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Earth2Tech’s Green Overdrive Visits ZAP Electric Vehicles

August 27, 2010 2 comments
Al Unser Jr. being interviewed at ZAP by Earth2Tech's Katie Fahrenbacher

Al Unser Jr. being interviewed at ZAP by Earth2Tech

A video production team from Earth2Tech Media’s Green Overdrive came out to ZAP on Monday to test drive our latest vehicles and meet ZAP Alias XPRIZE driver Al Unser Junior.  Katie Fehrenbacher and Chris Albrecht also caught up with ZAP CEO Steve Schneider and Founder Gary Starr.

Fehrenbacher acknowledged that ZAP is one of the oldest electric vehicle companies out there and asked Starr about ZAP’s initial approach.  Starr said ZAP started in 1994 by focusing on affordable electric vehicles, introducing electric bicycles, scooters, ATVs, trucks, then eventually cars.  During the segment Fehrenbacher has some fun on ZAP’s smallest EV, the wheel motor driven ZAPPY3 electric scooter.

ZAP also presented its new project with China’s Jonway Auto, an all electric SUV project launched a year ago.  Fehrenbacher brought up ZAP’s recent acquisition agreement to acquire a majority share in Jonway Auto with the right to acquire the rest by next year.  They went for a drive at freeway speeds in the ZAP Jonway all electric A380, a test drive eerily reminiscent of a video taken in December 2009.  Fehrenbacher asked how fast the electric SUV goes and ZAP engineer Joe Rajakaruna pointed out that they have never focused on top speeds, because for ZAP’s target market the focus is to comfortably travel freeway speeds, and indeed at minute 2:30 in the video Fehrenbacher estimates they easily reach 60 MPH.  The ZAP Jonway electric A380 is the official electric vehicle of the U.S. Pavilion at the World Fair in Shanghai.

Steve Schneider, Chief Executive Officer of ZAP

Steve Schneider

Later Fehrenbacher caught up with CEO Steve Schneider, touching on media reports critical of ZAP’s “failures” in delivering electric vehicles, a question that completely ignores the fact that ZAP has delivered over 117,000 of a broad range of electric vehicles from bikes, to scooters, to trucks.

Q: Katie Fehrenbacher: You talk a little bit about being misconstrued as a marketing company and a little bit about some of ZAP’s failures – SS: Mis-categorized — in being able to scale up manufacturing wise and I think there’s been a variety of dates missed on commercial productions that’s been widely reported…”

A: Steve Schneider: And I don’t think if you looked at any other auto manufacturer that is introducing a vehicle, that the dates that we targeted, (and we’re not a manufacturer; we had the contracts but we had third parties to deal with besides ourselves, but I don’t think you could come up with a manufacturer that hasn’t come out with a product that has missed their target date and had control of their manufacturing), we never had control of our manufacturing, so we always gave the target dates that our contract manufacturers had given to us.  And so, because of those things and missing those target dates, we focused very heavily in the last 18 months to have our own manufacturing capacity so that we can control that.  We still might miss a target date like everyone else, but at least we’re in control of it, we were not in control of it before.

Despite the inquiry on ZAP’s ability to deliver electric vehicles, there is no mention in Green Overdrive’s video of its most popular EV currently, the ZAP XL electric truck.  ZAP recently sold a small fleet of electric trucks to the City of Riverside.  Likewise, there was no mention of ZAP’s engineering contract with the U.S. Postal Service to convert one of its Long Life Vehicles to run on electricity. Obviously there is much more going on at ZAP than you can cover in a 5 minute video.  You can watch a 30 minute tour of ZAP by Steve Schneider on YouTube that covers the XL truck and USPS contract.

Al Unser Jr. with the ZAP Alias electric car

Al Unser Jr. with the ZAP Alias electric car

Finally, Fehrenbacher interviewed Al Unser Jr., two-time winner of the Indy 500 and co-driver for the ZAP Alias team entered in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.

Katie Fehrenbacher: So you’re doing this partly for environmental reasons, becoming a do-gooder after a lifetime of driving race cars.

Al Unser Jr.: I’m doing this mainly to develop the automobile in the area of alternative fuels and getting away from the addiction to the petroleum products.

KF: What do you think of it compared to a gas based car?

AU: I loved it , the major difference first and foremost is how quiet it is; there’s just no sound coming out of it. And it’s instant power, I noticed that the torque is very high on it, when you drive the car, it drives just like a regular car, except again for how quiet it is, it’s just super quiet.

KF: You think that’s a good thing, you don’t miss the big, booming engines?

AU: Not at all.

Learn more about the ZAP Alias Team entered in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE on their Team Blog.

See more at Earth2Tech’s Green Overdrive.

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Tennessee Solar Carport Plugs ZAP Electric Truck

August 26, 2010 3 comments
The Southeast's first solar parking structure was dedicated in Tennessee with the help of a ZAP electric truck.

A ZAP XL electric truck was on hand for the opening of a new solar parking facility.

Parking lots are going solar all over the world, but the first one in the Southeastern United States was dedicated this week in the EV-friendly state of Tennessee with the help of a ZAP XL electric truck.

Solar Carport in Pulaski, Tennessee

Solar Parking Structure in TN

Pulaski, Tennessee dedicated its first parking area solar array with integrated electric vehicle (EV) charging capacity capable of generating over 20kW of electricity. Congressman Lincoln Davis did the honors of switching on the array, sending the sun’s energy into the grid. Located at Richland, LLC in Pulaski, Tenn., this solar array represents the first step in a growing EV charging network. The parking array produces enough energy to run nearly four typical American homes and is an integral part to the success of EVs.

Organizers had the ZAP XL electric truck on hand to demonstrate the solar charging station and give test rides.   ZAP has sold several hundred electric trucks to the U.S. Government, U.S. Army, Park Services, Universities, Hospitals, Municipalities, Corporations, Small Businesses and individuals.  You can even order your XL truck with a solar panel.

The project was made possible with cooperation of the State of Tennessee, the USDA, Pulaski Electric System and Tennessee Valley Authority.

News story from WSMV about Solar Carport

Click Image for WSMV News Story

ZAP Electric Truck Delivering Ice at the Air Show

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s 100 degrees out at the annual air show this past Sunday. I’m walking around dying from thirst and all the lines for refreshments are prohibitively long, when I notice this red pickup truck pulling up to a vendor that seems shut down.

It’s the ZAP Xebra electric truck filled with ice and they proceed to unload a couple of ice chests and the vendor is back in business. Luckily I had my iPhone and snapped this quick video. Then I had an ice cold water!

It’s always a treat to be out and about and find someone using a ZAP electric vehicle that you didn’t expect. All throughout the show I noticed a wide variety of different vehicles at work. Some of the golf carts used by management were electric, but there were also several annoyingly loud and smelly gas utility vehicles delivering supplies or collecting garbage that in my humble opinion should not be used at events where there are large gatherings of people. They sound like tractors and you can’t hear when they drive by leaving behind a cloud of exhaust.  I was almost thinking this when suddenly the ZAP truck appeared!

This is a great move by the vendors at the Air Show. Electric trucks like this are now available, larger and with many more options. Hopefully more event organizers will realize how much better they are for airports, air shows and large events.

If you ever get a chance, visit the Pacific Coast Air Museum. They organize the annual Wings Over the Wine Country, Sonoma County’s annual Air Show every August at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County International Airport (STS). It really is a blast, but wear plenty of sunscreen and show up early to park your folding chair under a vacant airplane wing and you will be in for a great show.

And to whomever decided to use the ZAP truck to deliver ice… I owe you a cold one!

Army of One Makes Electric Truck Fleet a Reality

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

April 20, 2010 – The U.S. Army this Earth Day gave out its highest individual environmental award to the person responsible for deploying ZAP trucks on a military base in Korea, Environmental Chief Robert J. Chartier.

Former environmental chief Robert Chartier

Mr. Robert J. Chartier, the former environmental division chief at the Army's Daegu Korea installation, captured the individual award in the environmental quality category of the FY 2009 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards Program. Chartier competed with teams and individuals from across the Army for this honor and was the only individual Army environmental award winner this year.

According to a press release, “Mr. Robert Chartier captured the individual award in the environmental quality category of the FY2009 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards Program… Chartier competed with teams and individuals from across the Army for this honor; the only individual Army award bestowed this year.”

Other military bases have followed Chartier’s example with electric truck purchases of their own.  Fleet operators like the greater payload and save hundreds of dollars a week by using the energy efficient trucks for jobs in which a larger gas truck isn’t needed.  Several large EV fleet operators have acquired ZAP electric trucks and vans in the past year.

Designs for an all-electric SUV in partnership with Jonway Auto of China are now available in China for government, corporate and taxi fleets.  ZAP is in talks with distribution partners in places like Korea to further expand distribution in Asia.

Chartier did much more than implement electric vehicle technology, he created a multifaceted plan that included community outreach, environmental awareness events, such as the Earth Day 5K, tree planting, environmental displays at the Armed Forces Day Open house, developing the first International Organization of Standardization 14001 environmental management system for an overseas base, an improved waste and recycling program, and a wetland restoration project at Camp Carroll in Daegu.  Read below and follow the links to learn more about the amazing accomplishments of Robert J. Chartier.  Thank you, Chief!

Press Release from U.S. Army Environmental Command:

Environmental Quality Award Pictures ZAP Electric Truck

U.S. Army Environmental Quality Award Nomination Pictures ZAP Electric Truck

Chartier was recognized for his superb management of all environmental program areas for the Daegu garrison. “It’s always an honor to be recognized, especially at this level; however, many of these achievements would never have been possible had it not been for the outstanding support I received from my entire environmental staff and the Daegu garrison leadership who supported my vision for the direction of the environmental program.

From Award Nomination: “Mr. Chartier conducted research with the garrison Directorate of Logistics and received approval from the command to purchase a small fleet of Zero Air Pollution (ZAP) electric trucks to help the command meet its fleet vehicle managemetn goal.  The ZAP electric truck, a small pickup truck used on USAG Daegu, performs better than the Neighborhood Electric Vehicles issued to installations in the continental U.S.  The installation purchased five trucks, providing them to the Fire Inspector, Department of Public Works, Environemtnal Division and the Safety Office.  These replaced the gasoline-fueled non-tactical vehicles currently in use.”

From recycling to wetland restoration to electric vehicles, Chartier’s vision was felt throughout the garrison, and even outside the gates.

Below is a video of our XL truck, similar to the ones now being used in Korea.

KCBS Radio Interview with ZAP Founder Gary Starr on 100 MPGe XPRIZE

August 10, 2010 Leave a comment

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KCBS) _ Santa Rosa-based ZAP, which specializes in electric scooters, bikes and trucks, has reached the finals of the Progressive Automotive X Prize competition.

ZAP Alias XPRIZE Team Leader and ZAP Founder Gary Starr

At stake is not only international recognition, but also a share of a $10 million prize.

The contest began with 136 super-fuel efficient vehicles from 111 teams, all trying to achieve 100 miles per gallon with a production-ready car.

Recorded Radio Broadcast — Click to listen

ZAP founder Gary Starr said their car, the three-wheeled Alias is 100 percent electric.

“This vehicle is very fast at acceleration. It was one of the fastest vehicles at the entire race,” said Starr. “Yet it’s very comfortable and quiet because it’s all electric.”

The teams included emerging startups, entrepreneurs and universities from around the world.

Starr said the competition is now in the final technical testing stage.

“There’s a validation process that includes going into various testing grounds,” he said. “Then they’re going to announce the final winners in September in Washington D.C.”

Starr said they have already proven they have a pretty interesting car that’s ready for the marketplace and in September, if the Alias wins the competition, he said it would just be the icing on the cake.

ZAP Delivers Fleet of Electric Trucks

August 4, 2010 1 comment

Mayor Ron Loveridge accepts keys to one of the new electric vehicles purchased from Ramon Alvarez, owner of Alvarez ZAP.

Mayor Ron Loveridge accepts keys to one of the new electric vehicles purchased from Ramon Alvarez, owner of Alvarez ZAP.

New Dealership Alvarez ZAP Makes Sale to City of Riverside

SANTA ROSA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Electric vehicle pioneer ZAP (OTCBB:ZAAPNews) today announced that its newest dealer, Alvarez ZAP, has opened in Riverside, California and will be serving commercial and government markets throughout the entire Inland Empire.

Alvarez ZAP has delivered its first shipment of six electric trucks to the City of Riverside during a Grand Opening press conference last week. While accepting keys to one of the vehicles, Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge said, “Today we take another step forward in the greening of Riverside by transitioning from gas to electrically operated vehicles. We are proud to add ZAP trucks to our fleet.”

Dealer president, Ramon Alvarez is widely recognized as one of the leading Hispanic entrepreneurs in the Inland Empire through his long time affiliation with Lincoln, Mercury and Jaguar. Also attending the Grand Opening were six City Councils members and the City Manager as well as Joel Ayala representing the Governors’ office of Economic Development.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Alvarez to the New Motor Vehicle Board in March 2007 and Alvarez is now a Vice President of that organization. He stated, “As a member of the New Motor Vehicle Board, I have seen the evolution of alternative energy vehicles to the point where they are moving into the automotive mainstream and I believe ZAP represents the best opportunity to capitalize on that trend.”

Commenting on Alvarez’s decision to become the newest ZAP electric vehicle dealer, ZAP CEO Steven Schneider said, “Ramon has passion and understanding…he genuinely gets it. He knows the importance that new energy vehicles play today and in the marketplace of tomorrow.”

About ZAP

ZAP is one of the world’s oldest and most experienced electric vehicle providers, having delivered over 117,000 of a broad range of vehicles to more than 75 countries since 1994. ZAP supplies electric trucks and vans to military, government and corporate fleets and is an innovator of electric motorcycles, scooters and ATVs. The Santa Rosa, California based company offers some of the only electric city-speed cars and trucks in production today and is leveraging its accrued technology know-how in developing a cost effective high-speed electric car called the ZAP Alias. Further news and information is available at https://zapglobal.wordpress.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, continued acceptance of ZAP’s products, increased levels of competition, new products and technological changes, ZAP’s dependence upon third-party suppliers, intellectual property rights and other risks detailed from time to time in the ZAP’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6384864〈=en

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6384864

Contact:

ZAP
Alex Campbell, +1-707-525-8658 ext. 241
Corporate Communications
acampbell@zapworld.com
or
Pat Meier Associates Public Relations, for ZAP
Pat Meier-Johnson, 415-389-1700
patmeier@patmeier.com

ZAP Alias Among 6 Electric Finalists Remaining in X PRIZE

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

The Wave II Passed the ZAP Alias Midway through the Final X PRIZE  Race

The ZAP Alias, the most production-looking and production-ready electric car competing in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, has survived in a competitive, international field of 115 teams and 136 vehicles down to the final six electric vehicles remaining in the competition. Now it moves onto dynamometer testing at Argonne National Labs with the remaining 9 vehicles to validate the final efficiency numbers and declare a winner.

Aptera in the X PRIZE Charging Tent before the final  race

The ZAP Alias is in the most competitive class of the X PRIZE, the Alternative Side-by-Side category with two-seats in a side-by-side configuration.  Other classes are Tandem seating for two and Mainstream for four.  From the $10 Million purse contributed by Progressive Insurance, the two Alternative Classes are competing for $2.5 million each with the Mainstream Class for $5 million. Monotracer and Edison2, each with two vehicles, are the last teams in their classes, while the 5-team Alternative Side-by-Side Class is a dogfight to the finish.

One of the most dramatic moments of the X PRIZE was a 100 MPGe “race” that Edison2 team leader Oliver Kuttner dubbed “The Race of the Century.” A time trial with five futuristic cars was held at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 as a tie-breaker in case more than one finished over 100+ MPG or energy equivalent.  Competitors included our own ZAP Alias, the well-known Aptera 2e, the quirky, slippery Wave II from North Carolina, the powerful, expensive RaceAbout from Finland, and the tiny, minimalist TW4XP from Germany.

Read More at the ZAP Alias Electric Car Blog: