This is an item in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a $10,000
base-price electric car from Canada will be marketed in the U.S.
Well, if it were $5,000, then I might...uh, I live now in the country,
approx 15-25 minutes from a Walmart.
Nevertheless, I HOPE IT'S A SUCCESS, while there have been electric
cars being tried-out at least since the 1970s.
Tiny electric car to arrive in selected U.S. markets
Richard Truett - Autoweek
Saturday, July 1, 2006
A Canadian company plans to start selling a tiny $10,000 electric car
in the United States by the end of the month.
The Zenn --- short for zero emissions, no noise --- is a French-built
two-seat hatchback that can go about 35 miles on a single charge of its
lead-acid batteries and is limited to a top speed of 25 mph.
Ian Clifford, 43, CEO of Feel Good Cars Inc. of Toronto, says he has
signed 20 U.S. dealers in the Southeast and Southwest --- mostly
Florida, Arizona and California. He says he expects to expand to around
45 dealers by the end of the year.
Clifford thinks he can sell 2,000 of the micro cars in the next 12
With an overall length nearly 2 feet shorter than a BMW Mini Cooper,
the Zenn is smaller than small. Most states allow registration of
limited-speed electric vehicles for nonhighway use. The vehicle also
requires insurance in most states. In Georgia, limited-speed vehicles
can be operated on roadways with posted speed limits of 35 mph.
Zenn meets or exceeds U.S. and Canadian safety standards for its
low-speed electric vehicles but doesn't have to meet standards for
full-sized passenger cars, the company says.
Clifford said he sees the front-wheel-drive Zenn being used mostly by
drivers running errands who don't need to go fast or far and who want
to be in a carlike vehicle that is weatherproof.
Unlike other small neighborhood electric vehicles, such as Chrysler's
GEM, the Zenn is a fully enclosed car with an aluminum frame. It has
automotive-quality lighting, heating/defroster, switch gear,
instrumentation and seat belts.
About 31,000 GEMs have been sold since the vehicle went on sale in
1998, said Chrysler spokesman Russ Kiefer. He said about half are sold
through retail to consumers who live in gated communities or who drive
short distances. The rest are sold to fleet buyers who use them on
college campuses and in industrial settings.
Feel Good Cars buys the Zenn from Microcar, a French company that is
part of the Beneteau Group, a large sailboat manufacturer. Clifford
says his company buys the Zenn from Microcar minus the drivetrain. At
the company's Montreal plant, about 20 assembly line workers install
the 5-hp electric motor, controller and lead-acid battery pack. From
there, the vehicles are shipped to dealers.
Clifford says electric parts are bought from General Electric Co. and
other name-brand companies and have been designed specifically for use
in neighborhood electric vehicles.
The Zenn's base price is $9,995, not including delivery charges.
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