California-based electric carmaker ZAP, announced that Jonway Auto, its subsidiary in Zhejiang, China is launching a small EV, SPARKEE for city commuters in China.
Focusing on the growing demands for electric vehicles (EVs) in China driven by Chinese government policies, ZAP and Jonway Auto has developed a small EV designed for city driving.
Due to the high levels of air pollution in the large Chinese cities, the Chinese government has changed its subsidy policy to scale based on the range a EV can achieve, instead of the former policy which was based on the amount of lithium batteries used. EVs with less than 100 km (62 miles) range receive a subsidy of 30,000 RMB (~USD$5000) and this scales up to 60,000 RMB (~$10,000) for EVs with range over 200 km (124).
SPARKEE comes in two models, the lead acid version which has a lower range of 120km (74.5 miles) and the lithium version which has a longer range of more than 180km (112 miles) between charges.
Sales of SPARKEE in China is intended primarily for the densely populated urban areas where many of the city governments have to pay penalties for exceeding pollution indices and government vehicles that have emissions are forced to stay off the roads on “red alert” days. Jonway Auto is gearing up production to deliver several thousand of these vehicles for the Chinese market by June 2014 and will be working with local dealers who see a huge market.
SPARKEE is attractively priced between US$7000 to US$12,000 depending on the motor size and battery type as well as capacity.
Jonway Auto is also working with an Eastern European market partner who is doing type approval of this vehicle for the Eastern European market and is projecting sales of several thousand per year once approval is completed. ZAP plans to deliver other versions of this model that is targeted at city fleets and small delivery vans intended for city service vehicles.
ZAP plans to bring SPARKEE to selected markets in South America and is considering US partners for distribution into the US market upon proper type approval and certification.