California: EV Designer for the World

Comments (12)

A Zap taxi, designed for the Chinese market. (Credit: KQED/Myrow)

Like it or not, California is competing for manufacturing jobs, with other states and overseas. In fact, local governments in foreign countries are competing with each other as well to lure American business.

Priscilla Lu, board chair of Zap in Santa Rosa, has worked on a number of projects with the city of Hongzhou over the years. She praises the way the government Beijing creates a competitive atmosphere with incentives.

"They actually reward the provinces that have higher GDP. The higher your GDP, the more support, the more financial support you’re going to get from the central government. So it’s almost kind of the reverse from, you know, what we’re used to here. Because here, it’s the states that are not doing well that get support!"

China isn't the only market Zap Jonway aims to target. The pending company already has pending orders from Costa Rica, Korea and Japan.

"There’s a decent, slow but steady market for these low-speed neighborhood vehicles," says John O'Dell of "A lot of agencies get a lot of stimulus money for greening up their fleets. You will not become the next General Motors, but you can sustain a business on fleet vehicles if you’ve got a good product."

Listen to the story I did for California Report here:

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About Rachael Myrow

From KQED’s Bureau in San Jose, Rachael Myrow covers politics, economics, technology, food and culture in a vast region extending from Burlingame to Edenvale to Fremont. This follows more than seven years waking at 3 am to host the daily version of KQED's California Report, broadcast on NPR affiliates throughout the state during NPR's Morning Edition. She still guest hosts for The California Report and Forum, blogs for Bay Area Bites, and files for NPR and PRI’s The World. Before KQED, she worked for Marketplace and KPCC in Los Angeles. Follow @rachaelmyrow

Comments (12)

  1. ZAP Global says:

    Thankz for coming up and testing out our vehicles. We didn’t complete the deal before your story ran, but here is today’s announcement.

    ZAP Completes 51% Acquisition of China’s Jonway Automobile, Cathaya Capital Funds Total of US$36 Million

  2. DManuel says:

    The good thing about this assured pivotal move by ZAP is the concise combination of creative business vision transfigurated to the life and current environment nature. After the announcement of 100% acquisition of 51 percent of the capital stock of Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co. Ltd. published on the “”, I expect to see more on this advanced get-go plan.

  3. Erni says:

    I can’t see where to listen to the audio..

    It’s empty.!! Help!

  4. Wood says:

    This company had orders from a Hedge Fund that Never “materialized” . They had orders supposedly from Daimler Benz that “never materialized” They had orders from their ‘dealer network’ that ‘never materialized’. Right now they claim that the foriegn company they merged with sold more then 6000 SUV in China last year , only problem is they say they can’t provide the accounting for another 71 days after the Press release they issued yesterday.

    Given this company 1 chance to be straightforward in 2011. If they can’t get it together after the 5 Previous PIPES and Name Changes on the Various exchanges . Then the problem is not that orders ‘never materialized’ . The problem is they NEVER HAD ORDERS to BEGIN with!

  5. Rachael Myrow says:

    Thank you, Erni, for the heads up. Are you using Windows Explorer? I’ve encountered no problems on Firefox or Safari. Nonetheless, we are working on it!

  6. ZAP Global says:

    @Wood Thank you for giving us another chance. In this world where transportation is 95% powered by oil, not every venture and partnership ZAP has forged has worked out as planned, but we have grown and had success in other areas. ZAP has been providing leadership in electric vehicles for 16 years and the United States and President Obama should be proud of companies like ZAP who have been preaching electric transportation long before they were considered green.

    BTW… the hedge funds, Daimler Chrysler and the many dealers who didn’t follow through with our business proposals were not ZAP, so don’t pin all the blame on us if they failed to execute on the signed purchase orders. Many people and investors check us out and do decide to do business with us, and as Rachael has found out in person here, we are selling and shipping vehicles, one of the blessed few that are in the world today. If you are seriously shopping for an EV or are researching companies to invest in, you will quickly learn that ZAP has value.

  7. Dave says:

    When can we expect production in China for ZAP? Any more updates besides acquiring 51% ?

  8. ZAP Global says:

    See news link above. ZAP already sells electric vehicles and is setting up to sell in China.

  9. Mike says:

    Why is Lotus now working with Tesla on the model X? I thought that ZAP and Lotus were working together on that in the past? Is ZAP pursuing the old project again?

  10. saunders says:

    Will ZAP be buying the other 49% of Jonway by end of March? I agree with Wood about all the hype that has been around this company over the last five+ years. I’ve been an investor for quite some time and would like to finally see some returns on the stock I purchased years ago.

  11. Rachael Myrow says:

    Hi Saunders. It’s my understanding that Cathaya Capital brought the money to the table for this deal, not Zap. Also, it’s a merger, not a buyout. I don’t know what that says for your investment, but hopefully this provides some clarity as to this business development.

  12. ZAP Global says:

    Call ZAP PR at 707-525-8658 if you have questions.