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ZENN Motor Evaluating Selling its EVs in Canada

ZENN Motor Co., a Canadian manufacturer of low-speed electric vehicles (LSVs) that sells exclusively in the US, is evaluating the potential sale of its EVs in Canada in light of the Quebec Ministry of Transportation’s announcement that it has introduced a province-wide, three-year pilot project that enables LSVs in the province of Quebec.

This is a significant reversal to the previous legislative hurdles that prevented ZENN Motor Company from seriously considering sales activity in the Canadian market and as such, the next step for our company is to fully evaluate the market in the context of this new initiative. Expansion into the Quebec market will require the establishment of proper sales and service channels and we are actively assessing this to try and bring the ZENN to Quebec as soon as possible.

—Ian Clifford, CEO of ZENN Motor Company

ZENN has established an on-line waiting list at to allow consumers in Quebec to state their interest in purchasing a ZENN and receive future e-mail updates as expansion plans progress. Canadian pricing has not yet been determined, but ZENN says it should be comparable to the current MSRP of US$15,995.

The ZENN is currently sold exclusively throughout the US. The ZENN is road-legal in 44 out of 50 states and is used extensively in mixed-use environments.

ZENN is looking to the potential commercialization of the anticipated high power-density ceramic ultracapacitor being developed by its partner, EEStor Inc. to enable future ZENN vehicles to travel at highway speeds and extended distances.


Yes, of course Zenn should sell in Canada. Since Quebec has opened up to this product, they should obviously set up a dealership in Montreal, and then look to eventually setting one up in Quebec city as well.


I sent an email to James Bradley the transportation minister of Ontario.

Mr. Bradley,

I am a resident of Ontario and a listener of 102.1 the Edge in Toronto. I would like you to please accept the invitation sent by Barry Taylor to explain on the air the reasons for keeping alternative methods of transportation, like the ZENN vehicle, off Ontario roads.

his respond;
Thank you for your email about allowing ZENN low-speed vehicles (LSVs) on Ontario's roads.

I am a strong supporter of initiatives that expand mobility options for Ontarians, improve air quality, and promote green technologies.

It is also my job to ensure our province’s roads are safe. Motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death and injury in this province. In fact, a recent report found that the social cost of motor vehicle collisions in Ontario is $17.9 billion annually.

We have heard from people who think that low speed vehicles (LSVs) such as the ZENN car have the same safety features as conventional passenger cars, the only difference being that they are electrically powered. In reality, there are major safety differences between LSVs and passenger cars.

In the event of a crash, low-speed vehicles offer very little in the way of occupant protection. We are worried about people being killed or injured in these vehicles when operated on public roads in mixed traffic. Cars that are both green and safely designed are the vehicles we want on our roads.

We know the care we take in setting the rules of the road is making a difference. Ontario continues to be among the North American leaders in road safety. In 2005, Ontario’s fatality rate (0.87 per 10,000 licensed drivers) was the lowest ever recorded in Ontario. The number of traffic fatalities on Ontario’s roads dropped to 766, the lowest number of fatalities since 1948 when there were many fewer cars on our roads.

Although the ZENN vehicle received the National Safety Mark from Transport Canada, this was for the low-speed vehicle (LSV) class, not for the passenger vehicle class. This means that this particular vehicle can be imported into Canada or sold between provinces as a low-speed vehicle.

LSVs are only required to meet three federally-mandated vehicle safety standards, not the 40 vehicle safety standards that passenger cars are required to meet.

Electric passenger cars are perfectly legal – right now -- for operation on Ontario’s roads if they meet federal standards for a passenger car and equipment requirements under the Highway Traffic Act. All passenger cars, whether gas or electric powered, must meet 40 federally-mandated standards for lights, brakes, windshield, structural strength, bumpers, chassis etc. A few electric passenger vehicles are being produced, and there are some on our roads today. These vehicles are plated and registered as passenger cars.

On December 20, 2007, Transport Canada posted a notice in the Canada Gazette about LSVs. Transport Canada is proposing to change its LSV definition to remove any confusion between LSVs and mainstream electric vehicles.

The new definition would clarify that the LSV was created to meet transportation needs in controlled areas such as college campuses, gated communities, military bases and other places where LSVs would not share the roads with larger and faster motor vehicles. More information is available on Transport Canada’s Low-speed vehicle information sheet at

In order to get a better sense for how low-speed vehicles would perform in a collision, Transport Canada is undertaking safety assessments, including crash tests on LSVs. We will await these results and this information will be used in our assessment of LSVs.

Currently, LSVs are part of a five-year pilot test that began in September 2006, in provincial and municipal parks and conservation areas to see how safely these vehicles can operate in a controlled environment.

The Ontario government is committed to improving the quality of the air we breathe. Recently, the province launched its Next Generation of Jobs Fund, which provides $1.15 billion to help innovative companies create well-paying, sustainable jobs, including those that reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. This is in addition to investments of more than $1 billion that the Ontario government has made in recent years to encourage the manufacture of cleaner/greener cars and other products to curb climate change.

Again, thank you for your interest in this subject and please accept my best wishes.

Yours sincerely,
Jim Bradley

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