Might more be going on at Zap then we had previously heard? Considering the number of previous product promulgations that subsequently never materialized we aren't holding our breath, but who knows, maybe this time there is a wolf. What's the news/rumor this time? That the controversial California company is teaming up with Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co. Ltd to produce electric SUVs, cars and other vehicles for the Chinese, European and North American markets. Jonway currently produces a three- and five-door version of the A380, a UFO-branded SUV that looks nothing like a Toyota Rav4 in their 50,000 unit capacity facility in Taizhou, China.

Having only had a sales goal of 15,000 vehicles last year, we can see why the company is hot to jump into bed with "one of the world's oldest electric vehicle providers" who promises to help them take advantage of the Chinese government's 60,000 RMB (approximately $8,790 at today's rate) per electric vehicle stimulus subsidy, despite the fact that the only experience their American partner has had with the "AC propulsion and lithium battery system" they plan on stuffing into the UFO SUV consists of a one-off prototype of the Zap Alias. This should go well, don't you think?

Hit the jump for a fresh press release with all the lurid details and video of the UFO in action, complete with bizarre mysterious opening sequence. As a bonus, we also have footage of a repainted (and possibly re-configured to front-wheel-drive) road-going Zap Alias which was most recently in Detroit for the 2010 NAIAS.

[Source: Zap via Gasgoo / NewSSC | Source Image: Jonathan Gill - C.C. License 2.0]


ZAP, Jonway Partner to Target China Electric SUV Market

Companies Agree to Develop, Manufacture and Market Electric Compact SUVs and Other Vehicles in China for Worldwide Distribution

US electric vehicle pioneer ZAP (OTCBB: ZAAP) and China auto manufacturer Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co. Ltd. announced a commercial agreement to produce electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs), cars and other electric vehicles in China for domestic and global distribution.

ZAP and Jonway partnered on the production of the 5-door Jonway A380 SUV, integrating the latest AC propulsion and lithium battery system technologies to produce a high performance mid-range electric vehicle (EV) that ZAP intends to offer to the fleet market in China. Jonway currently manufactures several thousand units per month of its A380 compact SUV in 3- and 5-door models and is expanding its product line with new model sedans and other automobiles.

The agreement with Jonway is part of a multi-phase business plan ZAP is implementing to target the China electric vehicle market. ZAP chose the Jonway partnership in part because last year Jonway produced one of the first vehicles made in China to meet international standards of quality, including ISO 9000, China Compulsory Certification (CCC) and most recently passing certification for import to the European Union. The Taizhou-based automaker markets and sells vehicles in China through a network of over 600 auto dealerships. Jonway has the capacity to produce up to 50,000 vehicles per year currently at its facilities in Taizhou with capacity and support from the government to expand as the business scales.

ZAP and Jonway believe the partnership will leverage ZAP's long-standing history in electric vehicles, experience in systems integration and worldwide sales for a broad range of EVs. Under the exclusive agreement, ZAP and Jonway take the electric drive systems designed by ZAP and integrate them into the reengineered EV SUV that will be produced by Jonway. ZAP will perform research and development of the core technology in Santa Rosa, California and license the technology for this partnership. ZAP and Jonway will jointly market and sell electric vehicles in China, North America and Europe to broaden market reach.

In 2009, China overtook the United States as the world's largest automobile market with sales increasing 46 percent from 2008 to 13.6 million vehicles in 2009, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

ZAP hopes to leverage a stimulus from the government for plug-in forms of transportation. The Chinese State Council General Office announced that it intends to raise its annual production capacity to 500,000 all-electric cars, hybrids and buses by the end of 2011. To stimulate the growth, China's Economic Construction Department has put in place a 60,000 RMB, approximately US$8,800, manufacturers subsidy per electric vehicle produced and sold in China.

About Jonway

Jonway is the trade name of Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co., Ltd., an automobile manufacturer based in Taizhou, Zhejiang, China that currently produces two SUV models, the A380 3-door and the A380 5-door configurations. Zhejiang Jonway Auto is a subsidiary of Jonway Group, which has been a leader in the manufacturing of motorcycles, ATVs and related products for more than 20 years. In 2009, the Company sold more than 120,000 vehicles internationally in the European Union and the United States and has a capacity to build up to 400,000 vehicles annually. The Company recently began producing electric motorcycles and related vehicles. Jonway Group and its subsidiaries also produce motor parts, light building materials, air-compressors and plastic components while managing a portfolio of real estate holdings. Jonway Group owns several manufacturing subsidiaries throughout China with a total manufacturing space of 57.3 hectares employing more than 1,000 personnel.

About ZAP

ZAP is one of the world's oldest electric vehicle providers, having delivered over 117,000 of a broad range of vehicles to more than 75 countries since 1994. ZAP supplies electric trucks and vans to military, government and corporate fleets and is an innovator of electric motorcycles, scooters and ATVs. The Santa Rosa, California based company offers some of the only electric city-speed cars and trucks in production today and is leveraging its accrued technology know-how in developing a cost effective high-speed electric car called the ZAP Alias. For further information visit http://www.zapworld.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, continued acceptance of ZAP's products, increased levels of competition, new products and technological changes, ZAP's dependence upon third-party suppliers, intellectual property rights and other risks detailed from time to time in the ZAP's periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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