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.
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