It's been a little over a year since Zap teased us with the idea of their three-wheeled all-electric vehicle, the Alias, and the time has finally come to show us what the trike looks like. Representatives from Zap and Integrity Automotive broke ground on the $184 million Kentucky plant that might build the Alias last week, and the Alias was unveiled as part of the ground-breaking ceremony. We asked Zap if the Alias prototype was drivable, but the representative declined to answer that part.
Currently, most of Zap's products are made in China, but the Kentucky plant could one day produce Zap's "entire product line" in the Bluegrass State. Zap's predictions for the factory are that it'll "begin producing electric vehicles within 12 months and employ up to 1,000 people initially with the possibility of more in the future." It'll be interesting to watch how this plays out, considering.
Press release and videos after the jump.
Electric Car Factory Breaks Ground in Kentucky for Joint Venture Between ZAP and Integrity
Submitted by acampbell on Mon, 09/15/2008 - 03:20.
FRANKLIN, KY and SANTA ROSA, CA -- Sep 15, 2008 -- Work commenced at the site of an electric car factory in Franklin, Kentucky, according to officials for Integrity Automotive, a joint venture to expand electric vehicle manufacturing in the USA for ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB).
An electric car factory broke ground in Kentucky for Integrity Automotive, a new joint venture expected to manufacture the Alias and other electric vehicles from ZAP (www.zapworld.com).
Construction equipment arrived at the site of the Wilkey North Industrial Park on Thursday and a site contractor with a work crew have been mobilized as of Friday to prepare the 200-plus acre site for rough grading, said Randall S. Waldman of Integrity Manufacturing. The goal of the project is a one million square foot factory for electric vehicles, a project with an estimated value of $100 million. The factory is expected to begin producing electric vehicles within 12 months and employ up to 1,000 people initially with the possibility of more in the future.
Integrity Manufacturing and Waldman will be the majority stakeholder in the new Kentucky-based joint venture to manufacture electric vehicles exclusively for global distribution for ZAP. To assist in the plant construction, Waldman said the City of Franklin is preparing $76 million in industrial revenue bonds. The State of Kentucky has pledged financial incentives for economic development and job creation that the factory would bring. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on August 28 with state and local officials as well as business leaders from Franklin and Simpson County.
"We wanted to come to a place where the community would support us," said Randall Waldman at the event. "There is nothing more important than to be having a community come together behind a project that will bring a lot of jobs to the area." View the speech online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtnYaAsuy40. Waldman said Integrity received more than 50 job inquiries a day once news spread about the factory. A website is under construction for job-seekers inquiring about hiring opportunities at http://integritymotives.com/.
A prototype electric vehicle called the ZAP Alias proposed for the factory was unveiled at the groundbreaking ceremony. The two companies are discussing ways to expand manufacturing for ZAP's entire product line in Kentucky. ZAP CEO Steve Schneider said the joint venture would be a huge boost for ZAP's business plans, which have seen record orders this year tied to record gas prices. Most of ZAP's manufacturing is currently in China.
"What Randy has put together, and the legislators in Kentucky, it made things happen at lightning speed. That's what America should be about," said Schneider at the ceremony. "Now with all the economic incentives that Kentucky has put together at such a rapid pace, those incentives have allowed us to offset the low-cost of labor in China and bring manufacturing back to America, and that's something we are very, very proud of." Schneider added: "We are hopeful the Federal Government will assist programs like this that spur job creation in America."
In August, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed an executive order to expand the use of electric vehicles on Kentucky roads and endorsed an economic development package that would provide $48 million in incentives to Integrity Manufacturing to create jobs manufacturing electric vehicles.
"This represents an investment not only in this community, but in Interview the future of this country," said Governor Steve Beshear, who welcomed the companies and noted the importance of investing energy efficient technologies and increasing the use of renewable resources.
Comments by Governor Beshear, Schneider and Waldman as well as images from the groundbreaking ceremony on August 28, 2008 are now available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtnYaAsuy40 or by visiting the news section of ZAP's website.
About Integrity Manufacturing:
Integrity Manufacturing was formed in February 2007 with 7 employees. Integrity has grown to over 400 employees and is the fastest growing company in Kentucky. Integrity Manufacturing Executive Order - Kentucky Governor (Click to Watch)Executive Order - Kentucky Governor (Click to Watch)has a combined square footage of over 250,000 square feet in three Kentucky locations. Integrity Manufacturing is the recipient of the 2007 "Emerging Business" award presented by Business First in Kentucky. Integrity's sales have consistently grown by focusing on industries that represent current and continued growth such as energy, transportation and material handling. To learn more about Integrity Manufacturing visit their web site at http://www.integrity-manufacturing.com.
ZAP has been a leader in electric transportation since 1994, delivering over 100,000 vehicles to consumers in more than 75 countries. Currently, ZAP manufactures a line of electric vehicles, including electric city-cars and trucks, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and ATVs. ZAP sells one of the only electric city-cars and trucks in production today and is developing a high-performance electric vehicle called the ZAP Alias. The Company recently announced a strategic partnership with Dubai-based Al Yousuf Group to expand its international vehicle distribution. For product, dealer, and investor information, visit http://www.zapworld.com.
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 the Company's products, increased levels of competition for the Company, new products and technological changes, the Company's dependence upon third-party suppliers, intellectual property rights, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.