I am a recent graduate of William and Mary with a double major in environmental science and policy and public policy. I will be an energy blogger. How can the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign oil? Is green technology going to happen sooner than we think? What kind of message is needed to sell individuals on the need to stop drill baby drill? These are some of the questions I'd like to ex...
U.S. Firm Zap: Bringing Green Globally
[caption id="attachment_45299" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Zap has an Agreement with China to Invest in Electric Car Infrastructure"][/caption]
The U.S. firm Zap is an electric car company that is investing in the electric car infrastructure in Shanghai, China. The electric car is certainly part of the new future both here and China, and it is great that Zap is able to find business and opportunities in China in terms of expanding their electric car market there.
For example, Zap "will provide an electric car charging infrastructure, battery swap out stations, as well as EV maintenance and repair depots in Yangpu. The partnership agreement with the Yangpu government is reportedly a direct result of Governor Schwarzenegger's trade delegation to Shanghai in September of this year (2010)."
It is great on the one hand that Zap is taking advantage of opportunities to expand business and its capabilities in the most populous country globally. After all, China is prime real estate when it comes to technological innovation and investments in electric car technology in this one province are beneficial for both China and the U.S. firm. However, this innovation in China also begs the question about why the firm is investing in China and not in the U.S.
In this case, Zap is investing in China clearly because of the business arrangements made among Chinese officials, representatives of Zap, and government officials from the U.S. Nevertheless, what this business arrangement says about the U.S. is that at least right now, we are simply not as innovative, entrepreneurial, nor necessarily quite ready to seize the opportunity like China.
As such, what Zap is doing is what any business should do: Go to where the investment opportunities are. For Zap, they have found a unique and interesting opportunity in China that may not be present in the U.S. at least right now. The potential benefits for China of this project are huge whereby "the project plans to reduce carbon dioxide" emissions.
To innovate, therefore, requires 21st Century thinking, which is to go where the market is for innovation and opportunity. If the U.S. wants to become that market in transportation, current public policies and practices need to create the environment for innovative opportunities so similar partnerships can develop here between government officials and businesses as appears to be the case between Zap and officials in the Yangpu area of China. Zap, therefore, is a cutting edge company in the sense that they have identified the market where their bottom line is going to be positively impacted. The U.S. should create the conditions where green companies can develop and innovate here. For now, the conditions appear to be ripe for such innovation in China.
Photo Credit: Frank H