By on February 5, 2010

Does Tesla’s S-1 SEC filing leave you worried about the state of EV startups? The great thing about the seamy underbelly of the EV industry is that there’s always a shadier prospect out there to make even marginal cases like Tesla look good. Our perennial favorite in the EV vapor game is ZAP, the erstwhile maker of the Xebra EV (interestingly, the Xebra still shows up on ZAP’s webpage). Zap’s latest play in its never-ending quest for press-release fodder: a tie-up with (get this) a South Korean optics company, best known for its camera lenses and closed circuit TV security systems. Because sometimes you have to cross an ocean to find a sucker big enough to say things like:

Samyang decided to partner with ZAP because of its extensive industry knowledge in electric vehicle production and the breadth and maturity of its current line of electric vehicles

Oh dear.

According to ZAP’s latest 8-K filing:

ZAP and Samyang entered into an Investment Agreement pursuant to which Samyang agreed to invest $3 million in convertible notes of ZAP (the “Samyang Investment”) and ZAP agreed to invest $2 million in convertible bonds of Samyang (the “ZAP Investment”).

A previous filing reveals that ZAP:

entered into a distribution agreement with Samyang Optics Co. Ltd of South Korea for the exclusive rights to manufacture, assemble and market ZAP’s complete line of electric trucks, vans, motorcycles, scooters and ATVs in Korea.

This partnership is part of Samyang’s broader strategic plan to enhance its core business with a new thrust into cleantech, focusing on Korea’s increasing market opportunities in electric vehicles. The agreement establishes Samyang as ZAP’s exclusive distributor and assembly partner, leading to potentially manufacturing its electric vehicles in Korea.  The distribution agreement commits Samyang to set up manufacturing facilities and distribution hubs in Korea with annual procurement quotas. The electric vehicle bodies will be produced by ZAP’s recently announced manufacturing partner, Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co. Ltd, and uses the electric power train technology and engineering designed by ZAP and produced by ZAP Hangzhou, the joint venture between ZAP, Holley Group and Better World International.
Other recent SEC disclosures include the departure of ZAP’s auditors, a Chinese joint venture, and a damning 10-Q that shows a $2.9m operating loss in the first three quarters of 2009, $6m+ in new stock issuance cash flow and cash on hand of just $5.3m.
All of a sudden, Tesla looks like a solid investment by comparison.
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11 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: A Sucker Born Every Minute Edition...”


  • avatar
    Contrarian

    I’m tired of EVs being falsely marketed as ‘zero pollution’.

    Until a greater degree of honesty is brought into the green movement in general, it’s profiteers, whether they be cash-scooping ex-VPs, Indian railway execs, greedy self-serving “researchers”, world government mavens, or EV hustlers, will relegate the movement to scorn and tittery.

    • 0 avatar
      Ernie

      There’s enough opposition to even basic facts that no progress will be made (didn’t we all learn how trees worked in grade-school science class?).

      The only successful business that’s been made out of an effort to be more environmentally friendly is an elitist class of people that drive without courtesy and sometimes dangerously and can’t do basic math (diminishing returns). — Oh, and the brakes don’t work . . .

  • avatar

    To Zap’s credit they have solved the range issue for EVs: Here’s photographic proof.

  • avatar

    Speaking of Zap and suckers, wasn’t it Zap that sold a bunch stock after claiming it had secured the U.S. distribution rights for the Smart Car? When Smart went to Penske these suckered stock holders all filed suit.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      A guy named Heidemann sunk the costs and did the leg-work to federalize the A450 ForTwo Smart … Zap issued him a bunch of its stock to take control of the project … Damiler got scared-off with Zap’s schlock and bailed … Heidemann, like so many others was left with a pile of stock at risk for share dilution (due to Zap’s characteristic of doing that regularly…) Google for the Slate Magazine article on this … try search terms Slate, Zap, smart … I bet it will show up.

  • avatar
    OhMyGoat

    Even in Berkeley, CA the seat of green, an EV dealer appropriately named Green Motors couldn’t survive. They were located in a former (ironically) Cadillac, then later VW dealership and went belly up late in ’09 after just short of two years in business. In their first year of operation they did manage to sell a whopping 50 vehicles. But with the realities of the current economy it looks like even the local greenies weren’t willing to pony up $15-25K for weird looking, street legal electric (rolling death trap) golf carts. A used car dealer now occupies the location.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I nominate the “Alias” for the 2010 vaporware of the year award, just the name is reason enough.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m not down on Tesla; they’ve sold 1000 real cars so far, an accomplishment no automotive startup has done in decades. I’m not convinced their future is any shakier than GM’s.

    As for ZAP and other pretenders – forget it. Lesson 1 is that you can’t sell 3-wheeled cars to US consumers, or cars with outrigger wheels like Aptera’s.

  • avatar

    I love this photo.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8492055@N08/4305669761/


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