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Feel Good Cars Introduces the ZENN

States with LSV legislation. Source: Feel Good Cars

Feel Good Cars is unveiling the all-new ZENN (Zero Emission No Noise) luxury electric Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) at the Clean Cities Congress and Expo 2006 in Phoenix. (Earlier post.)

A fully-enclosed LSV or NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle), the ZENN has a curb weight of 1,280 pounds (581 kg) and is powered by six 12V heavy-duty valve-regulated sealed lead-acid AGM batteries and a 3.7 kW front-wheel drive electric motor. The car currently has a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), and a range of approximately 35 miles (approximately 56 km). A full recharge takes 8 to 9 hours, 80% rechargeable in four hours.

LSVs are a class of vehicle created by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) allowing vehicles to travel on roads marked 35 mph or less, at a maximum speed of 25 mph. Forty-five states plus the District of Columbia in the United States have some level of legislation permitting LSV use.

The markets for the ZENN include drivers in planned communities, urban core commuters, drivers who participate in car-sharing programs, users on university or corporate campuses, communities on islands, environmentally sensitive areas such as parks and car rental companies.

The ZENN is also intended for fleet- and environmentally-focused buyers, as well as inner-city dwellers who need protection from the elements and something more versatile than a scooter but not a gas-guzzling high-speed car. Each 100 miles driven in a ZENN displaces three gallons of gasoline and eliminates more than 60 pounds of CO2 emissions, according to Feel Good Cars.

By driving a ZENN you cut emissions, not comfort or performance. With its European styling and appointments, you also don’t have to give up style to feel good while you drive.

—Ian Clifford, CEO of Feel Good Cars

Feel Good Cars has worldwide exclusive rights to purchase EEStor’s new Energy Storage Unit—a high-power-density ceramic ultracapacitor—for the small vehicle market and golf carts (up to 100 HP and 1,200 kg curb weight).

The EEStor ESU is projected to offer up to 10x the energy density (volumetric and gravimetric) of lead-acid batteries at the same cost. In addition, the ESU is projected to store up to 1.5 to 2.5 times the energy of Li-Ion batteries at 12 to 25% of the cost.

EEStor recently informed FGC that it continues on schedule in the commercialization of the ESU. FGC is up to date and current with its commitments to EEStor Inc. with the next milestone consisting of independent 3rd party verification of EEStor’s technology, expected during the summer of 2006.


gerald earl

Its a niche market but Im hoping they are getting situated for a ramp up when eestore completes their their third party verification.
These cars are only half the vehicle weight that funcar is lcensed to produce.The starting capital they provided eestore would give them the subcompact market.Eestore would then be free to license the technology to other automakers for the rest of the lines.
Stipulating that their claims are all true what could they accomplish.All electric sedans,suv's ,can some engineers project for us what they could manufacture with all their claims accepted as true.
I dont have the background to know for sure but my gut tells me it would be a true game changer.AFS trinity has some news out but they are still at least a couple of years out.If Kleiner Perkins & Caulfield are involved I believe they must have some demonstration to back up their claims.Well,lets pray that its true.


I would love to see a major auto manufacturer use the Eestor's ESU in a plug-in hybrid...Low price and low operating cost and long life and long range....


When are the investments going to come in for the TANGO. If ONE major automobile manufacturer would step up to the plate we would'nt be talking about these oversize overpriced golf carts we would have a real electric car alternative that would blow away most hybrids and all the electric vehicles now offered.


EESTOR is a scum, and ZENN is a joke. Do not waste your time dreaming.

Ron Fischer

Anyone else recall the Chrysler LSV prototype auctioned off after the California ZEV mandate died? Max speed: 45mph. Was there a proposal attached to this prototype to broaden the LSV rules?

Zenn may be marginal, but a company which developed the market with legislation that upped the speed of LSVs, might have an edge.


Limited speed
limited range
limited safety features
Price? I bet it is 8k to 10K.
I would buy one BUT I need to travel a road with 45mph speed limit, so that locks me out.
Buy a Yaris for about the same price and get air conditioning also?
Just can't touch that!


NEVs and ZENNs are a good idea, however, it is hard to see them become a huge salllin item because of all those issue related to speed, safety and yes...price.
Some poster here says that EVs are a joke, but he doesn't know that they are coming very soon. I can't repeat this enough times; there are several new start-up EV companies [mostly based in California] not affiliated with Detroit which are going to be the real deal/answer to gas consumption in a short year or two.
These vehicles are going to be freeway capable and very attractive and mostly reasonably priced.
The secret here is for these companies not to be in any way affiliated with Detroit, but rather to be indipendent and free of building a market which in California alone is currently valued at about 250,000 units sold per year. Fleet EVs could be reaching from 20,000 to 50,000 of unit sold/leased per year as well.
I owned a GEM for a while and it was fun, but what truly bothered me was the fact that when I needed to quickly "jump" on the freeway, I had to go home first and exchange vehicles. To me, that is one of the major factor why NEVs are limited to a very small niche market. Perhaps, they will sell very well in Catalian Island off the coast of California, where everyone drives a golf cart and ICEs are absolutely not allowed!

Fred Sands, Ph.D.


I meant Catalina Island [Avalon] few miles from Long Beach, California.



I have heard about the Cheese from California, but
(EV)Cars from California?
I need to replace my car in three years, for the last time(getting too old), so thanks for giving me hope.
Hopefully it will be a four seater and cost less than 20K.
But unless it is made in China, just the cost of the battery(6k-8k) will push it over 20k.
If no EV cars by that time, I'll take the money and install about 3KW of solar on my roof.
I know God is for Green.
Buying an EV or installing solar should increase my chances of entering Heaven.


Even though some eyes are on Detroit, the real future evolution of cars will be formed by Toyota.
For their upcoming PHEV, they had to be thinking.......
Should Toyota give the customer an EV(pluggable) range of 9 miles, 20, 40, 100miles?
For the added cost of battery capacity to give even 40 mile range instead of 9 miles, Toyota could supply the IC engine and drive train! And the customer still can have the benefits of a quick fillup for long range.
1)PHEVs will be with us for a long time, when they finally appear on the showroom floors.
2)Toyota will steadily increase the pluggable range as cost permits.
3) Unfornately, most consumers, wanting to buy a pure EV
will swayed by Toyota's name and gas benefits.
After all, a PHEV is a Flex Energy car. Choose the source of energy which is most convienent at the moment.

For the new EV car companies, All I can do is silently hold my hat over my heart, in respect, for those people willing to put their sweat, money, and time, knowing they face overwhelming odds in the war against(reader can fill in the villians).


So it IS an electric golf cart? Will they pass FMVSS?. Cant believe we're gonna see those POS Crown Vics for another 10 years.

Mark A

".......several new start-up EV companies [mostly based in California} not affiliated with Detroit.........answer to gas consumption in a short year or two......"

Fred, what are these start-up companies names? I follow all the automotive news magazines, etc, and have only heard of one. A niche carmaker of which the name escapes me at the moment. It outperforms a Ferrari and a Porsche, but, if I remember right, costs 100K+, with limited range and no creature comforts. I think it is also a single seater! I dont think we need niche makers. We need real solutions.

I am all for EVs, but currently the technology doesnt exist to go faster than 50mph, recharge in under an hour, provide heat in -25 degree Alaskan winters, air conditioning in 125 degree Arizona summers, survive the current crash standards, all for under 15K. If so, every major automaker would be selling one today. I hope these California companies are successful, but do not feel they can leapfrog the automotive giants into producing a viable EV.


car companies selling new, highway-capable battery electric vehicles (BEVs):

Venturi Fetish - based on the acpropulsion drivetrain

Commuter Cars - they have sold one, i think. but they will make one for you if you have the dosh. they want to mass-produce and sell a slower version for less than $30k, but it appears they haven't been able to prove there is a market yet.

The Happy Messenger from China mentioned here previously, but it was only sold to fleets, so it doesn't really count. If I can't theoretically buy one, it doesn't count.

Then, of course, tens of companies that will convert or custom modify your ICE car to be a BEV, but that hardly counts. I mean, who wants a car with unproven engineering, no warrantee, no test drive, nobody to sue when it explodes in flames or the brakes prove ineffective because of the 800lbs of batteries.

So, $108k or $200k for a two-seater to tool around town?

I'll believe in Fred's mythical Ca companies when they produce something for the market. Until then, I will continue to believe that battery costs will push vehicle prices into Bently territory.

hampden wireless

The market needs an electric car with specs as good as the EV1. Using 10 years of advances in tech it could be built and sold for $30,000. Any thoughts of a lower price is pipe dreaming in the next few years. If they built it they would sell thousands but probobly not tens of thousands.

I would buy a low speed NEV if it could be insured at half or less of a regular car. From what I have seen so far the insurance is about the same as a full sized car.

PS - the EV1 probobly cost GM more then $50,000 in material costs alone yet alone the true cost which of course is probobly near half a mil per car.


Rather than Eestor, Firefly energy seems to me to be the best hope. If Firefly can deliver close to what they promise it could make the plug-in hybrid economical.


Feels good, looks horrible.
Why do good cars always have to look like Soviet scrap metal? Hire a European designer for God's sake.


Go here

Compair the 2001 Rav4 EV to a 2001 prius.

They give estimates on MPG on both vehicles, as well as # of tons of GHG produced per yr.

I was surprised to see that the prius was rated at 3.8 tons per yr where the rav4 was actually higher at 4.2 tons.

I find that pretty funny.

So while electricity might be cheaper than gas, the electric vehicle to use it is not, + the cost of replacing expensive batteries every so often.

So it is hard to argue that an EV is cheaper but worse yet it you might not be able to claim it is any cleaner either.

anti grav

when the EV1 was built GM said there was a market for around one hundred thousand a year in the us alone, the car had a top speed of 80mph and a range of 100miles well within the range needed by 90 per cent of people, that was using lead acid batterys, using the best batterys today lithium ion the car would get about 300 miles per charge easy, this is one of the reasons car makers dont want to build or sell electric cars, if people had evs they would change there cars less often and just upgrade the batterys every few years and the car gets better every time more speed more range, an elecrtric motor lasts a lot longer than an ice engine i have worked in places with ac motors that run 24hours a day all year for years try that with an ice engine
there are more i'm sure all the tech is ready the only problem is the price of the batterys once that comes done evs will be everywhere
what would have happened if Bush spent some money to mass produce LI batterys and not spend billions in iraq


Anti Grav, you spoke like a prodigy.

Altough I know that out there there are many [hundreds of thousands] Americans who strongly believe in EVs and would love to buy EVs if there was a choice of them.

But all these skeptic/negative posters are driving me crazy!

To Mark A; Yes there are at least five if not more new EV start-ups in California. The ones I personally know, are not trying to build a $100K+ type of car, but a more accessible $25K to $45K type of vehicle.
To those guys who are saying that there's no EV market unless the [EV] cars prices are at around $15K to $20, I say forget it... but like Anti Grav says... if there's more SERIOUS effort from the public and private sectors to invest in battery technology to lower prices, then I think it is going to be hard to beat it!

Last night on CBS's 60 Minutes, Rick Wagoner [CEO of GM] said that Ethanol is the [almost] only way out from oil addiction. Why you ask? Beacause they [Big Detroit Automakers] have already so many billions of dollars invested in ICE technology and infrastructure, that AC or DC powered vehicles make no finacial sense for them! Only new [small & stealth] start-ups can make this a reality... stay away from Detroit altogether!!!
Those guys [Detroit] exsist only to manipulate the market and sell [mostly] horrible cars that break all the times and cost a lot of money for not reason!

Do you know what Ford did to the City [fleet] of SF?
Sold them thousands of CNG vehicles and shortly after [one year or two] discountinue the production leaving SF and probably many other clients with a usesless pile of Ford engineered scrap metal!!!

If I was the Mayor of SF at the time this matter broke into the public arena, I would have demanded justice and ask the State Attorney to file a huge suit against Ford for basically...flat out fraud!!!

But that's me...

FS, Ph.D.


It's all about the Battery; build it and they will buy.
There are NO other issues with building a likeable EV. :)

Mark A

Fred, I am all for EVs. But you still have not provided us with any of these five companies names, that are shooting for $25K-$40K priced ev vehicles. And as someone else said, its all about the battery. Anyone can build a car, but developing the powerplant energy is the key. There were viable electric cars at the dawn of the auto age. But the battery technology wasnt there. Still isnt in many respects.

Like I said before, I know of only one Cali based maker, I think its a Wrightspeed. It a roadster that will sell for $100K. It does have two seats, but in an open cockpit, much like an indy car. It doesnt say anything about AC or heat, but with an open cockpit, whats the use right? It doesnt even have a front bumper!! Much less any luggage space, or storage. Try putting your xmas shopping in it at the mall while going back inside, and see if its there when you get back! Not very practical for average Joe commuting to work in Phoenix, Arizona in July, or average Jane driving to the supermarket in Nome, Alaska in January.

Keep in mind that these vehicles will have to pass all the current crash standards, including side impact and windshield head injury tests to be viable. They must drive through standing water and cross mud or snow, without shorting out. I hope someone can deliver. But the point I am making is that I dont think some startup company is going to leapfrog the major automakers (including the Japanese/Germans here, since everyone seems to think major automakers only mean Detroits GM and Ford) in this way with a viable alternative. I hope I am wrong. I will be one of the first to buy if someone does, in addition to offering financing and a high mileage warranty!

GM and Ford, and all the automakers, have alot of unseen R&D work going on, with electrics and the like just like these startup silicon valley companies. Probably with a much larger budgets to boot. Just because its unseen doesnt mean its not there! Mitsibishi has been fairly open with their MIEV concepts, which have electric motors in the wheel hubs. They have been doing rally race tests with them recently. But that being said, they are not ready to introduce them into the market yet, due to them not being fully developed or ready. I am optimistic about what will come.

anti gravity

the wright speed will sell for 100k most of this is the cost of the battery, it costs so much besause its new tech, wait a few years the cost will def come down, ever since mobile phones and ipods lap top pcs ect became mass market products a huge amount of R and D is being pushed into better batterys
do a google search on the mitsubishi EV 250km range 18000$ out in 2008
subaru re1 125mile range in 2009 125km range
both of these are from japan which is where i think the first mass market EV will come from. Because Japan has no oil and no oil lobby plus the government has said they sopport EVs and would like to see them built (when the japanese gov say they will do something they mean it, and they do it)
for 18000$ i would buy the mitsubishi in a heartbeat


HI All,
The TANGO T600 at while currently priced at over 100k, needs an investment of about 50 mill to develop their much cheaper T200 and T100. That is what I meant about some investment. The T600 is already NHRAA cerified safe does 0-60 in 4 seconds and has a conservative range of 70 miles. The T600 is really expensive because it cannot be produced at economy of scale. If a significant investment were made by some visionary, people will buy these. While I am encouraged by the ZENN it propagates the myth that electric cars are slow, not powerful, and ugly and for that I vociferously call for the potential of EV's to be realized like the TANGO.


Two seater Cars,no Trunk?How many seats does a Motorcycle or Scooter have?Trunk ?Yet there are thousands on the Road,any Vehicle with 3 or 4 Wheels,enclosed,beats a Crotch Rocket.
The Way our "regressives"(Republicans),Wallstreet and Bernanke are murdering our Dollar,you won't need a Trunk for Christmas Shopping,just a Wheel Barrow to pay cash for a dozen Apples.


We're looking into ev's and are considering the Zenn car, because we're tired of all the BS with the car companies Not giving us the choise. My concerns are getting up hills as we live in VT, and going at least 30-40 mph to be safe on any streets but downtown. A car dealer that I spoke with about this car says most people unhook the governor, but even then, does this car have the power with only a 5 hp motor? And is it the battery or the motor that gives it the final push up the hill? Somebody's gotta take the leap and do it or we're all just blowing hot air here. Who's ready to go for it?

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