Under an Executive Order from the State of California Environmental Protection Agency, advanced automotive technology company ZAP announced on September 21 that the state's Air Resources Board has certified its ZAP WORLDCAR as a "Zero-Emission Vehicle." A 10-year-old, publicly owned California company, ZAP expanded its business in 2002 beyond electric bikes and scooters to establish an automotive division and a dealer network that focuses on advanced automotive technologies that are more efficient and environmentally friendly. In 2002, ZAP began offering new and used electric cars as well as neighborhood electric vehicles. In 2003 ZAP announced that it has signed a distribution agreement to begin importing and final assembly of its new WORLDCAR, which would be one of the first full-performance electric cars in history assembled in China for export to the United States. In May, ZAP entered into a distribution agreement for the 60-MPG Smart city coupe imported from Europe and is waiting for final approval from the U.S. EPA to begin distribution of the car. ZAP recently announced a new venture to develop zero-emission cars using Alkaline Fuel Cells powered by ammonia. The Air Resources Board has certified the 2005-model year ZAP WORLDCAR (NEV) and the ZAP WORLDCAR (Utility EV). The certification allows ZAP vehicles to be licensed and sold in California. The certification also gives the purchaser access to incentives created for drivers of Zero-Emission vehicles (ZEVs). Drivers can qualify for a special ZEV parking decals that allow them to park and refuel at designated recharging parking spaces, as well as preferred locations at airports, shopping malls, mass transit hubs and more. The vehicles now qualify for grants for public agencies to purchase them and there is a 10 percent federal tax credit for consumer purchases. ZAP CEO Steve Schneider says ZAP's manufacturing partners for the electric cars in China have the ability to deliver thousands of units into North America by next year. He added that the base models are priced under $10,000 and include features and options that surpass the expectations of many American consumers-power windows, power door locks, CD players, air-conditioning, computer controlled instrumentation, tilt steering wheel, deluxe interior, alloy wheels, and tinted windows. ZAP introduced the WORLDCAR in 2003 at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Sonoma, California, where the car received the highest scores in five performance criteria. While the event hosted advanced transportation technologies from 83 automotive groups around the world, Schneider says that ZAP had the only production electric automobile available for sale.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials