Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ZENN Car Finally Approved... in Quebec

First BC, and now Quebec has approved the use of low-speed electric ZENN cars (as well as Quebec-made Nemo trucks) on public streets with speed limits of 50km/h and under. They still need those orange 'horse-cart' triangles on the back and they're required to stick to the right lane unless turning, but in general they're good to go.

And still, we in Ontario must wait. Wait for Transport Minister Jim Bradley to follow through on his promise last fall to expedite our own pilot program and allow this much needed, environmentally sound, Ontario made vehicle on the streets of our own towns and cities. Wait for a province in the midst of a manufacturing jobs crisis to get off its collective ass and throw its support behind what could become the seed of a whole new, environmentally friendly, advanced green technology-based industry, entirely independent of the dinosaurs of Detroit.

Now. Right now. Before ZENN finally gives up and moves to the U.S. Where people can actually drive their cars.


  1. Jennifer

    I was pretty peeved, when I first read that our government's were derailing a Canadian made product, that is environmental responsible. Once I did some more research, I actually changed my opinion. Until, they can get this car up to speed, I don't want it anywhere near the road. It's too big to act like a scooter, so it will end up slowing down traffic, which ultimately means more exhaust emitted, not to mention, people stuck in traffic commuting. For me, I love the car, but if it can't do the speed limit, it simply isn't ready. Anyways, that's my practical opinion, environmental want aside.

  2. I think you're missing the point here: the ZENN isn't a commuter car. It's an urban neighbourhood vehicle, designed for roads 50 km/h and under. Nobody's talking about taking it on the 401 or the Gardner.

    At most it will be going 10 km/h slower than the vehicles around it - hardly likely to cause gridlock, even assuming the other cars were going the max, which in downtown Toronto is... well, never.

    Unless you're the kind of person who honks at and passes people who aren't driving as fast as they can to the grocery store or hockey rink, I'm not sure I see what the problem is.

  3. Jennifer

    Is there a network of roads that is under 50km? It's a pretty limited infastructure, that just isn't practical at the moment. Who is going to buy a car, that they can only use in the downtown core? If that is your only need for travel, then public transit is a far better option. If you need to get in and out of the core, then this car is a nightmare.

    The last thing we need is a bunch of very slow cars clogging up the roads. Like I said, I loved the idea when I first heard, but I'm not supporting something kneejerk, just because it jives with my environmental concern, if it can't meet a very basic standard. I would be in favor of the government investing in the technology, which might help it improve to a point where it's practical, like some of the other eco options.

  4. Who is going to buy a car, that they can only use in the downtown core?

    I would, for one, because I don't live in downtown Toronto - I live in downtown Milton. Ever tried to get anywhere by public transit in Milton? Or Burlington? Or Guelph?

    I don't know about you, but I probably do at least 90% of my driving on 50 km/h and under roads. For the rest - business purposes, visiting my parents, camping trips, etc. - yes, I'd want to hang on to our van. But really, I'd rather leave it sitting in the driveway if I just have to go to the grocery store and it's too wet or cold or hot or snowy to take my bike.

    The fact is, lots of people would, and do, want one of these cars. People who live in urban areas who need something bigger than a folding cart or a bicycle basket to haul groceries, laundry, kids, etc. to and fro. People who currently have two cars and use one of them just for running errands. People who live in the GTA who commute on the GO train who still need a car to get around town where they live.

    Yes, the ZENN might require a shift in our perception of private vehicle use, but I'd consider that to be a good thing. Besides, the ZENN is already being used and enjoyed in BC and most US States to no ill effect.

    Or you can wait until 2009 when they roll out their highway-ready model with EEstor power storage technology. Assuming they're still in business by then or haven't moved to the US.

  5. "Or you can wait until 2009 when they roll out their highway-ready model with EEstor power storage technology. Assuming they're still in business by then or haven't moved to the US."

    That sounds better.

  6. Those cars are slower than molasses! I think cyclists pass me at 50kph! What a complete roadblock and traffic obstacle those things would be.

  7. Seriously, where the hell are you guys driving?! If I ever managed to make it up to 50 on Queen Street I'd be mowing people down.

    I'll bet you honk at people obeying the speed limit in school zones, don't you?

    Maybe it's a guy thing: MUST GO AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. I don't get it.