Zenn and the art of electric-car maintenance

Feel Good Motors to officially launch the Zenn electric car, which boasts a 35-mile driving range and a 4-hour charge time.

Zenn electric car
Zenn Motor

Is it possible to achieve dharma at 25 mph?

The Zenn (which stands for Zero Emission, No Noise), available since February from Feel Good Cars subsidiary Zenn Motor, can be purchased from 33 dealerships throughout 20 U.S. states.

Surprised that you've never heard of the two-"n" Zenn? That may be because the company doesn't plan to have an official car-promoting launch until September 9, a company representative told CNET News.com last week.

Priced between $12,750 and $16,000, depending on options selected, the car offers a driving range of up to 35 miles per charge. And while the car can theoretically go faster, it tops out at 25 mph, in keeping with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations for this type of car.

Ironically, while the Zenn was developed by a publicly traded company based in Canada, it has not yet been approved for street-legal driving in Canadian provinces. But it's among one of the electric cars you can buy right now in the United States.

Of course, that's not the most interesting thing about this company.

In April 2007, Zenn Motor paid about $2.5 million for a 3.8 percent share in EEstor, a company that claims to be developing a revolutionary technology that will offer a much longer charge range than those of prevalent chemical batteries. It remains to be seen whether future versions of the Zenn will have this "super battery."

While Zenn cars may have a special power source from EEStor, its current three-door hatchback model offers a battery that can become 80 percent recharged in 4 hours, or fully recharged in 8 hours, from any standard 120-volt outlet.

And for our left-loving neighbors in the United Kingdom, Japan and elsewhere, Zenn Motor posts in its specs that it is also offering a right-side drive option.

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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