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Zonda Bus Not Stopping In Boise Anytime Soon

Amid great fanfare last May, Chinese bus manufacturer Zonda announced it had selected Boise as its USA headquarters to make electric buses. The politicos, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development people all gushed at attracting a major manufacturer of electric buses and up to 1,000 jobs.

A year later the bus still hasn’t made its stop, the schedule has yet to be written, and like the Hoku solar plant in Pocatello, Transform Solar in Nampa, and the Dynamis fantasy at the town dump, all they need for success is public money and government approval to fulfill their dream.

Transform Solar announced Tuesday it will shutdown operations and eliminate 250 jobs in Nampa where they make solar panels. They offer the usual “look for opportunities to bring Transform Solar employees into Micron in Boise or at its operations in Lehi, Utah and Virginia, Francisco.”

Transform is the second solar-based company in Idaho to report problems in the past week.

The GUARDIAN talked with Ken St. John, the Zonda spokesman Tuesday. He said it will “happen when it happens” and the firm is operating out of its Seattle offices at the present. He cited financing and “government hoops” as obstacles the firm seeks to overcome.

We doubt if Treasure Valley will ever see the promised jobs and prosperity from Chinese buses.

UPDATE 6/4/12–The spokesman told the GUARDIAN today there are no Zonda buses operating in the USA and things like glass, brake lines, and other USA requirements are slowing the process. He has an Idaho 208 area code phone because “it makes things easier,” but acknowledged there is no Zonda presence in Idaho. “It is just a matter of WHEN, not IF,” he said.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Drill Baby Drill! We have more NG than we can safely store… So they are burning it off in thousands of flares big enough to heat hundreds of homes each.

    Meanwhile, because AlGore said so, we are trying to figure out how to make tiny amounts electricity at very high costs with expensive high maintenance solarpannel and wind machines.

    Americans, PLEASE remove head from bottom and burn the cleanest energy of all.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304707604577422192910235090.html

  2. by government hoops, he means lack of government subsidies. Those subsidies go to companies in states that voted for Obama, not Idaho, and Obama can not afford too many more solar fiascos.

    I can make energy from glass bottles, I just need $2M from Ada County for planning and development documents.

  3. No electric bus because Dave Bieter is still trying to shove the trolly up everyone’s public transportation access!!!

  4. The Chinese tried to come to boise, but the new bus they were riding in was made in china and broke down in Reno.

  5. It’s not really a bus, it’s two Chevy Volt’s welded together.

  6. Could the writer please describe with more specifics what is holding up Zonda? That is an incredibly vague description. Do you KNOW or is this conjecture on your part?

    EDITOR NOTE–We talked to their PR guy listed on their website. He was evasive, but admitted northing is happening so far. Also called Camarillo, CA transportation dept. and they have no dealings and plan none with Zonda, despite claims to the contrary a year ago by Zonda.

  7. Jimmy D Bus
    Jun 4, 2012, 10:12 am

    Shocking, absolutely shocking news but not surprising. Thanks Guardian for following up on Zonda USA.

    The manufacturing plant story is interesting in itself, but what about the corporate office that was coming to Boise also?

    The Zonda USA website still says it … “will establish its headquarters in the Boise, Idaho area in 2011” and that it had retained a local commercial real estate company to find a suitable location.

    The jobs section of the Zonda USA website, current as of February 1, 2012, shows they are still recruiting for 6 positions … “in our Boise area corporate office.”

    And the photo caption on a press release dated December 14, 2011 on the Chinabuses.org web site says “Zonda USA headquarters is located in Boise the capital of Idaho State, the United States. Now Zonda USA has bought a piece of land which measures 2276 mu (about1517340.92 square meters) and decides to build 371600 square meters of factory district, and 29 workshop building which are mainly used for all pure electric buses parts assembly.”

    Interesting. No corporate headquarters AND no manufacturing plant. Why no corporate headquarters in Boise yet Zonda USA? A corporate headquarters office isn’t dependent on production demand.

    Maybe the Guardian could ask the Zonda USA spokesperson why they haven’t at least located their corporate headquarters here in Boise yet. Seems they’re telling the world they’re here.

  8. Jimmy D, It seems that Joseph Parker (ZondaUSA Pres.) likes to sign new agreements with Zonda Group(Chinese) every 2-3 years.

    First he was part of Parker International/Apache/Transnational Automotive Group(OTCBB:TAMG) Signing MOU with Zonda in 2006
    http://www.logisticsonline.com/doc.mvc/Transnational-Automotive-Signs-Memorandum-Of-0001

    Then with CD3I International in 2008, http://www.chinabuses.com/english/news/0801/18002.htm

    Finally with ZondaUSA in 2011, http://zondausa.com/Zonda_USA/News/Entries/2011/12/19_Agreements_Signed_in_China.html

    I wonder if this guy is try to actually do business, or find local governments(USA, China, other countries) to fund his business?

    EDITOR NOTE–Does this have a familiar ring? Like a ski resort, or trash to energy deals, or solar panel factories? Thanks Clancy for the research.

  9. Jimmy D Bus
    Jun 4, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the research Clancy.

    I’m going with the finding a government (somewhere) to fund the operation option. He’s already been politely turned down by the what’s our name this week local bus system.

    It’s interesting to hear the Zonda USA spokesperson claim glass, brake lines, and other USA requirements are slowing the process.

    Perhaps he didn’t read the press release on the Zonda USA web site dated December 19, 2011 which says “All Zonda buses sold in NAFTA by Zonda USA meet FMVSS safety standards and have DOT certification. Zonda USA expects to announce its US production plans in the next sixty days.”

    So if all Zonda buses met FMVSS safety standards and had DOT certification back in December what’s the problem now? Seems some wires have gotten crossed here.

    At least we now know the US production plans. Zero. Wonder how you say goose egg in Chinese? Dead Battery?

  10. chicago sam
    Jun 4, 2012, 10:27 pm

    Mr. Saylor’s Chinese connections aren’t working out to well. Hoku and Zonda. Wonder what he will tell the legislature next year when he wants his Department of Commerce funded?

  11. JJ’s short course in economics: Blame Obama.

  12. I see Potlatch is getting a new company to make firearm ammo. Are the Treasure Valley mayors also attempting to attract gun related jobs? (Aside from the F-35)

  13. Has Zonda USA established a corporate office yet in Idaho?

    EDITOR NOTE–They have a press release a year old claiming to have done so, but there is nothing we can find here. The phone number goes to a cell phone of a PR guy.

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