California-based electric-vehicle maker and distributor Zap has acquired all intellectual property owned by Smart Automobile LLC that enables the micro Smart Car to meet Department of Transportation safety standards.

Smart Automobile is a privately held company that oversees the direct importation and modification of Smart brand vehicles to comply with U.S. standards.

The Smart Car is assembled in Germany by Smart GmbH, a division of DaimlerChrysler AG’s Mercedes Car Group.

ZAP’s acquisition includes all engineering, analyses and tests performed by Smart Automobile and related third parties, as well as all physical assets such as molds, tooling and parts.

Having received regulatory approvals through its importers, ZAP plans to distribute the Smart Car in the U.S.

ZAP is not affiliated with, or authorized by, Smart GmbH or the Smart division of Mercedes-Benz LLC, which will begin shipping the micro car directly to the U.S. in 2008.