My Zenn


I purchased my Zenn from Vic Staley, manager of NorthCentral Zenn, New London, Ohio. It is a 2007 Zenn model 2.22, and includes a sunroof. I have been driving it for about 2 months now, and love it. The cost for charging the battery has been very low , and I have put over 700 miles on it.

Here is a photo of my Zenn and me:

Since buying this vehicle I have made a few improvements, and plan to do a few more - such as adding a locking glove box door (an option I turned down at the time of purchase). My Zenn dealership can get me whatever parts I need.

This vehicle, being electric, is so simple. No complicated gasoline engine to maintain. no oil to change, no antifreeze to think about, no tune-ups, and no gasoline to buy. It should be a breeze to maintain.

Of course this is a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV), so it is not legal, or safe, to drive it on freeways or other high speed roadways. The controller has been adjusted with software so that my max speed is about 37 mph, and it has a summer time range of about 35 miles. The max speed of 37 mph allows me to keep right up with the traffic in my area - which are city streets and county roads. I use it for all of our daily errands, such as going to the grocery store, post office, mall, local ball games, etc.

As delivered, this vehicle just had decals (“ELECTRIC”) on both doors to announce to the world that it is an EV . I changed that by filling in the 2 inch wide horizontal indentations on the body of the car with 2 inch wide black strips (with chrome edges top and bottom) purchased from Pep Boys. Then I placed chrome plated “ELECTRIC” logos on the strips located on the doors. The logos were purchased at EV Tradin’ Post for $6.00 each. Both the strips and the logos were attached with adhesive that was already on the strips and logos.

Then I purchased and installed an inexpensive cup holder from WalMart. I MUST have coffee every day, and love going to McDonalds to get it (and to show off my Zenn). See the photo below:

Yesterday I decided to compare my electric bills before and during the two months I have been driving my Zenn, beginning in mid-January. During these two months I have averaged about 90 miles per week.

For the period of 12/13/2007 to 1/16/2008, my total household electric bill was $115.34. This was the period BEFORE my Zenn was delivered to me. At that time I had extra lights inside and outside the house for Christmas decorations, so my electric bill was higher than usual. For the period prior to that (11/12/2007 to 12/13/2007), the bill totaled $102.98.

For the period of 1/16/2008 to 2/14/2008, my total household electric bill (including recharging my Zenn battery pack) was $106.42.

For the period from 2/14/2008 to 3/14/2008, my total household electric bill (including recharging my Zenn battery pack) was $105.98.

Of course household electric bills will vary from month to month, depending on the activities of the family, but it looks like recharging my Zenn battery pack won’t have much impact on the bill.

To say the least, I am very pleased. :slight_smile:

thanks so much for that, honestly after seeing that and me being already excited to get an EV makes me 100x more excited to get one.

have you experienced any problems with it?

have you noticed any differences in range with the temperature differences? seeing as batteries in the cold act differently.


No, so far no problems at all.

Yes, cold temperature will definitely effect the range. When the temperature gets down into the low 20s (degrees fahrenheit) or lower, the range is cut to 8 miles or less. However, there are a couple of solutions: (1) if you have a heated garage, your range will be fine, or (2) if you can somehow keep your batteries warm in some other way, your range will be fine.

I am considering purchasing some electric battery blankets that plug into a 110 volt household wall outlet. JC Whitney has some for about $40 each. Unfortunately they are only 28 inches long, while the batteries have a 40 inch perimeter.

I did a layout to see how many blankets would be needed.

For the front two batteries, 2 blankets plus about 10.6 inches of a third blanket would be needed in order to completely wrap the batteries. Instead of cutting the third blanket (and possibly ruining it), I would just let it overlap. These two batteries are positioned end-to-end, against each other with no gap, so I wouldn’t try to wrap around each battery separately - just wrap around the pair.

The rear four batteries are arranged two batteries end-to-end, and the two pair of batteries are against each other with no gap. As with the front two batteries, I would just wrap around the entire quad. This means that 3 blankets would be required, plus a 4 inch piece of another blanket. As with the front, I would just double wrap the 4th blanket rather than try and cut out a 4 inch piece.

So seven blankets would be required- 3 in front and 4 in the rear - for a total cost of $280 plus shipping.

Having said all of this, there may be a better way. For example, some battery heaters are designed to sit UNDER the batteries. They may do better, or worse, I have no idea. Anyway, I am going to look around on the internet to see if I can find a report written by someone who has actually installed battery blankets on their EV. No way am I going to spend almost $300 without some assurance that they will do the job - warm the batteries AND extend the wintertime range.

I have also considered installing a natural gas garage heater in the ceiling of my garage. That may be the best option, but it could be costly considering the task of running new gas lines and installing the heater.

Anyway, spring is here, and maybe by next winter the ultracapacitance batteries, which are not affected by temperature, will be available.

ok from experience with batteries… as long as they are sitting on something thats insulated they work much better… like if you sit a battery on a concrete floor they will drain completely after time. (best to sit them on something) i’d immagine that if you used some house insulation the fire rated kind you’d be fine.

as far as heating the garage, natural gas will get expensive. you can always do different meathods of solar heating. if you have sunlight that hits the garage door on your house, there are VERY inexpensive solar heaters you can make for the garage that cost all of maybe $5 to make each.

Great suggestion (solar heaters), and my garage door faces south and is not blocked by trees. I’ll look into it. Thanks.

This is kind of what i was thinking about…

put one in each window of the garage or something.

I really like this post and it also gets me more [B]excited[/B] about EV’s when I see someone like voltsrus who you can clearly tell loves his EV Zenn. He actually did it, he is using it to his advantage (electric technology) and making it work with his lifestyle.

This vehicle, being electric, is so simple. No complicated gasoline engine to maintain. no oil to change, no antifreeze to think about, no tune-ups, and no gasoline to buy. It should be a breeze to maintain.

I love it… no gas to buy , no oil to change, no antifreeze, no tune ups. What else is their to say!

Oh ya , thank you voltsrus for your post and congratulations on your new electric car.

I just installed a different horn in my Zenn. It is a Model 419 Bad Boy Dual Tone Air Horn that is powered electrically just like the original Zenn horn. It is LOUD!! (118 db, 530-680 hz). Really attracts attention, and yet - has a nice “old style Buick” tone. The price at a local Pep Boys outlet was $50. It is made by Wolo Manufacturing, I mounted it on the forward (outer) surface of the battery box located in the front of the car. Just had to drill one hole. I’m thinking of installing a toggle switch on the dash so that I can honk either horn. :>)

Ran into a minor glitch. The Bad Boy horn draws 12 amps at startup (beginning of a toot) and 6 to 8 amps after that. Since the horn is in a Zenn circuit that is normally fused with a 7.5 amp fuse, naturally the fuse blew. I replaced the 7.5 amp fuse with a 15 amp fuse and that took care of the glitch. By the way, the circuit for the horn also includes the instrument panel lights and the dome light, so when the 7.5 amp fuse blew, the instrument panel lights went out, the horn would not work, and the dome light went out.

As far as easy access to the fuse box is concerned, it isn’t. Grrrrr!!

Awesome! I keep drooling over the MilesEV NEVs while I’m waiting on the hwy speed sedan to come out. Seeing those pictures and reading about how much you’re enjoying your new EV really gets the bug biting. It sort of reminds me of how it feels the first warm day of spring when you see all of the motorcycles come out of the garage and the bug to ride bites and bites and bites. Maybe this will be my year of the EV as well.

Congrats on the purchase and have enough fun for us to all live vicariously through you. :wink:

Nice. How about popping the hood and showing a pic?

Unusable car for me, the roads outside my neighborhood ar 40MPH+. I need something that will go at least 50-55MPH for 30 miles round trip the morning commute, but as I’m looking to move further away from my workplace I’ll need like 60-80 miles round trip at 65-75MPH.

I sure wish they would sell these cars in Manitoba Canada. Right now the gas is $1.47.9 a litre which is ridiculous. If they would put these cars on the road people could save so much money which could be put back into the economy not to mention saving the environment. If the Government would remove its head and breathe some air…they would realize that these cars are the future and are the same class for safety as motorcycles, bicycles and scooters which are all on our city streets !

You would think when we are in the midst of an election one of them would be trying to promote saving environment and selling a car that is CANADIAN MADE!!!

You said that you got your Zenn to go 37 mph, is that standard or did you upgrade? Do you think it would be possible to upgrade it to where it can go around 60 mph?

Nevermind, it was just wishful thinking. To do that I would have to convert a car myself that already has a frame for going those speeds. It’s just that 25 or even 35 mph is not an option where I live, I have to take the highway to do anything, whether it be get groceries, go to the post office, go to Target, etc.