Lawmakers tour plant that could build electric cars

By Caton Bredar - bio  | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Wouldn't it be nice to drive a car that didn't need any gas? Electric cars are legal in almost every state except Kentucky. There is a big demand for them, and as WAVE 3's Caton Bredar reports, if the law is changed in the Bluegrass, it could even lead to hundreds of new jobs.

At this point, electric cars are capable of running up to 45 miles per hour, going for 100 miles at a time. They are legal in Indiana and now the push is on to get them on Kentucky roads.

ZAP cars get their names because they have Zero Air Pollution output, and their growing popularity is due to their lack of dependence on gasoline.

"All but about four states allow this type of vehicle. It's not a matter of if, we feel, it's a matter of when," said Larry Cottingham of Integrity Manufacturing in Shepherdsville.

Powered solely by electricity, ZAP cars popping up everywhere. There are over 100,000 in use according to company officials - almost everywhere, except Kentucky.

"We meet all federal safety standards. Because of that, they are street legal in all 50 states. We're just having an issue of how to plate them for roads in Kentucky," Cottingham says.

It is an obstacle makers of the ZAP car say must be changed before expanding.

Integrity Manufacturing wants to build ZAP cars in the U.S. In a letter to Integrity, an attorney for ZAP writes: "It appears Kentucky citizens will be denied access to alternative powered vehicles unless there is a change of position by state government."

"When they're paying $4.15 at the fuel pump, and have to choose between food and medicine and gas, this to me seems like a real alternative we need to explore," said State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-34th).

That's something House leader Jody Richards and a group of elected officials were doing as they toured the Integrity plant. The final outcome will not only put ZAP cars on Kentucky streets, it will also create jobs.

Randy Waldman of Integrity Manufacturing says "Integrity is actively looking for sites to build approximately a $30 million facility that would initially employ about 300 employees."

"It's very difficult to make that kind of investment in a state that doesn't support what you're trying to do," Waldman said.

Support seems widespread for changing the law. The trick now is getting it done before the end of the year. Integrity officials say they have to feel confident their cars are legal in Kentucky by the end of the year, or they'll look into options in other states.

For more information on ZAP cars, visit: