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SANTA ANA, Calif,-- (BUSINESS WIRE)--April 19, 2005--ZAP (OTCBB:ZAPZ - News), pioneering the next generation of advanced transportation and energy technologies, announced that the Smart Car Americanized by ZAP has cleared the final regulatory hurdles for sale in the United States. ZAP also announced that it has in-hand over three-quarters of a billion dollars in advance purchase orders for the fuel-efficient microcar from Europe.
ZAP CEO Steve Schneider made the announcement at an event held in Santa Ana, California, home of the facility where ZAP has the European-made Smart Car converted to meet all American emissions and safety standards. Mr. Schneider formally handed the keys to of the first Americanized Smart Car to Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido at City Hall, who then took the unique coupe on a celebratory test drive to the Smart Car conversion facility three miles away, at G&K Automotive Conversions. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the facility, and a parade of Smart Cars was rolled out for attending news media representatives.
"ZAP is thrilled to announce that with the receipt of an official letter of notification from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Smart Car has now received all federal approvals necessary for sale in the United States," said Mr. Schneider. "This is the final step in ZAP's initiative to create an advanced transportation distribution network to meet the growing demand by American consumers for automobiles that will meet their transportation needs while cutting gas expenditures, and also helping to reduce polluting emissions. Dealers have been clamoring for more energy-efficient vehicles options, and ZAP is preparing to supply them from various manufacturers."
ZAP has received more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in orders from American dealer orders for the Smart Car high-efficiency automobile, already as successful product n several countries internationally. The letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation acknowledged a certificate of compliance that lifts a Performance Bond, allowing the import and certification of the Smart Car. ZAP recently announced that the Smart Car had received a Letter of Conformity from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency, and the announcement today clears the car for sale in 45 U.S. states.
"ZAP has been given the green light to begin delivering Smart Cars in the U.S., and we will be making subsequent announcements regarding these deliveries," said Mr. Schneider. "ZAP will be delivering a small number of cars initially as we evaluate how to meet the demand by U.S. dealers--more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in advance purchase orders--much more than we anticipated. The Federal government is satisfied now that ZAP's conversion partners have finalized the manufacturing process by which we can 'Americanize' the cars. Now we can start addressing the dealer infrastructure that would allow us to deliver cars to the public, while taking the time to ensure that we have adequate sales and service support to handle this volume of cars."
ZAP has recently reported increasing volumes of dealer purchase orders for the Smart car, a Mercedes-built vehicle that's one of the most efficient gas-powered cars manufactured. Last week, ZAP announced receipt of a total of over half a billion dollars in U.S. dealer purchase orders. ZAP owns the technology to Americanize the Smart car to meet U.S. emissions and safety standards, and holds all licensing rights from non-affiliated Smart-Automobile LLC to conduct the Smart car Americanization.
ZAP is currently in discussions with a number of potential partners to meet the strong American demand for the Smart Car. Delivery of the Smart Cars represented by the current level of purchase orders is conditional upon ZAP's execution of strategic relationships with major automotive manufacturing partners that will enable it to support the full sales pipeline. To build sufficient capacity to supply the full U.S. demand, the Company has been in discussions with a number of major automotive industry leaders in Europe and Asia that have direct experience in the manufacture and sales of high-efficiency vehicles. Once ZAP finalizes the required strategic partnerships and has received approval for additional models from government agencies, it will determine its specific delivery schedule for Smart Cars in the United States.
Here are a couple of Pics from Yesterday at the G/K warehouse in Santa Ana