ZAP Electronic Cars Unveiled
ZAP unveiled new brands of electronic automobiles in January at CES in Las Vegas, the world's largest consumer technologies event with more than 100,000 annual attendees.
ZAP announced that Voltage Vehicles, a wholly owned subsidiary, has signed an exclusive agreement with a European-based group of companies involved in the design and manufacture of electronic cars. The group has started production on several different types of light utility vehicles for transportation and commercial use, including a neighborhood car that is now available. A representative from the European group, Riccardo Coles, says they are working with ZAP to launch their initial sales in North America.
"We feel the timing for electric cars is now," said Coles. "There has never been more of a need throughout the world for clean transportation technologies. According to air quality studies, pure electrics are much more efficient and produce much less pollution than other technologies, including the new hybrids. We looked throughout the world for the best way to launch our new cars and decided that the USA is the right place and ZAP is the right company. We believe that ZAP has a recognizable brand in this industry and the right distribution strategy."
Coles added that the group of companies he represents is forming a new car company that will focus on electronic propulsion technologies. Coles says all of the companies have experience in making traditional automobiles. One of them, Studio Linia 2 of Torino, Italy, has designed some of the most famous brands of Italian automobiles.
Through its subsidiary Voltage Vehicles ZAP will be working to establish a distribution network for its electronic transport in the independent auto dealer market. Voltage Vehicles has licensed for the distribution of vehicles from a number of different vehicle manufacturers.
"Finding a pollution-free way of powering our daily transportation is the greatest challenge of our times," said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider. "I believe this partnership will move us towards this goal."
The first of the vehicles, a neighborhood electronic car, is now available. The venture also includes an electric van, pickups, and commercial vehicles.
Photo: Courtesy May 2003 Maxim US Edition