Made In China: Electric Cars
By EV World
There are two California companies importing electric cars from China: ZAP imports the quirky three-wheeled Xebra, which because its classified a motorcycle, isn't restricted by federal motor vehicle laws that apply to the more conventional ZX40, imported by Malibu, California-based Miles Motors.
Both vehicles appear to be harbingers of things to come as entrepreneurs like Malcolm Bricklin and mainstream car companies like Dodge also court Chinese automakers.
David Hirsch joined the half-dozen other electric car advocates during the second day of testimony in Sacramento organized the California's Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the current state of zero emission vehicle technology.
Hirsch noted that as little as 15 years ago, China built only about 100,000 vehicles annually. Today, they have now surpassed Germany as the third largest auto manufacturer in the world and are projected to build 6 million cars and trucks in 2007.
“Our vision is very simple. We are in the business of replacing, wherever possible, internal combustion engines and internal combustion cars with electric vehicles. The governor has told us the debate is over, the science is in, the time for action is now. We buy that and [the California Air Resources Board] is creating market opportunities for enlightened capital, possibilities that in our mind surely did not exist ten years ago.”
To illustrate the opportunities that exist for electric vehicles, Hirsch pointed out that every time a light bulb burns out on a runway or airport taxiway, a technician jumps into a gasoline-powered pickup truck or panel van and drives out to replace it.
“He fires it up. He drives 15 mph for eight-tenths of a mile, turns it off, replaces the bulb, turns back on the vehicle and drives back.” In the process, he pointed out, consuming petroleum and emitting excessive cold start pollution because the short driving distance doesn't allow time for the catalytic converter to sufficiently warm up.
“At least for us, our business to replace vehicles like these with electric vehicles. That drives our vision and makes coming to work each morning exciting.”
To listen to Hirsch's entire presentation – and his PowerPoint presentation is available for download here – use either of the two MP3 players in the right hand column or download the file to your computer hard drive for transfer and playback on your favorite MP3 device.
Also, be sure to listen to other electric vehicle manufacturers who presented at the CalEPA ZEV Technology conference.