ZAP signs electric car joint venture with China's largest luxury bus manufacturer

Electric car pioneer ZAP (www.zapworld.com) and Youngman Automotive Group, China's largest luxury motor coach and high-quality commercial truck manufacturer, have signed a joint venture agreement to manufacture, market and distribute electric and hybrid vehicles for the passenger car, truck and bus markets.

The new joint venture company will also focus on the development and manufacturing of electric charging infrastructure. Youngman Automotive Group is a private holding company with 12 subsidiaries. Youngman's partnership with Germany's NEOPLAN controls more than 70 percent of the luxury motor coach market in China. Youngman is the supplier to NEOPLAN and MAN, two of Europe's top brands for luxury motor coaches and high-quality commercial trucking. Over the past few years Youngman has also expanded sales in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia), The Middle East, Europe and the USA.

In 2004, with the support of the Chinese government, Youngman was awarded a license to manufacture automobiles. Earlier this year Youngman made auto industry headlines by awarding Lotus Engineering a number of vehicle development projects, and more recently by signing a vehicle distribution and technology licensing agreement with Proton (the Malaysian national car company), estimated to be worth several billion US dollars. The strategic partnership with ZAP will allow the joint venture company to bring highway capable electric and hybrid vehicles to the market like the ZAP-X crossover SUV.

"There are many good manufacturers out there, but to be a great manufacturer we need to do something that can change the world," said Youngman chairman Pang Qingnian. "I have built Youngman group based upon three key principles: quality product, technology and brand. With our current product line-up and our commitment to quality, I believe we can provide a viable electric alternative to the world. Through the integration of currently available technologies and renewable energy, I believe we can take a leadership position and play a significant part in providing a better alternative."

"This is the most significant relationship that ZAP has ever entered into," said ZAP chief executive officer Steve Schneider. "This joint venture will provide a platform for both ZAP and Youngman to focus each other's strengths to develop solutions that have the potential to transform the industry. Our energy will not stop at the vehicle engineering level. Using renewable energy to provide a cost effective recharging infrastructure to customers, we can change the world, one vehicle at a time."

"I applaud ZAP and Youngman for bringing the next generation of mass-produced electric vehicles to California," said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Our state is leading the nation and world in opening the market for alternative fuel vehicles and this move is another example of bringing high-quality, high-paying jobs to California.”

Youngman's portfolio of products includes luxury motor coaches, inter-urbans, city and airport buses as well as premium commercial trucks for long distance, local distribution, heavy-duty building and special services. Youngman manufactures its motor coaches and trucking at a million square foot factory in Jinhua. Youngman is building new factories in Shandong province with the backing of the Chinese government to expand its automotive manufacturing capacity.

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