Steve Schneider Shows Arnold Schwarzenegger ZAP Electric Vehicles in China

October 2007
In October 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a brief visit while in China to meet with ZAP CEO Steve Schneider and China Youngman staff to learn more about their joint venture to make electric and hybrid vehicles.

Electric Car Firm ZAP Names New Chairman, Mr. Eqbal Al Yousuf of Dubai

May 27 2008

Mr. Eqbal Al Yousuf of Dubai
SANTA ROSA, Calif. & DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Electric car pioneer ZAP (OTCBB:ZAAP) today named Mr. Eqbal Al Yousuf Chairman of the 13-year public Company. The effective date of his appointment will be June 2, the day of the next scheduled meeting for the board of directors. Electric car pioneer ZAP (OTCBB:ZAAP) today named Mr. Eqbal Al Yousuf Chairman of the 13-year public Company. Al Yousuf is President of Dubai's Al Yousuf Group, one of The Middle East's leading manufacturers and importers of motor vehicles.Mr. Eqbal Al Yousuf is President of Dubai's Al Yousuf Group. He was appointed as the President of Al Yousuf Group in 2005. The Al Yousuf Group is a company that over the past 55 years has grown into a leading business conglomerate with operations ranging from Motor Vehicles, Boat Manufacturing, Auto Rental, Real Estate Development, Home Electrical Appliances, Computer Operating Systems, Electronics, Transportation and more. The Al Yousuf Group has proved to be one of the most reputed business groups in the UAE and is now working to become ISO certified in accordance with international standards of quality. Chairman Emeritus and founder Gary Starr will continue his role with the Company and will remain on its board of directors. Starr co-founded the Company in 1994 and has been instrumental in its overall business development, R&D and product development. "I feel the timing is right for this," said Starr, a 34-year veteran in electric transportation. "Mr. Eqbal told me that the most important technologies to invest in for the future were electric transportation and water purification. His vision and business experience are welcome just as ZAP begins its next growth phase." Mr. Al Yousuf has been taking a greater interest in ZAP over the past year. In November, the Al Yousuf Group purchased US$5 million worth of ZAP shares. In December, he also joined ZAP's Board of Directors. "My staff and I have researched the EV industry and have concluded that ZAP is one of the only pure-play public companies with viable electric vehicles in the marketplace at a time of record gas prices," said Mr. Al Yousuf. "I intend to use all my relationships and resources to ensure the Company will be successful and grow." "Mr. Al Yousuf is a strong believer in alternative energy and conservation and really wants to make the world a better place," said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider. "He is taking a much stronger interest in the direction of the Company to ensure its ability to deliver vehicles on a global basis. With his relationships throughout the world, Mr. Al Yousuf believes he can make this dream become a reality." Mr. Al Yousuf is actively involved with numerous social and environmental causes, both at a personal and business level. Mr. Al Yousuf has two Bachelors Degree, one in Computer Science and the other in Economics. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 1983. After he graduated he joined his father’s firm as Managing Director and in 1988 he was appointed as Deputy Chairman, Vice Chairman in 2001, and Chief Executive Officer in 2004. Eqbal Al Yousuf is married with four children and his interests include reading, travel and sea sports. The Al Yousuf Group is involved in a multitude of industries under various subsidiaries. Al Yousuf Group has 18 subsidiaries with branch offices in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Cairo, Fujairah, Jeddah, Ras Al Khaimah, Riyadh, and Sharjah, according to The Middle East information resource Zawya ( Al-Yousuf Motors, a member of the Al-Yousuf family, is one of the leading distributors of automobiles and automotive related equipment in the Middle East. The Al Yousuf Group has developed partnerships with many of the world's renowned brand names in Asia, Europe and the USA. A number of these ventures have grown into long-term business relationships.

Former Pirelli North America CEO Says Time Is Right for Electric Vehicles; Announces International Distribution With ZAP

July 29 2008
Former Pirelli Tire North America president and CEO Gaetano "Guy" Mannino, after a lifetime of association with the auto industry, is speaking out about electric car technologies and his recent business venture with ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB). Mannino's company, Verdek, has agreed to be the distributor for ZAP in the state of Georgia, where Mannino's business is headquartered. However, in an interview this week with, Mannino talks about his plans for ZAP in the US and abroad.I am working with ZAP to bring the products into Europe," Mannino told "There is potential for a branch in Italy. In Italy it is getting close to $10 a gallon. The size of the ZAP vehicle is perfect for that market. I think there is a big opportunity." Hear the complete interview at Earlier this month,, an online news source representing Atlanta's role in the global marketplace, interviewed Guy Mannino and took a test drive in a Xebra city-speed electric car. Link: Mannino issued a statement as a call to action in June for corporate America to stop talking 'green' and start driving 'green.' "Now is the time for corporate America, as well as Federal, State and local governments, to take action and proclaim our independence from oil and gas," he continues. "Now is the time for electric vehicles that lower fuel costs, as well as combat pollution and global warming."

ZAP CEO and Al Yousuf COO Show Support for Kentucky Governor Signing Executive Order for 40 MPH Electric Car

FRANKFORT, KY-- Steve Schneider, CEO for ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB) and Ashraf Saeed, COO of the Al Yousuf Group, stood by while Governor Steve Beshear yesterday signed an Executive Order directing the Transportation Cabinet to immediately develop and implement an emergency regulation authorizing the use of low-speed electric vehicles on Kentucky's roadways, including the Xebra, a 40 MPH electric car and truck. ZAP CEO Steve Schneider and Al Yousuf COO Ashraf Saeed (2nd and 3rd from right) witnessed Governor Steve Beshear signing an Executive Order allowing the 40 MPH Xebra electric car and truck on Kentucky roads. "Kentuckians, like all Americans, are hard hit by record-high gas prices," Gov. Beshear said at a news conference today announcing the order. "These tough times call for creative solutions, and I believe allowing Kentuckians the option of using an electric vehicle is one of those solutions. Electric vehicles may help ease the burden on the pocketbooks of hard-working Kentucky families, as well as reduce their carbon footprint."
ZAP CEO Steve Schneider and Al Yousuf COO Ashraf Saeed (2nd and 3rd from right) attended the announcement
ZAP CEO Steve Schneider attended the press conference for the Governor's announcement as an invited guest by the State of Kentucky and officials with Integrity Manufacturing of Shepherdsville. Following the announcement Schneider and Governor Breshear got away from the press to talk and take a spin in a ZAP Xebra. Mr. Ashraf Saeed, Chief Operating Officer of the Al Yousuf Group, accompanied Schneider on the visit. A trading conglomerate based in Dubai, the Al Yousuf Group has provided nearly $15 million in capital over the past year to help ZAP increase its electric vehicle manufacturing, marketing and distribution. Schneider said both he and Saeed were very impressed by the visit and plan to explore ways of working with Kentucky to expand the use of electric vehicles. "Never have we received such hospitality and such overwhelming enthusiasm for electric vehicles as exhibited by the Governor and every single person we met while in Kentucky," said Schneider. "Seeing such a swift reaction by the Kentucky government in favor of ZAP affirms our belief that the time is now for electric transportation to play a greater role in society. We all want to build better transportation and it doesn't matter if you live in Kentucky or California, the dream is everywhere."

$68 Million in Kentucky Manufacturing Incentives Fast Tracks Electric Vehicle Talks at ZAP Headquarters With Integrity Manufactu

August 18 2008
SANTA ROSA, CA--(MARKET WIRE)-- Randall S. Waldman and Larry Cottingham of Integrity Manufacturing LLC are in Santa Rosa, California today for meetings with the management of electric vehicle pioneer ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB - News). Integrity Manufacturing has been working with the State of Kentucky to help provide incentives to attract more manufacturing and assembly to the state. On Friday The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval for $68 million in state incentives for a large-scale manufacturing initiative with Integrity. The project is expected to bring economic development, new factory production and up to 2,500 jobs to Kentucky. Integrity Manufacturing has become a US manufacturing success story and is one of the fastest growing companies in Kentucky. According to Integrity, they have achieved rapid growth in the past year by offering competitive manufacturing to products once made in China and other overseas markets. 

CNN reports that manufacturing in China is becoming more expensive. Labor rates are rising by 10 to 15 percent annually. Also new environmental, health and quality reforms are increasing the costs of Chinese manufacturing. Coupled with the weak dollar the rising yuan, US companies are finding Chinese outsourcing less favorable than in the past. (See "In China, outsourcing is no longer cheap" at URL: "Made in the USA" is more than just a slogan; it's a mission to Integrity CEO Randall Waldman, the visionary behind Integrity's success. Waldman says that every product that leaves his plant is stamped with USA-KY to show where it was made. According to Waldman, Integrity's Louisville plant is currently manufacturing for HomeDepot, EMD along with 20 other Fortune 1000 companies. On Friday, Integrity signed a $100 million contract with Boston-based BioDefense Corp. to produce their MailDefender security device that will be marketed throughout the world, a project expected to create 125 new jobs. ZAP manufactures its electric vehicles primarily in China and Integrity has invited ZAP to consider expanding its manufacturing in the state as part of Kentucky's economic development. Orders for ZAP's full-line of electric vehicles have been increasing and ZAP has been working to find ways of expanding it manufacturing. Integrity says the prospect of building electric vehicles in Kentucky has attracted support from throughout the automotive industry. Waldman says he has been approached by a number of individuals and companies with automotive manufacturing expertise who wish to play a role in the electric vehicle project. Auto dealer Larry Cottingham is also visiting ZAP today. Earlier this year Cottingham started a one-man campaign to expand the use of electric vehicles in the state. Over time Cottingham attracted help from Waldman with Integrity Manufacturing as well as several local political leaders. Two weeks ago his hard work paid off as a coalition of state legislators, led by Governor Steve Beshear, passed a law clearing the road for more electric vehicle use in the state, including ZAP's Xebra electric sedan and truck. About Integrity Manufacturing: Integrity Manufacturing was formed in February 2007 with 7 employees. Integrity has grown to over 400 employees and is the fastest growing company in Kentucky. Integrity Manufacturing has a combined square footage of over 250,000 square feet in three Kentucky locations. Integrity Manufacturing is the recipient of the 2007 "Emerging Business" award presented by Business First in Kentucky. Integrity's sales have consistently grown by focusing on industries that represent current and continued growth such as energy, transportation and material handling.

ZAP Debuts New Recharge-It-All for Powering iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm and Other Mobile Electronics

Sep 10 2008
SANTA ROSA, CA -- Alternative energy pioneer ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB) unveiled its new Recharge-It-All mobile power storage unit, the R03 Micro Lithium Backup Charger, so you can have power anywhere you go for a cell phone, iPod, iPhone or other low-powered electronic device. ZAP is debuting a new pocket lithium battery charger that works with the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm and other low-powered electronic devices. The R03 Recharge-It-All is compatible with 80 percent of the mobile phone market and is the only one that can power a variety of phones.  
The R03 Recharge-It-All from ZAP can power the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm and other mobile electronic devices.

The R03 charger is small enough to fit easily into a pocket or purse. It works with most popular cell and smart phone models including iPhone, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia and LG. With four different connectors included, the R03 is compatible with 80 percent of the mobile phone market. It will also power USB charged devices like the iPod, BlackBerry and Palm Pilot. "Recharge-It-All is a must for business travelers, especially if you want to avoid the 'Black Screen of Death,'" said ZAP CEO Steve Schneider. "Anyone who uses an iPhone, BlackBerry or similar device knows what I am talking about because if you run out of power it could literally mean you are out of business. I've used Recharge-It-All on business trips and never have to worry about running out of power." Recharge-It-All is the only platform that does recharge it all, because unlike power systems that are designed for a specific model of mobile phone, the R03 can recharge or power a variety of mobile phones, not a specific type. More than just a battery, Recharge-It-All combines advanced battery storage with smart charge controller technology that can sense and adapt to a range of different voltages required by your favorite electronic devices. It includes a range of connectors that let you plug into virtually any electronic device. Once charged it becomes a remote power source that goes wherever you go. On your next business trip or vacation, leave your other charge adapters behind and take a Recharge-It-All battery. The R03 Lithium Pocket Charger features 1050 MHA lithium with USB output of 5 volts. The charger retails for $19.99, a selling price point that is perfect for mass-market retailers. ZAP invested in the creation of the Portable Energy line in 2005 to explore synergies between the consumer electronics and electric car markets. The company is currently testing similar batteries that allow its electric cars to travel more than four times farther than conventional lead acid batteries.

ZAP Delivers New 4-Wheel Electric Truck

November 25 2008
SANTA ROSA, CA-- - Electric car pioneer ZAP (OTCBB: ZAAP) is providing fleets with a better solution when it comes to 100 percent electric, plug-in transportation with the introduction of its four-wheel ZAP Truck XL. The new addition to ZAP's line offers an 800 pound payload. Electric trucks like ZAP's new XL fill a growing niche for fleets and small businesses that demand more flexibility and economy in their vehicle mix. The XL is a robust four-wheel truck with ample cab space and payload capacity making it ideal for industrial and utility fleet purposes. In the United States, it meets full DOT requirements for 25 MPH Low Speed Vehicles. As part of ZAP's global distribution strategy, the XL will be designed to meet or exceed government certifications for most of the world.

The ZAP Truck XL is able to drive up to thirty miles on a charge. From a standard 110 volt outlet the ZAP Truck XL recharges in about six hours and an 80 percent charge in just four hours. ZAP offers optional upgrades to 220 volt charging for faster charging. MSRP on the truck is $14,950. "We love it!" said Richard Ghilotti of Ghilotti Construction in Santa Rosa, California, which operates more than 100 vehicles in its fleet and is the first customer for the ZAP Truck XL. "Now we have an all-electric truck to run mail, parts and odd-jobs which don't require a big diesel or gas truck." Ghilotti has made a comprehensive effort to follow green practices and invest in renewable construction techniques and technologies. Recently Ghilotti opened a new green headquarters in Santa Rosa where the electric trucks will be used. Enhanced Capacity Gives Fleets a Heavier-Duty Alternative  The larger truck presents an opportunity for ZAP dealers to reach out to local fleets looking for larger payload electric vehicles that will help them save capital costs while helping protect the environment. The electric utility vehicle is also practical for consumers and small business owners. ZAP estimates the XL truck costs between one and three cents per mile to fuel. Fewer moving parts mean less overall maintenance than gas. Operating costs are about half that of a small gas truck over a three year period. Furthermore, a California Air Resources Board study shows electric vehicles can reduce emissions by more than 90 percent over gasoline, including the emissions from power plants. 

ZAP to Introduce Electric Van and Truck at Nation's Largest Auto Dealer Expo January 24

Jan 23 2009
SANTA ROSA, CA-- To help automotive fleets reduce emissions and operating expenses, electric car pioneer ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB - News) will debut a five-passenger, 4-wheel, 100 percent, plug-in electric van at the National Automobile Dealers Association annual conference and exposition, booth number 4763, January 24-27, 2009 in New Orleans. ZAP's new Shuttle was designed for passenger transport or cargo. The seats are removable so it can convert into a cargo vehicle with 108 cubic feet and a 900 lb. total carrying capacity. Large slider doors on both sides and a rear lift hatch provide convenient access to the rear compartment, which is weatherproof and secure. At 138 inches, its length is just shy of most mini-vans and at 6 ft 2 inches it has plenty of headroom. The ZAP Shuttle was designed for transportation around large campuses, to and from parking lots, and, because it produces zero emissions, through factories, warehouses and other indoor uses. Air conditioning, solar panels and a rapid charger are available options.

ZAP Shuttle ZAP's new XL Truck was designed with a roomy cab for two and a sturdy bed platform capable of transporting 800 lbs. for on-road use and up to 1,600 lbs. capacity for private roads and facilities. This 100 percent electric workhorse has convertible, drop-side bed construction to convert to a flatbed. ZAP's XL Truck can be ordered with options like air conditioning, enclosed weatherproof cargo box, solar charger, above-bed utility rack and rapid charging system. MSRP is $14,500. ZAP's new Shuttle and XL Truck offer fleets more flexibility and utility with their electric vehicles. For on-road use, the Shuttle and XL Trucks conform to US regulations for Low Speed Vehicles with a top speed of 25 MPH limited to streets with a posted speed limit of 35 MPH. As part of ZAP's global distribution strategy, the ZAP's new van and truck are designed to meet or exceed government certifications for most of the world. Both can drive up to thirty miles on a charge and recharge at a standard 110 volt outlet in about six hours and an 80 percent charge in just four hours. ZAP offers optional upgrades to 220 volt charging for faster charging, or upgraded batteries for longer distances. Governments are starting to use purchase more electric vehicles. For example, the US Army recently committed to purchasing 10,000 electric vehicles for fleet use. 

ZAP XL Truck Electric vehicles are less expensive to fuel and maintain, costing about three cents per mile for its fleet vehicles and about half the cost to maintain due to less moving parts. Electrics are also less polluting. Even counting the emissions from electric power plants, studies electric vehicles can reduce automotive emissions by 90 percent compared to gasoline. Electric vehicles are fun to drive, with quiet, smooth acceleration, no vibration, no shifting and almost no noise.

ZAP Cheers Electric Car Tax Credits in Stimulus Act

Feb 18 2009
WASHINGTON, DC -- Officials from ZAP (OTCBB: ZAAP) say the Stimulus Act signed into law by President Barack Obama yesterday carries a provision in which buyers of its electric cars and trucks can receive a 10 percent tax credit up to $2,500. The plug-in tax credit in the Stimulus Act can be applied for on vehicles purchased starting today. The tax credit applies towards ZAP's Xebra sedan (MSRP $11,700) and truck (MSRP $12,500) as well as its new low-speed vehicles, the ZAP Shuttle (MSRP $14,700) and ZAP XL Truck (MSRP $14,500).  
The ZAP Xebra Can Receive a 10% U.S. Tax Credit.The ZAP Xebra Can Receive a 10% U.S. Tax Credit.The tax credits were initially slated to have an effective date starting January 1, 2010, but ZAP argued that the tax credits would meet the spirit of the Stimulus Act if started immediately. CEO Steve Schneider expressed appreciation to Congressman Mike Thompson (California 1st District) who successfully argued for immediate implementation of the tax credits in the House Committee on Ways and Means.

ZAP Shipping Trucks to United States Military

 June 16 2009
ZAPTRUCK XL ready for shipmentSANTA ROSA, CA--(MARKET WIRE)--Jun 16, 2009 -- Electric vehicle pioneer ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB - News) confirmed today they have begun shipping their Zaptruck XLs, a versatile 100% plug-in electric LSV, to several US military bases in the US and in international locations. According to Amos Kazzaz, ZAP's Chief Operating Officer in charge of production, "Our Zaptruck XL has captured a significant market share in what is becoming a high demand/high growth segment of the EV marketplace. These orders and continued strong dealer demand have resulted in our ramping up higher production which is a manageable and nice problem to deal with." ZAP recently announced the addition of enclosed and weatherproof box options for the XL featuring full length side doors with tinted windows, discrete tool bins, space-saving roll-up doors and a top-mounted utility rack. "These new box options for the XL are fabricated in the US and installed in our assembly plant in California," said Steve Schneider, ZAP Chief Executive Officer. He added, "Because the XL qualifies for the Federal tax credit under President Obama's stimulus program, the net purchase price is affordable, attractive and very competitive." The US government has publicly announced plans to purchase more than $300 million worth of energy efficient and alternative fuel vehicles through the GSA. ZAP has been flooded with bid solicitations from city, county and state government buying authorities wishing to accelerate their adoption of "green" transportation initiatives and whose previous budget constraints have now been lifted. ZAP plans to expand its domestic manufacturing capability through an exclusive contract with Zap Motors Manufacturing in Kentucky. That company has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a $200 million Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan to build its Kentucky plant. DOE will be allocating $25 billion in such loans to qualified carmakers and suppliers who can build advanced technology vehicles in the U.S.

ZAP Elects Vetran Toyota Manufacturing Exec to Board

June 9 2009 

SANTA ROSA, CA--(MARKET WIRE)--Jun 9, 2009 -- Electric transportation pioneer ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB - News) has elected Gary Dodd to its board of directors. Dodd, a successful entrepreneur and former Toyota executive, is the CEO of Zap Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (ZMMK), which has an exclusive U.S. manufacturing agreement with ZAP to provide a domestic manufacturing base for the company. "Pure electric vehicles are going to be a major force in the auto industry," said Dodd. "ZAP is an established player full of innovative product ideas that offers new directions in personal and commercial transportation. It is a leader in a vital emerging American industry." "Now is the time to start doing the right thing for our economy, the environment, and our country's energy independence," Dodd added. "ZAP is doing just that. I am excited to join ZAP's board and to be a part of this dynamic electric vehicle enterprise." ZAP CEO Steve Schneider said, "Gary adds tremendous manufacturing, energy, and automotive expertise to our board of directors. With ZAP's future vehicle lineup and long-range manufacturing strategy directly aligning with U.S. government policy, Gary will provide important leadership for those efforts." Dodd, a graduate of Marshall University, has a four-decade career in the energy and automotive sectors that includes broad international experience. He was an executive with Ashland Oil, where he worked extensively in the Middle East. In 1986, he joined Toyota Motor Corporation as a general manager of Toyota's first U.S. manufacturing facility. In 1998, Dodd founded his own business, which supplied just-in-time, sequenced automotive components from eleven manufacturing facilities to Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Ford and General Motors. Earlier this year, ZMMK, applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a $200 million Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan to build its Franklin plant. DOE will be allocating $25 billion in such loans to qualified carmakers and suppliers who can build advanced technology vehicles in the U.S.

ZAP Enters China Electric Vehicle Market with Holley Group, the Global Leader in Electric Power Meters

December 16 2009
SANTA ROSA, California and HANGZHOU, China (December 16, 2009) -- Electric transportation pioneer ZAP (OTC BB: ZAAP) and Holley Group, the world's largest volume producer of electric power meters according to the Wenhui-Xinmin United Press Group, have established a joint venture company in China with backing from venture capital firm Better World International to target the electric vehicle market in China.

Named ZAP Hangzhou, the new company plans to design and manufacture electric vehicles and develop infrastructure technology for the Chinese market. ZAP, Holley Group and Better World have entered a joint venture agreement, and officials state that ZAP has funded its initial capital requirements under the agreement.
Holley Group is an established enterprise in China and is the parent of Holley Metering Limited. Over the past 30 years Holley Metering helped pioneer electric power meters in China. Last year, Holley Metering sold over 10 million units worldwide.

ZAP Hangzhou will combine ZAP's intellectual property, electric vehicle technology and know-how with Holley's experience in electric metering to develop electric vehicles and related technologies targeting the Chinese market. The companies plan to use their knowledge of the local Chinese market to target opportunities for electric vehicle growth within China’s vehicle fleets. As part of this relationship, ZAP Hangzhou plans to begin the installation of manufacturing operations at Holley’s Hangzhou facilities in the near future.

The relationship with Holley is the next step in ZAP’s plan to deliver quality, cost effective electric vehicles to the fleet vehicle market, plans which began earlier this year with the investment by Cathaya Funds through its Better World affiliate. Priscilla M. Lu, Ph.D., Founder and General Partner of Cathaya Funds and a veteran technology executive with extensive international experience, agreed to join ZAP’s Board of Directors as Chairman in connection with the investment. Dr. Lu led this China initiative and helped ZAP execute on its international strategy, in particular its relationship with Holley and its market strategy for China.

"It is important to note that the purpose for my investment in ZAP earlier this year was to bring these companies together for the electric vehicle market opportunity in China," said Dr. Lu.

"We have had a long standing working relationship with Dr. Lu and have confidence that under her leadership and experience in the Chinese market, ZAP will be able to approach this market effectively and competitively with innovative EV product solutions," said Holley Chairman and CEO Richard Wong.

Cars and Air Pollution

The extent of the problem
Drive time, peak hour, freeway, take-away delivery, drive through....the introduction of the automobile has had a huge impact on our lifestyle and environment.
Cars may get us from A to B (and sometimes even C and D) with a minimum of fuss, but they also cause lots of pollution.
Yes, that's right. In major cities and large towns throughout the world, motor vehicles cause a wide range of air pollution problems.
What's the largest contributor to air pollution in the world?


Fossil fuel combustion, particularly as it occurs in motor vehicles, has been identified as the LARGEST contributor to air pollution in the WORLD.
In Melbourne, motor vehicles cause most of the air pollution, except during cooler months when wood fires contribute significantly.

The impact of petrol run vehicles

Not all pollution produced by cars is the same. In fact, there are two types of pollution discharged by petrol vehicles.
  1. Exhaust emissions: including dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons and particulates.
  2. Evaporative emissions: vapours of fuel which are released into the atmosphere, without being burnt.
Fuel vapour can be seen coming out of the car's petrol tank when you fill up at the service station, and can be reduced if we avoid spilling petrol and overfilling our cars. Properly fitted fuel caps can also stop further leakage of fuel vapours.

Oh what a year!

1975...the year colour television was first introduced to Australians, ABBA's first album hit the Oz Top 10 and a rule requiring all new cars sold in Australia to be fitted with basic anti-pollution equipment was introduced.
Even better...since January 1986, all new cars have been built with catalytic converters and have been designed to run on unleaded petrol.
The thing most motorists forget though is that, whether you use leaded or unleaded petrol, your car will still be polluting more than necessary if it is not properly tuned and maintained.
If a car is well maintained and properly tuned it is likely to emit between 9 to 25 per cent less pollution into the atmosphere than a similar, poorly maintained vehicle. In addition, well maintained cars are also more fuel you and your family have more money to spare for things other than petrol!

Smoky vehicles

What exactly is a smoky vehicle?

Under Victorian guidelines, a car is only considered smoky if it emits visible smoke from its exhaust pipe for a continuous period of more than 10 seconds.
Your car is not classified as smoky if the exhaust emissions are caused by heat or the condensation of water vapour, which can occur when the car has just been started, particularly on cold days.
Smoky cars contribute far more to air pollution than well maintained cars. Anyone who has driven behind or walked near a smoky car will know, smoky car exhausts are very offensive as well as posing a risk to public health.
In certain circumstances, even well maintained vehicles can sometimes produce smoke from their exhaust. This can occur during heavy acceleration, climbing steep hills and as engine turbos and supercharges are building sufficient speed to provide enough air to burn fuel properly.

How is the smoke harmful?

Smoke is a by-product of incomplete combustion. Incomplete combustion can significantly increase the quantity of certain toxic chemicals discharged by vehicles into the air.
These chemicals can cause mild to severe irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. They can also be absorbed into the body and cause deterioration in general health. The extent of these detrimental effects on people's health is related to the length of time one is exposed to vehicle emissions, the concentration of fumes breathed and various other factors such as age and health.
For example, an EPA study into the affects of air pollution found a link between high levels of fine particles, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide and an increase in the number of hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease (EPA Publication 789).

What causes a vehicle to be smoky?

There are many reasons why a vehicle might emit continuous smoke:
  • spark plugs need replacement or cleaning
  • ignition timing needs adjustment
  • worn piston rings, pistons or cylinder bores
  • worn valve stem guides or seals
  • sump over-filled with engine oil
  • blocked air cleaner
  • faulty electronic or mechanical controls in parts such as the choke
  • poor, contaminated or incorrect density or grade of fuel
  • blocked or damaged fuel filter
  • incorrectly set or damaged fuel injectors or fuel pump
  • incorrectly set or damaged turbo or super charges.
Remember, this list is just a guide and might not be relevant to both diesel and petrol cars.

What can we do about it?

Cleaner air for Melbourne and Victoria is up to everybody, including you!
Make sure your friends and family who own cars are looking after them!

What does the future hold?

Car use is increasing every year, however, Victoria's air quality has actually been improving because of tighter controls on car emissions.
Hybrid vehicles are now available which get their energy from batteries or petrol. These cars are still uncommon, but they are pointing the way to a future with cars contributing less to air pollution.
The battle isn't over! People will need to use their cars responsibly and keep them in tip top condition so we can continue to improve matters and ensure we have nice clean air.

The Ever-Changing Landscape of E-Waste Recycling

May 6, 2010 By Francesca Lyman
Electronic waste is the fastest growing category of trash in the U.S. and yet unlike paper and plastic recycling, there are no government-issued labels to tell you where your recycled e-waste goes. Industry leaders and environmental groups are trying to change that with new e-waste recycling certifications. Here's what you need to know about the new labels.

If you're like most people, you probably have an old TV or a broken computer monitor sitting in your garage, or perhaps a cellphone you retired early for an upgrade. Technology is advancing so quickly, according to a recent study by Pike Research, a clean-technology market research firm, that the average consumer is holding on to some 2.8 pieces of unused, broken or obsolete electronics equipment. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is the fastest growing category of trash, and it includes computers, cellphones, game consoles and some of the hardest-to-recycle materials.

So just what should you do with the gadgets that are completely beyond repair? "Most people know enough not to just dump that stuff into their garbage, because it will likely end up in a landfill, leaching heavy metals into the groundwater," says Robert Houghton, president of Redemtech, an Ohio-based company that refurbishes used and surplus electronics equipment for corporations. But what many people know less about, Houghton says, is where their used electronics really go if consumers recycle them.

E-Waste Programs in the U.S.

To shed light on the recycled afterlife of electronics, new certification labels have cropped up from industry and nonprofits. The arbiters of these eco-labels hope to make sure that more used electronics are safely recycled. "Consumers can have a label for what they want in a recycler—just as they do in choosing sustainable lumber or organic coffee," Houghton says.

One voluntary standard created by industry trade groups, called Responsible Recycling (R2), got off the ground in January 2009 to provide improved environmental guidelines for recyclers. And in April, the Basel Action Network (BAN), a watchdog group, along with a coalition of environmental groups, took the standard a step further with their e-Steward certification, which has prohibits exporting waste to facilities in the developing world that are ill-equipped to handle it.

While the EPA has created no regulations specific to e-waste, nor has it endorsed any one certification system, the organization does officially regulate one electronic product for export so far—cathode ray tubes (CRTs) found in old televisions and computers that contain lead in their glass. Tisha Petteway, a representative for the EPA, says the agency "believes that recycling certification programs can assist consumers in making more informed choices when choosing recyclers for their used electronics."

The Need for Stricter Standards

The process for developing a certification for e-waste actually began in 2006, and that system eventually became R2 certification in January 2010. BAN broke off from the industry-led R2 program to start the e-Steward standard, which was unveiled April 15, 2010, because R2 "continued to allow old toxin-laced electronics to be shipped abroad," says BAN's Jim Puckett.

The e-Steward standard bans the export of electronics to the developing world unless the devices contain "functioning, working products that have been tested." Recyclers who abide by the standards also must have stricter worker health and safety standards than R2, covering substances such as brominated fire retardants, and must require air monitoring and sampling for toxins, according to Sarah Westervelt of BAN.

Recyclers certified to R2's standards do allow the the export of certain focus materials (FM), including mercury, lead in CRT glass, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), as long as countries produce documentation accepting them. R2 discourages dumping or incinerating these materials, but e-Steward advocates point to a loophole in the language: "If circumstances beyond the control of the R2 recycler disrupt its normal management of an FM, it may consider these technologies to the extent allowed under applicable law."

In contrast, the e-Steward standard completely prohibits landfilling and incineration of e-waste under any circumstances. R2's language is more general, requiring recyclers to develop and use environmental, health and safety management systems of their choosing.

Eric Harris from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries argues that the e-Steward certification "is just not practical," and that its business model depends on "scaring everyone to believe that all electronics are hazardous, rather than restricting its flow to the Third World." (Under R2, e-wastes are defined as "scrap.") "Certifiers ought to help create a safer and more environmentally benign business overseas," Harris tells PM.

Some recyclers argue that stronger export standards could help bolster the domestic U.S. recycling industry, says Redemtech's Houghton. As certified e-Stewards, he says, "We could be encouraging these [recycling] jobs being performed in the United States, in facilities clean and safe, and with a living wage for their workers."

Ken Beyer, CEO of Cloud Blue, another firm that helps its customers recycle electronic assets, is shooting for e-Steward certification as well, and is among several companies planning to acquire both certifications. By meeting e-Steward's standard, he believes his company will "probably qualify for R2's standard at the same time."

With the continuing rise in consumer electronic waste—the United States produces some 2.25 million tons of e-waste each year, and only about 18 percent of that is recycled—having any transparent certification system for recyclers is an important first step.

ATV vs. UTV: What Vehicle To Use

June 25, 2010  By Harry Sawyers

"I've been riding these things my whole life. There's basically no way I'm going to flip this one over," Tom Kaiser, managing editor at ATV Magazine, says as we strap ourselves into a new John Deere Gator XUV at Carolina Adventure World. "But if I do flip it, you have to ignore the basic human instinct to put your arm out of the vehicle to brace for the fall. Just grab the seat belt like this." Kaiser clenches the shoulder strap by folding his arms across his chest like a sleeping vampire. The ride, fortunately, sends neither of us to our coffins.

There were moments, though, that felt as if death could be waiting behind the next loblolly pine. Kaiser got the machine up to 42 mph on a winding, rutted trail crowded with mature trees and hairpin switchbacks. It may sound slow, but on the trail, 42 mph blows by pretty darn fast. Kaiser's steady throttle had the rear-end fishtailing across sand and red clay in the woods of Winnsboro, S.C., and his tendency to hopscotch the machine between divots and mounds tested the new Gator's suspension. Its rugged stance and knobby tires cushioned a few landings that seemed bound to chip our teeth before the wheels gracefully returned to earth.

Having just completed an ATV safety training course, we were curious to sort out the difference between that class of vehicles and this one, known to the riding world as a UTV ("XUV" is John Deere's model name). Shouting through his helmet over the noise of the new Gator's 50-hp, 812-cc, three-cylinder engine, Kaiser described three things that are best done in an ATV, and three other tasks that call for the UTV.

Use an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) When:

1. You need to be nimble. ATVs are best suited for making quick turns. They operate well in tight woods, and are great for situations that call for quickly hopping on and off the vehicle or hauling small cargo loads. Compared to UTVs, these vehicles can more easily be towed by truck to a riding venue. "The ATV is more physically demanding to ride, and the rider must use balance to manipulate and control the vehicle," Kaiser says. "It's fun, and they're small enough to really manhandle around, whereas a UTV is large enough that you're just strapped in and along for the ride. Even though they are fun, it's just not as active as sport riding an ATV."

2. You're in a race. "ATVs come in different forms," Kaiser says. "Sport quads, like the Yamaha YFZ450, Yamaha Raptor 700, Polaris MXR450, Suzuki LT-R450, Kawasaki KFX450R or Can-AM DS 450, are smaller, lighter and designed for high-performance riding and racing. Owners modify these two-wheel-drive machines for specific conditions."

If your idea of a race is getting a day's work done before the sun sets, a class of utility ATVs can meet that need as well. "Utility ATVs like Polaris Sportsman, Yamaha Grizzly, Can-Am Outlander, Suzuki King Quad and Kawasaki Brute Force are larger, heavier and have big fenders that protect the riders from mud, debris and water on the trail," Kaiser says. "They are highly capable, can tow heavy loads and have racks for strapping down cargo and tools, but can also be ridden on the trails and modified for high-performance riding. They're mostly used to get sportsmen out to their hunting land, or by landowners working on small-scale projects—plowing snow, for example".

3. You're on a budget. According toe Kaiser, ATVs are typically several thousand dollars cheaper than UTVs. "They're getting very high-tech these days, with the addition of power steering, four-wheel independent suspension, electronic fuel injection and complex four-wheel drive systems," he says. These modifications typically come cheaper for ATVs than for UTVs. 

Use a Utility Vehicle (UTV) When: 

1. You have a lot to haul. "Aside from providing a nice spot for your dog or spouse to sit next to you, UTVs often have a large dumping rear cargo hold," Kaiser says. "This provides room for a much larger load than most ATVs can haul—without attaching a trailer. Also, because they have truck-like cabs and seats that allow riders to sit upright, UTVs can be more comfortable for older riders. They really shine in covering lots of miles in comfort without the forward-leaning position of a quad." Although some ATVs provide storage on the vehicle, UTVs typically have a rear platform big enough to bring, say, a couple of chain saws into a woodlot and a load of bucked logs back out.

2. You're performing specialized work. Lots of accessories (the Gator can use over 100) allow UTV owners to design a machine suited to specific needs. UTVs can be very sporty—models such as the Kawasaki Teryx, Arctic Cat Prowler, Polaris RZR and the new Can-Am Commander are designed for high performance. "These recreation-focused UTVs are also capable workers, although there are many work-specific UTVs that aren't any fun," Kaiser says. Now, "fun" is relative. Kaiser would consider the Gator's standard 16.3-cubic-foot cargo space and 1400-pound towing capacity to be features found on a work-specific UTV. But I considered riding with him in a work vehicle to be so much "fun" I nearly had a heart attack.

3. You're showing off. "There is an amazing amount of customization available to UTV owners," Kaiser says. "People put on cab kits, specialty HID and LED lighting (that cost a lot of money), stereo systems, in-cab heaters. They upgrade the wheels and tires, and spend big bucks enhancing the vehicles' performance." Kaiser says UTVs are a dream come true for power-sports dealers, because the majority of UTV owners invest in personalization and performance enhancement. The Gator XUV 825 and 625 models we tested would retail for upwards of $10,000.

The Raw Mechanics Behind the Hand-Fabricated Falcon Kestrel Motorcycle

June 24, 2010 By Nicolas Stecher

In 2008, Ian Barry's first Falcon motorcycle, dubbed the Bullet and built for actor Jason Lee, turned the custom-motorcycle world on its head. Receiving international acclaim, it is credited with helping kick-start the British track-racer movement. After two years Barry has now unveiled his followup effort, the Kestrel, to heightened anticipation. And while rave reviews in the Los Angeles Times and Cycle World have placed it far beyond the Bullet, to understand the true achievement of the Kestrel one needs to dig a little deeper than the 80-hour paint and pinstripe job and stainless steel exhaust pipe.

There was a moment of tension on a picturesque May afternoon at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering. There on that country club grass field in Carmel, Calif., all seemed perfect in the world: The sky was sunny and cloudless, the ocean breeze carried the Pacific crispness over to cool the well-heeled crowds. But the winner of the Best Custom Motorcycle, Ian Barry, sat frustrated on his gleaming Kestrel Falcon motorcycle, jumping up and down on the unresponsive kick start as if he were performing CPR on a loved one. After about 10 kicks, the amused look from friends turned to concerned stares, and after about 15 kicks you could hear a pin drop.

And then, on the 17th or so kick, the Kestrel roared to life.

As its 750-cc engine engaged, a deep melodious rumble filled the presentation podium. The sound of internal combustion and the heady smell of gasoline fumes confirmed this was a real grease-and-piston engine. No computer chips or fuel injectors in sight; this was the paradoxical sound of a 40-year-old engine humming like a strapping teen. But as the bike rode up on the podium to be rewarded for its pristine image, the real story wasn't its polished copper fuel lines or palladium-leafed logo—it was the blood-and-guts engineering thumping away within the Kestrel Falcon's frame. While all plaudits rained down on the aesthetic elegance of the bike, the shining metal blinded most from seeing the effort and sweat that went into its mechanical creation.

Are Plants Around the World Really Dying?

August 19, 2010 By Anneliese Sendax
According to a new study published in Science, global plant growth has decreased in the past decade, reversing trends observed over the past 20 years. The authors of the study, Maosheng Zhao and Steven Running, found a significant reduction in the global terrestrial net primary production (NPP), a measure of global plant growth that is calculated by a measure of estimated photosynthesis activity. Ultimately, the study reveals that plant productivity is decreasing, which means plants are taking less carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as biomass, and there is, therefore, more CO2 in the air to reinforce current warming trends.

The Methods

By analyzing digital photographs of the earth in the visible and near-infrared spectrum accumulated from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite, along with global meteorological data, Zhao and Running were able to take daily measurements of plant productivity for every square mile of the earth, which amounts to about 68,350,830 square miles daily. They used equations based on solar radiation, day length, temperatures, water-stress levels, and drought to infer photosynthesis activity within each area of the earth. Though Zhao and Running found that the high temperatures of the past decade resulted in longer growing seasons in the northern hemisphere and recorded an increase in plant growth there, the droughts caused by globally rising temperatures in the southern hemisphere resulted in a decrease in growth, which overwhelmed the increase in the northern hemisphere. The end result: an estimated 1 percent decrease in global plant productivity over the past decade. The authors' findings are only made more significant by the fact that in the 20 years before the beginning of their study, global plant productivity was still increasing despite the global warming trends and corresponding droughts that have continued to the current day.

The Conclusion

Currently, terrestrial plants absorb 4.5 percent of fossil-fuel emissions every year, and, Running says, "if our biospheric uptake decreases, the carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere will increase even faster than it already is." Though further decreases of global plant productivity are not inevitable, if the observed trend continues, it will hold enormous significance for future food security, our ability to turn to biofuel as an alternative energy source and the strength of terrestrial carbon sinks. As for further ecosystem disturbances, we can expect more accelerated wildfires, like those we are seeing in Russia, as well as large-scale insect epidemics, like those observed in the western U.S., which kill enormous numbers of trees, Running says.

The Implications

Aside from a continuation of global monitoring of plant productivity, there seems to be little that scientists and individuals can do to reverse the trend. "Studies of global irrigation patterns show that we are irrigating dry areas to capacity," Running says, "and the amount of land we are able to irrigate might even go down in the next decade because we are running out of water with which to irrigate; rivers are currently being drained to capacity." The researchers do not expect massive food shortages or famines in the near future, but the study does indicate that biofuels, such as ethanol or biodiesel, could be a more risky alternative to fossil fuels than previously thought, given the downward trend in available biomass.

Does the world need 3D TV?

LAS VEGAS--Stand back from the TVs folks, because 3D is comin' atcha. Hollywood has scored big over the past year with 3D movies, and now both Hollywood and the consumer electronics industry want to put 3D in your living room. The bandwagon has close to universal industry ridership, almost every major manufacturer is launching 3D sets at CES this week, the Blu-ray format will support 3D and many gaming consoles should soon follow suit. As both content and hardware starts rolling off the assembly line, however, it's worth pondering exactly what 3D in the living room means for consumers. Here are answers to some of the biggest questions about 3D television.

1) Am I going to need a new set?

Almost definitely. Some current plasma and DLP projection sets can support 3D, but most other HDTVs don't. Plus, it is unclear if DLP and plasma sets will work with the new Blu-ray players or HDMI connections. So be prepared for plenty of confusion on this issue.

2) Hey, wait, didn't I just buy a new HDTV?

Yes, you probably did. According to Leichtman Research Group, nearly half of American households now have HDTV sets, which means that a lot of people recently purchased an expensive new TV. When those people learn that their new set is already outmoded, grumbling is likely to ensue.

3) Do I need a new Blu-ray player, too?

Maybe. There are new 3D Blu-ray players hitting the shelves this year, but the PlayStation 3 is expected to be forward compatible. It's unclear why the PS3 should be upgradable for 3D Blu-ray, while other connected players may not be. Expect even more confusion on this issue.

4) Will there be any other content?

Yes. Major companies such as ESPN and the Discovery Channel have announced plans to create 3D channels, but no announcements have yet been made by cable or satellite providers as to who might carry these channels, which will probably require greater bandwidth than existing HD channels.

5) Will I need to wear glasses?

Oh, yes. You will definitely need glasses,big, battery-powered, ridiculous-looking glasses will be necessary for 3D. Consumers have eagerly donned these accessories for 3D theatrical releases, yet it may be a different proposition when the boys get together to watch the Superbowl.

3D VFX—But Not Cameras—Makes a Rich, New Alice in Wonderland

March 5 2010 By Erin McCarthy

When Alice takes her tumble down the rabbit hole in Tim Burton's latest movie, Alice in Wonderland, audiences will feel like they're falling with her, thanks to expertly rendered 3D. And if there's any place that's made for the format, it's Wonderland. "In [this] world—the shrinking and the growing and the spatial stuff—3D helps," Burton told reporters at last year's Comic Con. "It enhances the experience."

Unlike megablockbuster Avatar, Alice wasn't filmed with a stereoscopic camera rig; instead, it was shot with traditional cameras and converted after the fact. This is because Burton felt it would be less time-consuming given the film's potpourri of effects—manipulated live action (the Red Queen's bulbous head), rotoscoping (the Red Knave's movement) and completely computer-generated characters and backgrounds. Instead, a team at Sony Imageworks headed by visual-effects supervisor Ken Ralston was tasked with creating the three-dimensional Wonderland. "What helps the audience feel as if Alice is in this world is part of that false sense of depth, the spacial relationship to what she's running around in," Ralston says. "When she's in a mushroom forest heading for a caterpillar, 3D is one more way of making you feel as if she is standing out there with the Tweedles, with the Caterpillar and the smoke wafting around. It seemed to be a natural fit. We weren't forcing the 3D down anyone's throat; it really helps you feel as if you are in Wonderland."

While in Wonderland—or Underland, as it's called in the film—Alice is constantly changing size, shrinking to fit through a tiny door and growing into a giant to impress the bossy Red Queen, whose huge head leads her to love anything larger than life. Filmmakers used the 3D to enhance the effect, putting the camera down low as she grew taller and shooting from above to show the sheer size of the things around her as she shrank. "There are so many scale changes where she's 6 inches or 2 feet tall or giant," Ralston says. "3D was beautiful for those shots."

Sometimes, visual-effects artists manipulated the 3D to make the audience feel what Alice was experiencing. When Alice teeters on the edge of crumbling ruins while facing off against the jaw-snapping Jabberwocky (modeled after some of Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion work), the camera shows her point of view—straight down—and you're right there with her. When Alice is trapped in a teacup, you feel that, too. "If Alice was trapped, we made sure the depth was more compressed," Ralston says. "Or if it was a big, wide scene, then we let you feel a little more of the distance there. You can do a lot of that stuff with 3D."

And then there are shots reminiscent of old stereoscopic films, where objects fly off the screen toward the viewer. While most filmmakers believe that such effects are gimmicks, preferring to make the experience more immersive and less intrusive, Ralston says they wanted those shots in the film. "In fact, in the beginning Tim was probably thinking we'd do less silly stuff," Ralston says. "And then we ended up doing Red Knights poking spears at the lens. We wanted to have more fun with it. When we grew up, there wasn't much 3D, but what was done was so silly, and this is an homage to those movies."

But making a stereoscopic film came with its own set of challenges. "As hard as you push 3D, it can never be too extreme or your eyes get pulled out of your head," Ralston says. Making settings for interaxial distance—the space between the two cameras that represent the human eyes and create the illusion of depth—too intense can lead to an uncomfortable experience for the viewer. A good example of extreme depth done well in the film, Ralston says, "is the shot where you're looking at a dew drop on a mushroom, and you can see the upside down reflection of the Tweedles and Alice walking towards the Dodo Bird. The camera drops down from that and we see them behind it. That was an extreme depth."

Even placing digital elements too close to the camera can look odd to the audience. "There are so many things you have to look out for while doing this so it doesn't look funny," Ralston says. "Small things on the edge of the frame can work better in 3D than a big object—that can look very strange. And until you see it you're not quite sure why. Some of those considerations came into play in terms of what we could have in the foregrounds and backgrounds."

While he acknowledges that working in 3D was tough—and created a lot more work for the VFX artists—Ralston is thrilled with the result. "It worked a lot better than we thought it would," he says. "It's just one more great tool if you can use it right. I enjoyed using it. Creatively, 3D was a great thing to have."


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