ZAP, headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., has been on the leading edge of all-electric transportation for a long time now, with some amazing electric vehicles on the market and in development. They make electric sedans, trucks; even scooters and ATVs. Two veteran automotive executives, H. Dennis Kammerer and Rodger L. Cornish, recently noted that electric car pioneer ZAP is already building all-electric models, and the US government should offer support to companies who are already building plug-in transportation.
I sat down with representatives from ZAP at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Annual Exposition, and I could tell from the way they talked about their vehicles that they’re extremely passionate about making vehicles that are emission-free and planet friendly. The company has come a long way in a short time.
Sure, gas went back down to semi-sane prices within the last few months, but if you believe that prices will stay low for very long—re-think it. The only reason gas is under three bucks a gallon right now is because the American people called the Oil Czars’ bluff and stopped driving like Formula I Indy 500 racer soccer moms and crazed commuters and started taking public transportation once in a while. When consumption plummeted, the Powers Behind the Pump had no choice but to lower prices. But, Americans have short memories, and although I don’t think we’ll ever see anything as environmentally irresponsible as the HUMMER ever again, people will be back wasting gas by summertime. At which point the Oil Pimps will raise the price back up to ulcer-inducing levels once more.
Now ZAP is going to partner with a company called Integrity Automotive in Shepherdsville, Kentucky to manufacture electric vehicles. It’s good news for the environment and good for the economy as well.
Integrity Automotive, LLC along with electric vehicle partner ZAP (OTCBB: ZAAP) announced today important progress in the Kentucky company's plan to manufacture all-electric vehicles. Integrity has completed its application for a $200 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
"These are major steps forward in our effort to make Kentucky the first state in the nation to manufacture all-electric vehicles," said Randall S. Waldman, Integrity Automotive's Chief Executive Officer. "We are very optimistic that the new DOE Advanced Technology Vehicles loan program will provide the capital needed to begin production of ZAP all-electric cars and trucks here in Kentucky later this year."
"The Small Business Administration says that up to 80 percent of new jobs in America are created by small businesses," said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider. "As a US company ZAP contracted offshore manufacturing to meet its business goals of affordable electric vehicles and we hope the US government will recognize our efforts to create new jobs at home."
In a speech recently, President-elect Obama said: "To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy... we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced -- jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain."
Kentucky state government last year approved economic development incentives for Integrity Automotive, and issued a new regulation making ZAP electric vehicles legal for use on limited access Kentucky highways. Franklin and Simpson County, Kentucky, officials reached an agreement with Integrity last year to locate the automaker's Kentucky manufacturing facility at a 270-acre site there.
"We are confident that we meet all of the criteria for funding under DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicles loan program," said Gary Dodd, President of Integrity Automotive. "We will be ready to utilize the federal loan funds rapidly when they are approved by the Department of Energy. We are committed to bringing electric-vehicle manufacturing jobs to Kentucky, and are poised to begin an exciting new chapter in our state's economic development."
Integrity Automotive, LLC, (www.integritymotives.com) is a privately held Kentucky company headquartered in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, outside Louisville. It will solely own and operate its future electric-vehicle manufacturing facility in Franklin, Kentucky. Integrity has an exclusive worldwide manufacturing agreement with ZAP of Santa Rosa, California (www.zapworld.com), to build ZAP electric vehicles and other fuel-efficient transportation products at the new Franklin, Kentucky facility, subject to certain terms and conditions. Integrity's Franklin plant is projected to produce over 100,000 vehicles annually and employ up to 4,000 people.