Welcome back faithful L.A. Rides readers, what a long strange trip it’s been. Just having returned from the four month adventure that was the incredible (and successful) experience of the WGA writers strike, I’m excited to kick off 2008 with a look into the automotive future. A future that you can live today. I’m talking about the all-electric Environmental Motors Zenn car.
Gone are the days of the cheapie golf-cart-like or big-money-exotic electrics that only George Clooney can afford (seriously, he is the coolest). The Zenn is for everyone, or for anyone who is willing to re-think how they use and above all feel about their current car. What makes the Zenn stand out from the latest crop of mini-cars that have been recently invading our shores? Compared to the traffic-stopping Lilliputian Smart Car and the Mini Cooper, the Zenn seems down right, dare I say…conservative. It’s a bit boxy in a safe-looking way and there is plenty of greenhouse (windows in auto journo speak) so you can take in the world around you and enjoy the fact that you’re not consuming one drop of that $4.00 dino-juice and that the only emissions emanating from the Zenn car’s tailpipe (if it had one) are good vibes!
Alright, maybe that’s going too far. But just to reassure you that I haven’t gone off the green-car deep end, I’ve got to admit the Zenn might not be right for everyone. Still, with an Uncle Sam restricted top speed of a mere 25 mph (or much faster unrestricted) and only two passenger seats (with a ton of flat, usable storage space), the Zenn could be a good primary car for the city commuter or the perfect second car for a suburban errand runner. The fit and finish of the Zenn are comparable to a quality import compact, as is the price and myriad of luxury features. The main difference? This Toronto-manufactured honey is fully electric and requires no (or very little) maintenance.
But how is it to drive? After taking a high speed jaunt up and over the world famous twisty of Laurel Canyon, on my way to the spotless and modern EVM Zenn Car showroom for my test-drive, I arrived a bit over-revved and raring to go. Even while the calm folks at EVM explained to me the benefits of their marvelous little electric car, my head was still filled with petrol-fueled tension. All I wanted to do was get in and drive the thing! Now, why do I tell you all this? Because, once you get in the Zenn, your whole world changes. You’ve got to recalibrate your mind to the truly ‘Zen’ experience of it. And I must say, I recommend it highly. No engine growl, no smell of burning rubber, no racing from red light to red light, just serene forward movement. You notice things (like pedestrians) and the trees above you (the roll-back roof option is amazing) and the world around you becomes, for lack of a better term -- just better.
As my wonderful and informative test drive companion/sales manager Trudy from EVM, explained to me, ZENN stands for “ Zero Emission No Noise”. But what she was wise enough to explain to me after my face had turned from a tense “let’s go!” to a calmer Keanu-Reeves-like “Whoa”, is that in a landscape filled with soaring gas prices and rising road rage, maybe a safe, economical 25 mph plug in car is exactly what the doctor ordered. That ‘Zen’ enough for ya?
Check out the Environmental Motors website at www.environmentalmotors.com for more in depth technical details and purchase information.
See you on the big screen,