Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Want a ZENN!

I'm not sure why, but I seem to have developed a reputation as some sort of environmentalist in this town. People invite me to join eco-friendly Facebook groups and hand me business cards for naturopaths and organic food distributors all the time. It might have been this letter I wrote to the Champion a while back, or my attendance at Turner's little 'EcoSummit' last year. Or maybe it's just my general leftist tendencies in this largely centre-right rural town.

I assure you, this green reputation is entirely unwarranted.

Ok, so I bitch a lot about urban sprawl (who doesn't?), I've scolded the produce manager at the Loblaw's for mis-labelling Mexican peppers as 'Product of Canada', and I've taken to riding my bike everywhere I can. But that's mostly for the exercise. And not in the winter. And I'm lazy.

The sad fact is, this is my ride:

(ok, not mine per se - mine isn't that clean)

Now before you start wagging your finger at me, you should know that my husband and I are both self-employed, and my husband's business (and mine up until a year ago) involves transporting large bins of saleable goods, tents, tables and display units to various trade shows, conventions and film locations. We need a van - specifically a van that can take a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood.

Unfortunately we can't afford to buy and maintain a second, smaller vehicle right now, and Milton is currently in the process of moving every grocery store, hardware store and office supply store to the outer reaches of our universe. So it's either drive our gas-guzzling behemoth on short trips around town, or get ourselves a bicycle with a motor, a roof, a heater and a REALLY big basket.

Or we could get us one of these instead:

Dear Mr. McGuinty: I really, REALLY want a ZENN. Please approve them immediately. It's electric, it's affordable, and it's Canadian. It's a no-brainer. I don't give a crap if I can't take it on the highway - we have the van for that.

Admittedly, I would be happier if their top speed was 50 kph instead of 40 kph. After all, my street is 50 kph (40 by the school), and already I get assholes honking at me and trying to pass when I insist on adhering to the speed limit. Still, I'd be willing to put up with it if I could just buy my groceries without either getting soaked in the rain on my bike or being overwhelmed with eco-guilt for killing my grandchildren.

So here is my pledge: When the ZENN becomes available in Ontario, and assuming it stays somewhere within the $12,000 price range, I WILL BUY ONE.

I'm getting conflicting reports as to whether the speed limitations of the ZENN are due to the battery technology or a quirk of the licensing regulations in the U.S., but I have the impression that a 10 kph bump is do-able at some point in the future.

In the meantime, I could just get myself a new bumper sticker.


  1. Good post, Jennifer!

    Maybe if enough of us get people's attention with this product, the "Powers That Be" will actually make them available here in Canada!

  2. This is just to let you know that I've added your blog to Opinions Canada

    I hope that's okay


  3. "[...] Milton is currently in the process of moving every grocery store, hardware store and office supply store to the outer reaches of our universe."

    And don't forget the library, which is being moved to the old Milton Hydro spot in a few years.

  4. I want one too..