The U.S. firm Zap is an electric car company that is investing in theelectric car infrastructure in Shanghai, China. The electric car iscertainly part of the new future both here and China, and it is greatthat 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 adirect result of Governor Schwarzenegger’s trade delegation to Shanghaiin September of this year (2010)."
It is great on the one hand that Zap is taking advantage ofopportunities to expand business and its capabilities in the mostpopulous country globally. After all, China is prime real estate whenit comes to technological innovation and investments in electric cartechnology in this one province are beneficial for both China and theU.S. firm. However, this innovation in China also begs the questionabout 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 businessarrangements made among Chinese officials, representatives of Zap, andgovernment officials from the U.S. Nevertheless, what this businessarrangement says about the U.S. is that at least right now, we aresimply not as innovative, entrepreneurial, nor necessarily quite readyto seize the opportunity like China.
As such, what Zap is doing is what any business should do: Go to wherethe 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 gowhere the market is for innovation and opportunity. If the U.S. wantsto become that market in transportation, current public policies andpractices need to create the environment for innovative opportunities so similar partnerships can develop here between government officials andbusinesses as appears to be the case between Zap and officials in theYangpu area of China. Zap, therefore, is a cutting edge company in thesense that they have identified the market where their bottom line isgoing to be positively impacted. The U.S. should create the conditionswhere green companies can develop and innovate here. For now, theconditions appear to be ripe for such innovation in China.
I am arecent 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 greentechnology going to happen sooner than we think? What kind of messageis needed to sell individuals on the need to stop drill baby drill?These are some of the questions I’d like to explore as a blogger forJustMeans.