Campbell, spokesman for Zap. “What they quickly realize is that most of their daily trips are perfect for electric cars and realistically it becomes the first car.” Studies show that most driving trips are within 20 miles of home – distances well within the city limit for the Xebra, which can travel up to 40 miles per charge, Campbell said. When consumers have a choice between driving an electric car and a gas car, they are likely to choose the electric car, Campbell said. He says Zap’s Xebra project is the offspring of more than three decades of thought and evolution in electric transportation. The car was created as a breed by itself because the use and purpose of electric vehicles is different than gas cars. At about 3 cents per mile – compared to 12 cents or more for gas – there is no comparison for cost-conscious consumers. With rising gas prices, people will be much more open to this unique new cost-effective design, he said.