The Champaign corks were flying on Thursday as ZAP and Integrity Manufacturing broke ground on their electric car factory located at Wilkey North Industrial Park in Franklin, KY. The joint company venture is in the process of raising $76 million in bonds to fund the project, $48 million has already been promised in incentives by the state legislature. Company officials did make it clear that the new plant will start to rise from the disused bean field within days.
It is hoped that the factory will employ up to 1000 people initially in the production of three wheeled electric vehicles, the first of which should role of the production line mid-2009, when in full production they hope to employ over 4,000 workers to produce the eco-friendly car.
The deal to build the plant was announced only six weeks ago, since then it seems the plans have moved swiftly forward on the legal front. By today the three wheeler car’s will be street legal vehicles when changes in state law take effect allowing citizens to eventually get behind the wheel of the first production model the Zap Xebra.
In a reversal of the usual trend, a factory in China will be closed by the company to make way for the new US production facility. There are however concerns being voiced by interested parties about the viability of the project, particularly by industry consultants Global Insight. They are not happy with the so-far empty promises from the company who have been beset by financial and other problems.
Zap has sold over 100,000 vehicles since 1994 mostly electric scooters and a handful of Xebra utility trucks in the US and 12,500 worldwide.