SANTA ROSA, Calif. (December 17, 2010) – Electric car pioneer ZAP (OTC BB: ZAAP) this week began project planning with the government of Shanghai’s Yangpu District to develop a Green City Zone in Yangpu’s downtown area, a university and research hub that is home to 1.24 million people. Based on an MOU partnership agreement signed in San Francisco on November 19, 2010, the project plans to reduce carbon emissions in Yangpu using electric vehicles (EVs) for its public transportation while installing an EV charging infrastructure, battery swap-out stations and maintenance support centers.
The partnership agreement with Yangpu government is a direct result of Governor Schwarzenegger’s trade delegation to Shanghai in September this year, sponsored by the Bay Area Council, and is one of the first formal initiatives between the two regions.
Party Secretary Chen Yin attended the signing ceremony in San Francisco on November 19, 2010. At the ceremony, Party Secretary Chen said that improving air quality, “green” urban mobility and development of clean energy infrastructure are some of the key initiatives of Yangpu in the next few years. He indicated that this agreement shows the beginning of growing ties between two of the world’s leading technology innovation centers, Yangpu and the Bay Area, especially in the development of clean technology. Within the 24 square mile district of Yangpu there are 14 universities surrounding the Knowledge Innovation Center (KIC), a technology community that includes Fudan University and Tongji University, making this area one of the leading research centers in China on Clean Tech.
“New plug-in vehicle technologies from ZAP, together with Jonway’s cost effective manufacturing in China, will accelerate the implementation of our Green Project with Yangpu. This truly bridges the best aspects of both the US and China, leveraging the strengths of the technological innovation in the Bay Area and Yangpu,” said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider.
According to the framework of the partnership, ZAP will provide an electric car charging infrastructure, battery swap out stations, as well as EV maintenance and repair depots in Yangpu. ZAP will work with Yangpu’s government agencies, local universities, and private corporations on plans to further expand zero-emission transportation in the city.
“We have just started the initial planning of this long term project. The hard work of implementation and operations is ahead of us. We believe that the project planning and resourcing will be a yearlong process. We are pleased to be part of Yangpu’s Green Project and share Party Secretary Chen Yin’s vision and commitment to delivering his objectives,” says ZAP Chairman Dr. Priscilla Lu.
To execute these plans and better access the Chinese market, ZAP Jonway will open its EV sales and operations office in the Yangpu District and plans to establish its research and development engineering center in the district to take advantage of the university communities.
Based in Santa Rosa, ZAP has been a pioneer in the electric vehicle industry since 1994, engaging in the design, development, commercialization and distribution of 100% pure electric vehicles and power systems, and delivering a wide range of vehicle designs to consumers and fleet customers in the United States and international markets for sixteen years. The company supplies electric trucks and vans to military, government and corporate fleets and offers personal transportation products including electric motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and some of the only electric city-speed vehicles in production today. ZAP is also developing a freeway capable electric vehicle called the ZAP Alias that was a finalist in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.
Jonway is the trade name of Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co., Ltd., an automobile manufacturer based in Taizhou, Zhejiang, China that currently produces several thousand units per year of two SUV models, the A380 3-door and the A380 5-door. Built in 2009, Jonway’s modern 3.6 million square foot factory on 141 acres is ISO9000 certified and has the capacity to produce up to 30,000 units per year. It employs over 800 workers and distributes its vehicles in China through 80 factory direct dealers and hundreds of factory authorized dealers. Jonway Auto is a subsidiary of Jonway Group, which has been a leader in the manufacturing of motorcycles, ATVs and related products for more than 20 years.
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.
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ZAP (Jonway) USA
Alex Campbell, +1-707-525-8658 ext. 241
ZAP (Jonway) China
Jessica Gao, +86 13511038395
We enter an historic time with real, mainstream electric cars poised to come to market. Still, there seems to be a great deal of confusion and controversy around them, which is one reason why we like the new documentary premiering in Hollywood on December 14, “What is the Electric Car?” but not the only reason.
NEW! – Slide Show from Premiere
We really like “What is the Electric Car?” because our very own Ginny is one of the stars of the film. Yes, THE Virginia (Ginny) Scales-Medeiros, mother of two, entrepreneur, inventor, auto maven and electric car proponent extraordinaire.
The story of how Ginny earned a role in the documentary “What is the Electric Car?” is somewhat ironic. Ginny is perhaps the most outgoing, gregarious person we work with, and the perfect person to help represent ZAP for its Detroit Auto Show debut. 2010 was the very first year that Detroit’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) hosted a display dedicated to electric cars called “Electric Avenue.” ZAP was invited to display its Alias electric car in Detroit as part of the lead-up to the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.
Now, working an auto show is tough, but Detroit is a doozy, running for two weeks. We were confident in Ginny though, and naturally she came out a champ, fielding inquiries for ZAP, helping make valuable connections and introducing ZAP to Motor City. It was during the show that we met up with Scott duPont, Cam MacGregor, and Ken Grant, producers from the documentary “What is the Electric Car?” walking around the show gathering material for the up-coming film. He came by the X PRIZE booth and arranged an interview with ZAP executive Eric Peterson who also appears in the documentary. He gave them a quick update on the company and the ZAP Alias and they were off to meet with other electric car experts and we thought that was the end of it.
Little did we know, the producers were on a quest to find “real electric car owners.” There were a host of people representing electric cars at the Detroit Auto Show, but only a very few who actually owned one and used it on a daily basis. Leave it to Ginny to find this out, not on the show floor, but during the complimentary continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn, Detroit.
According to Ginny, she remembers walking out of the elevator still wearing her pajamas and feeling embarrassed when she noticed Scott duPont wearing his usual smart, show-biz attire. She was eating breakfast and it was somewhat busy, but she overheard duPont saying he was looking for someone who actually drives an electric car, and being Ginny, she spoke up immediately.
“I drive an electric car,” she interjected.
You probably had to be there, but she laughs when she remembers the look the producers gave her.
“They looked at me in my pajamas like I just got out of bed with this expression, as if to say, ‘Yeah, right.’ They must have thought I was one of those groupies who will say anything to get a part in a movie.”
“You mean you’ve driven one?” duPont asked.
“‘No, I have nothing else but an electric car.’ I could tell they were skeptical at first. But I told them my whole story.”
Ginny told the producers all about how she started driving an electric car. She was just winding down from promoting her own product and was offered a job by ZAP’s CEO Steve Schneider who had worked with her in the past and had known her for over 20 years. In 2007, she started checking out the Xebra truck and tried a lease on one from ZAP. She was also driving a Mercedes S Class, but quickly realized she could save a lot of money by driving electric while meeting 95% of her daily driving, putting 600-800 miles per month in it. She also checked out PG&E’s E-9 Meter Program for electric car owners, which helps her get a discount on her utility bill. One of the perks of having the E-9 meter is that she is charged a lower rate during off peak hours and she estimates saving $100 or more a month on her overall utility bill. Subtract that from her lease and insurance, she estimates the Xebra is only costing her about $20 a month with the savings from the E-9 program. The insurance is so much less because the Xebra is classified as a low-speed motorcycle. She realized she could rent a gas car if she needed to take an extended trip, but even if she rented a car three times a month, it was still cheaper than the Mercedes, which she estimates was costing about $1,000 a month.
“This has become my main message to people about switching to an electric car,” says Ginny. “It’s fun helping people learn about electric cars and I also educate businesses when I drive around Santa Rosa and ask to plug in. People say, ‘How much is that going to cost me?’ When I reply, ‘Maybe 15 cents,’ they do a double-take, but when I show them how my old Mercedes was costing me $1,000 per month and a ZAP Xebra only $20 a month, they really start to get it. Also, I tell people that they don’t have to wait for electric cars; there are many affordable electric vehicles already on the market. That’s my main message.”
At this point, duPont was probably realizing that he had found what he was looking for, and an even rarer breed at that, someone that only drove an electric car. He asked for photos and video of Ginny with her electric car. He asked if he could see copies of her PG&E utility bill and information about the E-9 meter. He asked if he came to visit, would she show him her electric car.
Recently we learned that Ginny has a prominent role in the film, which includes some 50 electric car owners with their stories. With the film due to premier in Hollywood next week, Ginny is excited that she will be appearing, partly from a personal standpoint in educating people about electric transportation, but also because it helps ZAP.
“I’m proud to be a part of ZAP. I love living a simple, healthy lifestyle and ZAP has helped me accomplish this. I love being an entrepreneur, educating people about a better way to drive and making a difference for society. Working for ZAP let’s me do all that, and drive electric cars. It’s fun!”
One of our employees, Jeff Gettys, caught the preview screening last month and said it was great. The rest of us are looking forward to seeing it, not to mention Ginny, who is planning on attending the Hollywood Premier on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at the Historic Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. Ginny hasn’t stopped there. Now, she is talking to the producers about holding a showing of “What is the Electric Car?” in ZAP’s home town of Santa Rosa. Stay tuned, and please support the wonderful makers of the documentary by visiting the Official Website at http://www.whatistheelectriccar.com/ for ticket and DVD sales.
And don’t forget. If you use Facebook, you can enter to win a 100% electric car that will be given away December 14 simply when you ‘Like’ the Fan Page for “What is the electric car?”