Saturday, November 29, 2008

Transport Canada Trots Out Crash Test Video of LSVs

Well Transport Canada really seems to have it out for Low Speed Electric Vehicles. Last December 2007 they spooked the provinces by adding a comment in their regulations saying LSVs "Are designed for use primarily on streets and roads where access and the use of other classes of vehicles are controlled by law or agreement." According to the law it is not Transport Canada's role to decide where vehicles are allowed to be used. Provinces and territories regulate vehicle licensing and where they can be driven. So sticking this comment into the straight forward description of the vehicles characteristics and safety features is just simply inappropriate interference with provincial and territorial decision making. Also by phrasing it the way they do they make it sound like it is not their opinion they are expressing but that they are explaining the intentions of the designers and manufacturers of these vehicles which is completely untrue.

In their latest jab at LSVs this week they posted a video of a series of crash tests of Low Speed Electric Vehicles on their website followed by very patronizing comments about how unsafe these vehicles are to drive on roads in mixed traffic. [This link was updated on Feb 10, 2009 because Transport Canada has moved and revised the page. Their revised page addresses some of the concerns I raised in my letter - see below - but still maintains an unprofessionally biased tone against the industry and a patronizing attitude towards consumers. Also I have found out that these are old crash test videos and in many cases do not depict current models.]

By comparison here is a story of an actual real world accident in a ZENN.

Here is an excerpt of the letter I sent to the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities via his website:

"I was quite angered by Transport Canada's portrayal of LSVs as unsafe compared to regular cars for urban driving through the posting of the dramatic crash test video on your website and the accompanying comments. They are not providing balanced and complete information on the health and safety evaluation of this vehicle type compared to other vehicles.

All cars are unsafe to a degree and everyone takes risks in driving. I would like to see you post the results of all vehicle crash tests on your website and for proper comparison they should be crash tests of those vehicles at their maximum speeds. And if those speeds aren't regulated then they should be the legal speed limit as well as the actual attainable speed of the vehicle. And then people can start to get a look at what is allowed in our society as an acceptable risk for people to take with themselves and their children for sake of individual travel.

The big picture, which is not discussed on this new page, is that even though these vehicles do not offer as much protection in a crash as a regular high speed car, real world experience shows that they get into fewer and less serious accidents and are therefore safer to drive. Also there is no comparison of how they rate, in the real world, with other vehicles that are allowed on our roads such as motorcycles or motor scooters.

I hope you will look into this extraordinary attack on LSVs that continues from Transport Canada and investigate to see if there may be some person(s) in the department who for some personal reason/bias is trying to undermine the growth of this increasingly popular industry. Because otherwise, given all the available information, I truly cannot understand why this special attention is being given to discourage the use of LSVs as opposed to other considerably more dangerous vehicle types.

Can they honestly think that parents would rather have their teenager driving around on a motorcycle than in a LSV? Our society is changing it's attitudes towards what we want in our vehicles. People want healthy cities and safer vehicles and LSVs are one vehicle type that can provide both of these.

As a Canadian I am proud that Canada is a leader in the electric car industry and I am embarrassed by Transport Canada's behaviour toward them.

I hope you will request that Transport Canada work with this industry to help it grow and improve its products over time and be respectful of the great achievements they have produced as a new industry. "

They are after all the only affordable choice for a plug-in electric vehicle now in production. All Canadians should have the choice to buy and drive them on community roads.

For more details on the safety debate around LSVs see the post: "ZENN Running the Bureaucratic Gauntlet in Ontario"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Canadian Progress For Market Ready Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles, Fall 2008

BRITISH COLUMBIA

On September 30 Vancouver passed a motion to legalize the use of Low-Speed Electric Vehicles (which they also call Zero Emissions Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles) on roads with a maximum speed limit of 50km/hr. The only other limitation is that LSVs have to drive in the right hand lane except when they need to make a left turn. A problem still to be resolved is that Vancouver's bridges and some of the main city roads have a speed limit of 60km/hr. City staff are now working out the details and are considering the possibility of lowering some speed limits.

Zero Emissions Neighourhood Electric Vehicles are sold in passenger and light duty truck versions and have a regulated top speed of 40km/hr.

In the U.S.A this translates to 25 miles/hr with the exception of some states that allow them a maximum speed of 35 miles/hr.

Here is the link to the article in the Vancouver Sun "Small Electric Cars Get Big City Boost" by Brian Morton.

Here is the link to the September 30 Vancouver City Council meeting minutes. Look to page 7 for the motion on Low-Speed Vehicles.


QUEBEC

On October 4 the ZENN Motor Company had a big party to officially launch its retail sales operation at its assembly plant in St. Jerome, Quebec. Future Quebec customers and fans and supporters from outside Quebec were able to take the cars for a drive and celebrate a new start for the electric car industry in their province.

For some good pics and details on this event check out the article The ZENN Now Available in Canada! on the Canadian Automotive Network's website.

Also available in Quebec is the NEMO.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Can You Drive a ZENN or any NEV in B.C.? Ask Your City Councilor!

It turns out British Columbia isn't the Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle paradise that we thought it was. At least not yet. The province has created regulations to allow NEVs on public roads but only roads with a 40km/hr speed limit. They can only be driven on roads within cities or municipalities with a 50km/hr speed limit if the city or municipality passes a bylaw allowing them.

And municipalities in B.C., starting with Oak Bay have begun to pass just such bylaws.

Check out VernonBlog for a good rundown on B.C. and Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles.

If other provinces follow this model we might all need to be calling our city councilors!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kingston Not Alone in Support of the ZENN and Other Electric Cars

Kingston sent out its resolution (that I wrote about in my last post) to municipalities and counties all over Ontario. And, what do you know! All of the following councils voted to endorse Kingston's motion encouraging the government of Ontario to allow the ZENN and other electric vehicles on Ontario roads:

(not in any particular order!)

County of Lambton
(Council Minutes May 7, 2008)

Grey County
(Council Minutes June 3, 2008 and Transportation and Public Safety Committee Minutes May 8, 2008)

Lanark County
(Council Minutes May 28, 2008 and Public Works Committee Minutes May 7, 2008)

City of Guelph
(Council Minutes May 26, 2008)

County of Elgin

City of Pickering

City of Peterborough *
(Council Minutes May 26, 2008)

County of Peterborough
(Council Minutes May 7, 2008)

Municipality of Clarington
(Council Minutes May 5, 2008)

County of Frontenac
(Council Minutes May 26, 2008)

And

City of St. Catherines
(General Committe Minutes May 5, 2008)

This last one is particularly noteworthy since the Minister of Transportation, The Honourable Jim Bradley, is also the MPP for St. Catherines.

Although the Town of Markham is listed in the Kingston City Council meeting minutes as having supported the motion, Markham Council's May 13 meeting minutes indicate that they received the correspondence but added...

"That the Province be requested to study the viability and safety implications of allowing the Zenn car and other electric vehicles on Ontario roads."

So I wonder if this is where the province got its idea to do an independent safety study?

The Township of Hilliard passed its own motion on July 16 asking the Province of Ontario to do as Quebec has done and allow the ZENN to be licenced in Ontario. The City of Peterborough endorsed this motion on September 15. *

In any case, where are all the larger cities in this list? Don't they have an opinion on the matter? What about all those places with air pollution problems like Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Windsor? What about Sudbury and Thunder Bay?

______________

Here are links to the meeting minutes of the Kingston City Council where they acknowledge receipt of correspondence from these places indicating their support. In each document scroll down to "Communications", normally near the bottom.

May 20, 2008

June 3, 2008

June 17, 2008 *

July 15, 2008 *

I'll continue to add to this list as news of more support comes in.
*post updated October 15, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kingston was First Municipality in Ontario to Stand Up for the ZENN

I was in Kingston last week and I found out it was the first municipality in Ontario to pass a motion to support the use of the ZENN on public roads!

How did this happen? Why Kingston? Hard to say. Kingston is not a huge city but it does have a lively mix of people associated with some sizable institutions including Canada's Royal Military College, several large penitentiaries and Queens University. It's best known for it's other "first". Kingston was also the site of Canada's first parliament.

Here's the motion that Kingston City Council passed on April 1, 2008:

"Moved by Deputy Mayor Matheson
Seconded by Councillor Garrison

WHEREAS cars are one of the largest contributors to Greenhouse Gases; and,
WHEREAS the Federal Government has finally given their approval for the sale of the Canadian-made Zenn (Zero Emissions No Noise) Automobiles; and,
WHEREAS provincial approval is still needed to allow both the use and sale of Zenn Automobiles on Ontario roads;
and,
WHEREAS Mopeds and other forms of low speed vehicles are already currently allowed on Ontario roads; and,
WHEREAS Canada, and every province and municipality within our federation, must do our part to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions, and strive to not just meet but exceed the Kyoto Protocol targets;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Kingston City Council request that the Province of Ontario and every province and territory in Canada give approval for the Zenn car to be used on Ontario roads and able to be sold and used across Canada as soon as possible;
- and further -
THAT a copy of this resolution be sent for consideration and endorsement to Peter Milliken, MP, John Gerretsen, MPP, the Prime Minister of Canada, the federal ministers responsible for the Environment and Transportation, the Premiers of all provinces and territories, the Ministers responsible for Transportation and the Environment of each province and territory, all municipalities on our regular circulation list, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)
and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)."

I wonder if other municipalities are talking about passing or have already passed similar motions? And I wonder if that might be one of the reasons Ontario just announced that it is commissioning a study on how to introduce these kinds of vehicles on Ontario roads? The province has to legalize the use of low speed neighbourhood electric vehicles before anyone in Kingston could go out and buy and drive one. Having municipalities support their use would certainly help the provincial government to get over its worries that the general public wouldn't accept these little electric gems.

Here's the link to the Toronto Star article about Ontario's latest baby step toward approving Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles. But the story also ran in local papers in London, Timmins, Guelph, etc.

For some comments on Ontario's safety concerns scroll down to the second post below.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Quebec Allows the ZENN and Nemo on Public Roads

Quebec has announced a pilot project for Low Speed Vehicles/Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles that would allow the public to drive them on any Quebec road with a maximum speed limit of 50km/hr starting July 17. Unfortunately not all NEVs will be eligible, but the two manufacturers that will participate have had a lot of great press and praise. The two vehicles that Quebecois will be able to choose from are the ZENN, a small hatchback style passenger vehicle, and the NEMO, a little truck. Both are manufactured in Quebec.

The pilot project is currently set to last 3 years, with the possibility that it could be extended another 2 years after that. But Julie Boulet, Quebec's Minister of Transportation, who announced the plan was clear that the goal of the project is to develop appropriate rules of the road and safety requirements through experience with these vehicles. They do not expect that after 3-5 years people who have purchased one of these NEVs will have to give up driving it, but that some of the rules concerning their use may be amended, dropped or new rules created based on the information acquired over this trial period.

Some of the rules for the pilot project include drivers having to keep the vehicle's head and tail lights on at all times while driving and having to drive only in the right hand lane except to make a left turn. The NEV has to have two signs affixed to it: an orange triangle indicating it is a low speed vehicle and a sign indicating its top speed is 40km/hr. Also, it has to be equipped with winter tires when being driven in the winter. For a complete list of rules and regulations (in French) click here.

This bulletin from Transport Quebec also indicates that Municipalities have the regulatory power to prohibit or restrict the use of Low Speed Vehicles in their jurisdictions. So I guess the next question is: Are municipalities going to allow the use of NEVs, actively promote their use or discourage their use?

Montreal, for example, has already shown itself to be friendly to NEVs by hosting a couple of pilot projects for low speed electric cars. In the sidebar on the right there is a personal account by Luc Couillard who test drove one for two weeks in Montreal. And here is the description of one project (in French) run by the Agence Metropolitaine de Transport that involved about 100 electric vehicles.

If you've spoken to anybody on your city or town council in Quebec or anywhere else in Canada, it would be great if you'd leave a comment about what you found out!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

ZENN Running the Bureaucratic Gauntlet in Ontario

I've been meaning to post this for awhile.

CBC's Reg Sherron did a follow up feature on the ZENN in their Green Rush series. He touches on Ontario's vague safety concerns and near the end talks to a perplexed Torontonian. If you're new to this blog and need some background have a look at the YouTube videos above and scroll down to the first post below.

It made me take a second look at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation's (MOT) stated safety concerns which they list as their number 1 reason for not allowing LSVs (Low Speed Vehicles) also known as NEVs (Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles) on public roads. Their arguments on the surface seem reasonable but became less convincing the more I looked at them.

Here is the Ontario MOT's rationalization as given on the faq page on their website:

"The government must balance the need to test environmentally friendly, low emission vehicles while maximizing operator safety and the safety of other road users. These vehicles are not intended to be used on roads with high traffic density and are incapable of reaching the speed limits of most public roads."


So I worked backwards starting with the second statement and this is what I got:

Who Decides the Intended Use of the ZENN?

It is absurd to think the ZENN and all the other low and medium speed microcars out on the global market weren't meant for the general public to drive on public roads. From the moment they were conceived right through to when they roled off the production line they were meant as economical, safer and more environmentally friendly options for use by the average person. And judging by the popularity of microcars in Europe and the U.K. and the steadily growing interest in North America there are a lot of people who want to use these vehicles. What MOT is actually saying is that they and Transport Canada did not intend for them to be used by the general public regardless of the intentions of the designers and manufacturers or the desires of the public.


The Need for (Reduced) Speed on Public Roads

Of course, we're only talking about city/community roads with speed limits of 40-50km/hr max. That is 40km/hr in school zones and other areas with lots of children and many residential streets and 50km/hr everywhere else. Most roads with these speed limits have some or all of the following: frequent stoplights, pedestrian crossings, narrower lanes than faster roads, lengths of parked vehicles (and therefore people getting in and out of parked vehicles), shops and/or residences. They also have pedestrians walking on sidewalks adjacent to the road, jaywalkers, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles in the side lane (for the most part). Here is a list of all the alternative vehicles that are allowed on these kinds of roads in Ontario.

MOT would seem to suggest that a vehicle driving "slowly" at 40km/hr on this kind of a road would be so far beyond the ordinary that it would create serious problems and possibly accidents on the road. But cars frequently in every trip encounter other cars going less than the maximum speed, for instance someone looking for an address, a street, a parking spot or slowing down to take a turn down a side street or just because that is how fast traffic is moving. Also, we're not talking about highways with a single lane of traffic in each direction and nowhere to turn off where a slower driver may impede the flow of traffic for miles on end. We are either talking about residential streets or community roads which here in Canada all mostly have two lanes in both directions, some as many as four lanes. In very congested urban centres, like the one I live in, where there is so much street parking that the traffic is often reduced to one lane in each direction, the average speed of traffic is also reduced to 20-40km/hr.

On these kinds of roads people should feel comfortable driving 40km/hr. While we hear on the news all the time from traffic police telling people to slow down, stop feeling so rushed and drive safely, especially on neighbourhood roads, MOT seems to be implying that in this instance they aren't prepared to defend vehicles that are designed to drive at a safe speed.


The Safety of Others

I've heard people say that slow drivers cause more accidents than speeding drivers and I always thought that statement sounded a little suspicious. The "Ontario Road Safety Annual Report 2005", which is the most recent one, gives a list of descriptions of the driving behaviours of drivers involved in all the recorded accidents resulting in fatalities, personal injuries and property damage on all Ontario roads for 2005. I looked through it twice and couldn't find any reference to slow drivers in any way causing accidents and for drivers involved in accidents "Speed too slow" is cited as a factor in zero fatal, 65 personal injury and 192 property damage accidents. Compare this with "Speed too fast" and "Speed too fast for conditions" together were factors in 162 fatal, 5849 personal injury and 17355 property damage accidents.

A vehicle going 40km/hr is able to stop more easily than a vehicle going even as little a 10km/hr faster and therefore able to avoid more accidents. This benefits people outside the NEV as well as the driver and passengers.


Operator and Passenger Safety

I suspect that when most people think of road safety the first thing that jumps into their mind is the question: What is the crashworthiness of a vehicle? And Ontario's MOT certainly points to this issue as their main reason for not allowing LSVs/NEVs on public roads. (see faq #25) But the real world evidence shows that their slower speeds are their greatest safety asset.

If LSVs/NEVs are in a collision the ZENN's Microcar body** manufactured in France with its seatbelts and aluminum frame, provides much more protection in a crash than you would have on a bicycle or Vespa. (The Microcar models sold in France and shown in the above link have an air bag option that ZENN doesn't include because the ZENN has a regulated max speed of 40km/hr, but in France these are assembled with a small petrol/diesel engine and are capable of a max speed of about 115km/hr and therefore fall into a medium speed vehicle category.)

As the industry develops these vehicles become more crashworthy and safer in other ways over time. But we have to have an industry in this country to begin with before talking about how it should be developing.

If Transport Canada does crash tests, like it says it is going to, on the ZENN over the summer that are truly representative of the kinds of collisions that they might be involved in then those results are just another piece of information that can be given to consumers for them to be able to make an informed decision. But there are many reasons why these crash tests are not required for these vehicles under the law. The most important reason is that crash tests are not indicators of a person's likelihood of being injured or killed driving a low speed vehicle, because they are no indicator of the likelihood of these vehicles being involved in a crash in the first place or the type of crash they are likely to be involved in. How reasonable would it be to make a decision on whether or not to buy a bicycle or a Vespa based on their performance in a standard vehicle crash test?


Real World Experience

And so finally I looked at France, the place where it all started more than 20 years ago, with Paris and it's wide boulevards, sprawling suburbs, many crazy roundabouts and crazy drivers and this is what I found:

In France they have a group of vehicles they call "voiturettes", low speed/low power microcars, which would be similar to what we call our enclosed or mostly enclosed types of Low Speed Vehicles. The French department responsible for road safety (La Sécurité Routière), in their February 2008 report covering the period to the end of 2006 for mainland France, states in their section on voiturettes:

"En 2006, le parc des voiturettes est estimé à 140 000 véhicules. Elles sont peu impliquées dans les accidents et le nombre des victimes est faible. "

"In 2006, the total number of low speed/low power microcars is estimated at 140 000 vehicles. They are rarely implicated in accidents and the number of injured is small."

This is certainly in part because there are fewer of them. But in a comparison with other vehicle types they account for fewer deaths per million vehicles than motorcycles or scooters. Here are the numbers: (These numbers updated November 28, 2008)

Motocyclettes (Motorcycles) 665
Cyclomoteurs (Vespa type scooters) 258
Voiturettes (Low Speed/Low Power Microcars) 164*
Poids lourds (Trucks) 122
Voitures de tourisme (Passenger Cars) 81

*Calculated from information in this link, since there were estimated to be 140 000 in France and they accounted for 23 deaths in actuality. (in 2006 - "Autres véhicules - ONISR – Février 2008" p.4)

I'm convinced that its about time we developed our own version of the low speed microcar class here in Canada. I think the Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle is just the place to start. Lets get the ZENN on the road, start growing this industry and start reducing our cities' air pollution.


*Nov 27, 2008: Some links and information updated.
**Feb 10, 2009: Replaced link to French Micro-car site with the Micro-car U.K. page because the French site has been changed and has a lot of fancy flash stuff but not a full specification page.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Will Manitobans be next in Canada to drive the ZENN?

I will always be a prairie girl at heart no matter where I live so it is with great satisfaction that I can tell you the Government of Manitoba introduced Bill 15: The Climate Change and Emissions Reductions Act on April 11 that if passed will allow the sale and driving of LSVs (Low Speed Vehicles, though I prefer the term Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles) on public roads in Manitoba. If you are looking for the reference in the bill, scroll down to near the bottom to "Related and Consequential Amendments".

(Update: Bill 15 was passed into law by the Manitoba Legislature. Read the June 12 News Release.)

B.C. already has legislation in place that allows Low Speed Vehicles (a.k.a. Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles) on the road, see the side bar in this article on Wheels.ca. If you live in B.C. and want to buy a LSV checkout Lang Motors.

Check out this link to see some of the comments on Manitoba's new bill. CBC article: Manitoba Bill Targets Kyoto Commitment

The only problem with this article is that it misleads people into thinking that the ZENN can only go 40km/hr when in fact this is a regulated speed and it can go faster. Montana and Washington both have state laws that allow the ZENN and other LSVs to travel at 35mph (~56km/hr) so people in these states can modify their cars to travel faster. These two states also allow LSVs on roads with a speed limit of 45mph (~72km/hr). The Green Car Congress has recently reported that in the U.S. there is a group led by a California automobile dealership that sells the ZENN that has just launched a campaign to get the Federal government to create a new vehicle classification for Medium Speed Electric Vehicles (MSEV).

I have spoken to a few old friends in Winnipeg about their thoughts on the ZENN. They hadn't heard of it before and their first instinct was to be afraid that it would hold up traffic or maybe even cause accidents because of its slow speed. But they said that they would be willing to look into it and give it a chance in the market even if they wouldn't buy one right away. It's true that Winnipeg traffic is a little faster than downtown Toronto traffic that averages 20km/hr-40km/hr, but the reality is that a ZENN could easily drive in the right lane and be easily passed. I've read comments on other web pages by people thinking a car would have to slam on their brakes or "swerve" around a LSV and this just isn't realistic. 40km/hr isn't that slow. Try taking a turn down a side street at 40km/hr! Actually don't, I wouldn't want to get sued for encouraging reckless driving. For a sense of how these cars do in city traffic check out the links in the side bar featuring test drives in Montreal, New York, Minneapolis and Great Falls, Montana.

On a sad note, this blog entry is dedicated to award winning electric car manufacturer Dynasty formerly of B.C. that had to give up the battle and was sold to a Pakistani company "which will move production to Karachi and export to the United States from there." (Economist May 1,2008)

Lets not allow our government to kill any more budding innovative green Canadian companies. Small companies, especially ones with so much potential need to be able to sell some product, get customer feed back and raise some capital funds.

A May 1 article in the Economist "Not On Our Roads" explains why we really need to keep encouraging our federal and provincial representatives and bureaucrats to support this technology and this Canadian business in particular. In the meantime I'll be watching as Bill 15 plods its way through the Manitoba Legislature and I hope into law sometime soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

ZENN and the Art of Clean Air Maintenance

I've been following the story of the Made in Canada electric car for about a year now waiting to hear that they can be bought and driven in Canada only to read yet another article in the newspaper about how Transport Canada and the provinces just don't want to allow these cars on Canadian public roads, except for B.C. - the only "can do" province at the moment. P.E.I. is seriously considering allowing them in some jurisdictions. The main car that has been in the public eye is the ZENN (Zero Emission No Noise) manufactured in St. Jerome, Quebec, with their head office in Toronto. The beauty of these cars is that they have a proven safety record in urban environments (because they've been driven in petrol/diesel forms for years in European cities), they reduce total greenhouse gas emissions AND they don't add to city air pollution on the road! The problem we're having with Canadian regulatory agencies and governments is that they can't get their minds around the idea that now some of our cities are big enough that we need these in-between vehicles. It is not a safety versus health debate at all! These are Low Speed Vehicles with a regulated speed of 40km/hr. They are perfectly suited for driving on community roads with a speed limit of 50km/hr. They aren't required to have the same safety features as a full-size vehicle, because they wouldn't be going on highways or expressways. But the ZENN and other cars like it do have safety features that are appropriate protection from injury in the kind of low-speed accidents that they might be involved in (satisfying regulatory agencies in the U.K., in Europe and in the U.S.). The Microcar (ZENN's petrol/deisel version) is driven in 19 European countries including France (where they are based), the U.K., Germany, Norway, Sweden and Finland. In the U.S. as of 1999 these vehicles have their own definition as a subclass within the Low Speed Vehicle class. They're called Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles.

This recent article in the Saturday Toronto Star also mentions the IT Sedan made by Dynasty cars based in B.C., the ZX40S by Miles based in L.A. and the MAYA300 Lithium by Electrovaya based in Mississauga. Click here to read the article.

More electric car companies are emerging but none of them are manufactured in Canada. Dynasty which is still based in B.C. and was manufacturing there got tired of fighting with the government and gave up on the idea of a Canadian market for their cars. They've moved their manufacturing facilities to China which is also where Miles Automotive has their operations.

Lets not lose ZENN.

RIGHT NOW:
Transport Canada has now redefined LSVs as being for use in restricted environments like retirement communities or university campuses. And the Ontario government currently has NO INTENTION OF ALLOWING LSVs/NEVs ON PUBLIC ROADS. So the fight is not over yet. We have to increase the pressure, increase the publicity and call our politicians to get them to act on this. The road safety issues that they are trying to scare the public with are just not valid.

Why are they making us do so much work to get the same choices that people already have in U.S. states like Iowa and Minnesota?

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
(i) Sign the petition on the ZENN website. (This is a dead link at the moment and so might be over but I will keep checking on it.) I will make a list of local petitions I come upon in the side bar. Try ii and iii, neither one has to take much time or effort.
(ii) Send a quick e-mail or make a quick phone call to your federal MP and your provincial representative. Easy links to contact info are listed on the right. The impact of a personal contact to your representative, in case you've never done it before, is greater than you might imagine.
(iii) If you have some time you could write an old fashioned letter or postcard and send it in the post. That really gets their attention. Government departments like Transport Canada and provincial Ministries of Transportation are required to respond in writing. Your representatives might or might not respond, but you can be sure that they take note.


Other highlights in the last 5 months of the ZENN saga:

Reg Sherron's report for CBC, October 25, 2007: Unplugging the Electric Car
Reg Sherron's follow-up on CBC, November 5, 2007: A Victory for ZENN's Electric Car
Rick Mercer visits the ZENN manufacturing facility (see first YouTube video up top)
ZENN on Global TV - best history of the company