Mazda2 with rotary range extender

BlaBlaCar, a ridesharing startup in Europe, has raised $100 million in a funding round led by Index Ventures. After recently growing to 12 countries and 8 million users, BlaBlaCar plans to us the funding for even more aggressive growth throughout Europe. The ridesharing service pairs drivers and passengers, allowing passengers to catch rides between cities while allowing drivers to save money on fuel on road trips. Drivers are not allowed to make a profit, and are only allowed to charge enough to break even after BlaBlaCar takes its percentage, to keep costs low for everyone involved. BlaBlaCar doesn't currently have plans to break into the US. Read more at The New York Times or at Gigaom.

NASA has launched its Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 into space to keep track of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. After being delayed on Tuesday, the Delta II rocket equipped with an instrument to measure CO2 launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 5:56 am on Wednesday. It is ultimately headed for a polar orbit to watch how CO2 levels rise and fall throughout the seasons, in part to try to figure out if the land and oceans will continue to be able to absorb half of carbon emissions. The mission will last two years, and should give further insight into climate change. Learn more in the video below, at NASA or at New York Times.

Mazda is likely to release a plug-in version of its Mazda2 hatchback with a rotary range extender, reports Australian site Motoring. The electrified Mazda2, and any other future Mazda EVs and hybrids, will likely be limited to markets with government subsidies for such vehicles (which doesn't include Australia) says Mazda Australia Managing Director Martin Benders. "As the best possible fuel economy at an affordable price hybrid doesn't make sense, because the fuel economy gain isn't that great unless half of all sales are hybrid, which won't happen without big tax breaks like in the Netherlands," said Benders. That doesn't rule out the US, though. A prototype version of the range-extended Mazda2 featured a 0.33-liter rotary engine to provide power to the lithium-ion battery pack when depleted. A 2.6-gallon gas tank essentially doubled the electric Mazda2's driving range to 250 miles. Read more at Motoring.

Zap plans on selling 1,000 Urbee EVs per month to SunRa for distribution in China. The sales are part of a strategic partnership between Zap's Chinese subsidiary, Jonway Auto, and the Chinese SunRa (also known as Xinri Electric Vehicle Company). Zap hopes to expand its product line, get more of its cars on Chinese roads and improve the quality and lower costs of those cars over time. Read more in the press release, below.


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ZAP's Jonway Auto Signs Strategic Partnership and URBEE Volume Purchase Agreement with SunRa

SANTA ROSA, Calif., June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- ZAP (ZAAP), an Electric Vehicle (EV) automotive company incorporated in California and headquartered in Santa Rosa, California received from SunRa volume purchase agreement for its URBEE through its subsidiary Jonway Auto for the Chinese. This contract is an agreement by SunRa to purchase 1,000 URBEEs per month from Jonway Auto to sell through its distribution network in China, starting with the first shipment of 500 URBEEs from Jonway Auto's production line in June 2014. SunRa, which is also called Xinri Electric Vehicle Company, Ltd. http://english.xinri.com/, was founded in 1999 in Jiangsu Province, China. It is one of the leaders specializing in small electric vehicles and auto parts and technologies in EVs in China and has over 1000 distribution dealers in China. Xinri has three major production plants in Wuxi, Tianjin, and Xiangfan cities and six key enterprises in China, having a total of more than five thousand employees and according to Xinri's report. It has an annual production capacity of 2 million small electric vehicles of various types and has been exporting internationally. With type approvals of CE, EN15194, EEC, and DOT for many of its products, Xinri has exported several million different EV products to Europe, America, Asia as well as Africa over the last few years.

This long term strategic partnership as EV supplier to SunRa further reinforces the expansion of ZAP and Jonway Auto's distribution network in China and provides additional opportunities for expansion of the URBEE product line and models. The target objective is to achieve over 8,000 vehicles through SunRa's sales network over the next twelve months. This additional volume commitment would potentially further drive down the costs and also improve the quality and production efficiencies of the manufacturing going forward.

About ZAP and Jonway Auto
ZAP and Jonway Auto designs and manufactures quality, affordable new energy and electric vehicles (EVs). Jonway Automobile has ISO 9000 manufacturing facilities, engineering, sales and customer services facilities in China, ZAP Jonway has production capacity of up to 50,000 vehicles per year, and has established sales distribution network in China. ZAP, an early pioneer of EVs, brings to both companies a broad range of EV product technologies that is applied to the new product lines. ZAP Jonway is headquartered in Santa Rosa, California and Jonway Auto is located in Zhejiang Province of the People's Republic of China. Additional information about ZAP Jonway is available at http://www.zapworld.com.