Archive for the ‘History of ZAP’ Category

Editorial: State can’t unlink its future from China’s

January 4, 2011 1 comment

This editorial appeared in the Sacramento Bee in December, but we reprint it here to offer insight into ZAP’s electric vehicle strategy in China over the past 13 years.

With all the irritations between the United States and China, it is worth noting some opportunities for “competitive cooperation.”

Representatives from Wells Fargo, Deloitte & Touche, and the Bay Area Council helped dedicate the MOU signing between ZAP, Jonway and Yangup.

The latest agreements signed this month between the United States and China should make U.S. businesses more competitive in selling everything from industrial machinery and telecom devices to equipment for large-scale wind farms.

California, particularly, is poised in coming years to benefit from the exchange – if we can get past the usual China-bashing that is a staple of the election campaign season.

For example, companies that participate in the construction of wind farms will now be able to participate in projects to install wind farms in China. Until now, they were not able to participate because their non-Chinese experience could not be used for qualification as a bidder on a China-based project. The new commitment by China will allow those companies to gain access.

California companies with wind farm construction experience could benefit from this new commitment by China.

And as Jennifer Turner of the Wilson Center has said, in many cases, combining the strengths of innovative U.S. technologies and Chinese manufacturing capacity can be an important driver of economic growth and jobs here and in China.

But we have to be looking for commonalities and opportunities. For example, California and China are earthquake prone. China’s going to need to build 30,000 hospitals in the next 10 years. California has a lot of health care companies and a lot of experience building hospitals to meet earthquake standards. That is an exportable skill set.

ZAP Founder showing electric motorcycle to Chien Lu, Party Secretary from Shanghai's Yangpu Province.

ZAP Founder showing electric motorcycle to Chen Yin, Party Secretary from Shanghai

The power, transportation, water and building materials sectors look particularly promising for California in forging unusual cross-border partnerships with China.

Here is one small example. California has many of the leading companies and innovators in the electric-vehicle industry.

Santa Rosa-based ZAP Electric Vehicles announced an agreement during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s September trade mission to China whereby new plug-in vehicle technologies designed in California, combined with China-based manufacturing, will allow ZAP to provide electric charging stations, battery swap-out stations, as well as electric vehicle maintenance and repair depots in Shanghai’s Yangpu District.

Irvine-based Fisker Automotive has signed an agreement with a Chinese retailer to sell its sports luxury plug-in hybrid cars at 200 outlets in China.

Of the five biggest solar plants in China, infrastructure (such as polysilicon production equipment, crystalline ingot growth systems and fusion furnaces) comes from the United States, creating jobs here. Certainly, manufacturing solar panels in China creates jobs in China. But jobs also are created here at the project location.

Consider wind turbines. Designed here. Some components manufactured here, some in China. Assembled in China. Pylons built here. Installation here. Power generation here. Both sides get jobs.

The picture is much more complex than the “shipping jobs to China” slogan we hear every election season. If we embrace the concept of “cooperative competition” – even as we continue as a nation to seek enforceable agreements against pirating, protectionism and manipulated currency in China – we can take advantage of our strengths to make economic progress during this time of difficult economic transition.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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In Electric Car Memoriam: Actor Leslie Nielsen (1926–2010)

November 30, 2010 4 comments


Leslie Nielsen's autographed photo, "To ZAP - ZAP the World!!"

Actor and electric car advocate Leslie Nielsen.

Hollywood marked the passing of actor Leslie Nielsen at age 84, but it was his contributions to the electric car world and ZAP that we remember most.

Actor Leslie Nielsen next to the Nieman Marcus electric car by Solar Electric Engineering.

Leslie Nielsen in a 1993 promotion of U.S. Electricar's GT electric car in the Nieman Marcus Catalog.

Famous for his later roles in the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” comedies, Leslie Nielsen was indeed an early electric car advocate, long before they became popular and before billions in funding were given to those who fought electric cars.  He owned two different electric cars converted by Solar Electric Engineering (now Enova Systems).

Long-time electric car advocate Gary Starr developed a friendship with Nielsen, and when Starr founded ZAP in 1994, Nielsen became one of the very first shareholders and customers.

He helped promote electric cars by driving a Destiny 2000 from Solar Electric, built specially for the 1991 film Naked Gun 2-1/2.  Directed by David Zucker, the comedy depicted a cabal of power elite led by actor Robert Goulet trying to prevent the public from knowing about the benefits of the electric car. In the 1994 sequel “Naked Gun 33-1/3: The Final Insult,” it’s interesting to note that Nielsen backs his electric car over OJ Simpson.

Nielsen will be remembered most for the range of his acting talent.  Few actors were able to successfully transition from dramatic roles to comedy, but Nielsen “made it look easy,” according to CNN.

He loved to joke around whenever he visited ZAP and usually had his favorite rubber chicken or whoopee cushion on-hand.  Perhaps some of Nielsen’s fun-loving personality rubbed off on ZAP because the famous rubber chicken made an appearance this year to lighten the mood during several anxious moments leading up to the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.

Thank you, Leslie for making us laugh and for doing your part for the electric car movement!

The Destiny 2000 solar electric car from Naked Gun 2-1/2: The Smell of Fear

From the 1991 film "Naked Gun 2-1/2: The Smell of Fear"

Samyang Optics Takes Delivery of First Alias Electric Car from ZAP Jonway

September 10, 2010 1 comment

ZAP Jonway sells first Alias electric car to Samyang Optics of Korea

ZAP Jonway sells first Alias electric car to Samyang Optics of Korea

SANTA ROSA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The first Alias electric car from industry pioneer ZAP Jonway (OTCBB:ZAAPNews) has been sold to distribution partner Samyang Optics (Kospi: 008080.KSE) of Korea.

Samyang Optics has taken delivery of a red Alias that first appeared at National Automobile Dealers Association Expo in New Orleans. The same Alias debuted to the public earlier this year at the Korea EV Challenge, sponsored by Samyang Optics.

Samyang Optics and ZAP Jonway have formed a business venture to introduce electric vehicles (EVs) to Korea. The government’s goal is to commercialize EVs and capture 10 percent of the global market by 2015. Korea wants EVs to comprise 10 percent of domestic small car sales by 2020.

More on ZAP Alias Electric Car Blog ===>

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.

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30min Video Tour of ZAP in Santa Rosa, California with CEO Steve Schneider

July 18, 2010 2 comments

A delegation of Japanese business people came to ZAP in early June from Usami Co., a chain of gas stations throughout Japan. This is part 1 of a 3 part series about what’s happening at ZAP with special clips of the Volkswagen, Worldcar, Smart Car, Sam Cree and Xebra with shots of our CEO talking about his background and how he joined up with ZAP. The tour includes our dealer showroom in downtown Santa Rosa. Thankz for watching!

ZAP: Then and Now

March 27, 2010 Leave a comment

A short history of history of a pioneering company and the development of the ZAP Alias

In order to understand the history of the ZAP Alias entry in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize (PIAXP), one needs to appreciate the origins of ZAP, which is a challenge unto itself since ZAP was founded in 1994, over 15 years ago, making it one of the earliest companies to enter the EV business.  So, please be patient, this could take awhile.

ZAP was founded on September 23, 1994 as ZAP Power Systems in Sebastopol, California, a venture started by EV entrepreneur and ZAP PIAXP Team Captain Gary Starr, with his previous experience in electric vehicles, as well as other electric vehicle developers and advocates.  Starr had previous experience with electric cars including Solar Electric Engineering and U.S. Electricar, which is currently known as Enova Systems . Starr was involved in more than 600 electric car conversions between 1989 and 1994 from Ford Escorts, GEO PrizmsChevy S-10sToyota Paseos, S-10 Blazer SUVs, Pontiac Fieros and various kit cars, with subsequent sales to Hollywood celebrities, government agencies, military bases, the US Post Office, Ford and GM. He left that venture to start ZAP believing there was a growing opportunity in smaller bicycle and scooter EV designs that could be affordable for a greater number of people.  Continued…

Putting the ‘ZAP’ in transportation for 15 years

March 16, 2010 Leave a comment

ZAP was founded in 1994 to create an automotive company that stands for the environment and for the future. In an era when government and industry are debating how to solve our growing transportation problems, ZAP has been a pioneer in providing cost effective advanced transportation solutions and helping to create a paradigm shift in transportation.  Indeed, ZAP has designed, manufactured and shipped over 117,000 electric vehicles, ranging from electric bikes to electric scooters, ATVs, cars, vans and trucLogo for electric vehicle pioneer ZAPks, to over 75 countries.

The logo for electric vehicle pioneer ZAP

ZAP is 15 years old.

ZAP is a business opportunity at a pivotal moment in history when average people around the world are coming to grips with pollution, rising fuel prices, traffic congestion, parking shortages, noise pollution, endangered habitats and species—the list goes on. The technology is available and the timing is right for a small group of entrepreneurs to save the world that we all love, for our children, grandchildren and beyond.

ZAP stands for Zero Air Pollution®.  Indeed, this ubiquitous word ‘zap,’ because of its active, succinct nature, has been a cultural icon since beyond reckoning, but we believe that now ‘zap’ has finally found a new positive meaning.  In fact the word ‘zap’ has been defined as a small electrical charge.  As a pioneer in electric vehicles, ZAP vehicles have become synonymous with electric vehicles.  People often call electric bikes ZAP Bikes, or electric scooters a ZAPPY®.

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