the latest electric option for getting around downtown Naperville.
Patrons of downtown Naperville have options when it comes to finding electric people-movers to ferry them around the busy city center.
Three Za Cars — four-wheeled, six-person electric vehicles — have been transporting passengers on downtown Naperville streets for $1 a person for the last few months, said Mike Belgio, owner of Naperville's Za Cars.
Belgio was originally a co-owner of Tuk Tuk Naperville, but split with his business partner after about a year-and-a-half to bring his own fleet of electric vehicles to the Naperville market, Belgio said.
"I've been in transportation for almost 30 years," Belgio said. "This was a neat niche that me and my ex-partner came up with. I thought it was something I wanted to keep going with."
While both Tuk Tuks and Za Cars are electric and seat six people, the vehicles are different in appearance. Za Cars, for example, have four wheels while Tuk Tuks have three.
"Ours are fully enclosed in the winter, and in the summertime we take the doors off," Belgio said. "It's a fun mode of transportation from a home to downtown or to a parking lot."
Za Cars are made by Polaris, a company known for producing snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.
"It's a very well-built machine," Belgio said. "We started with three (vehicles). I knew the demand was there, and so far its been a big hit."
Despite being heated and fully enclosed, Za Cars are not insulated like a regular car. "It's weather permitting. When it's really really cold, we haven't been operating," Belgio said.
Belgio says he split from Tuk Tuk when he and his partner Bill Hamik began having different views on the future of the company. "I'm just trying to get it out there that we are separate owners, but we offer the same type of service," Belgio said.
"We recognize Za Cars are another electric vehicle company in Naperville, and we wish them success," Hamik said.
Za Cars typically operate from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 4 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
By John Smith posted July 20, 2018