Would the ZENN Car have worked for Barbados? We think so!

UPDATED: March 20, 2013

We were intrigued with the little ZENN electric car a year ago when we came across this video. The car is out of production because Canada and many US states won’t let light-weight minimal transportation on the roads.

ZENN isn’t dead though – it raised two million dollars for EEStor technology that is all about using a capacitor instead of a battery to power electric autos. You can read about ZENN autos and EEStor on Wikipedia and at ZENN’s website. The video if fun and worth your time…

ZENN Motor Company made about six hundred of these little electric vehicles in Quebec Canada before the production stopped in 2010. With a range of only 40 miles and a top speed that was artificially limited to 25 mph, the vehicle didn’t sell well enough to enter big time production. There were also legal issues that prevented the vehicle from being operated on highways in Canada.

Nonetheless, with a cost of only $12,000 Canadian and the ability to charge overnight from an ordinary household electrical outlet, the vehicle might have worked well in urban areas… or in Barbados. Think about how much you actually drive each day, how narrow our roads are, and that you could plug into an outlet at work or home. Zero emissions, no noise, little maintenance required and it’s not like I’m commuting 100 miles to and from downtown Manhattan every day.

Yup. The ZENN would have worked just fine for me in Barbados.

Thanks to an old friend who sent us the video and says “We could do with 10,000 of THESE coming into the Bridgetown Port right now!”



Filed under Barbados, Energy, Environment, Technology

15 responses to “Would the ZENN Car have worked for Barbados? We think so!

  1. rastaman

    With the price of electric these days,I still would have to wonder if it would be economical.

  2. robert ross

    Rasta has a point. Electric cars have never really ‘taken off’ anywhere, have they?

  3. Yeah but what's the 0-60 on that car?

    Load the entire roof and engine hood with solar cells,
    so that while it sits in the car-park when owner is at work,
    it absorbs a trickle charge.

    If electric cars haven’t taken off it’s because humanity doesn’t (yet!) want the idea to take off.
    Much of the problem boils down to the batteries used?
    not to mention the idiotic American notion of 0-60 m.p.h. in so many secs
    to impress my immature male car-freak friends


    These cars would be IDEAL for the average daily commute,
    for maybe 35% of the cars of the road being driven by ladies
    simply going to work in the Bridgetown area.

    BigOil HATES the very idea *wink*

  4. jrjrjrjr

    Just limit the engine capacity of all cars in Barbados. a small island doesn’t need huge limos and 4 x 4 ‘s . Cap engine size at 1200 cc or less.

  5. RibBone & Willie

    I am already tapped into the electric grid & pay NOTHING for the juice what I use for de hydroponic farm I got in my back room. Thanks to my neighbor, Mrs Jelty, who-God bless her soul, can’t figure out why her electric is pushing BD600. The car shouldn’t add but another 200 to the old ladies generous sharing of the electric.

  6. Anonymous

    1600 cc or less:
    that engine size is already the minimum size as far as Road-Taxes are concerned.

    1600 cc is a good practical limit, taking into account things like travel into and out of the Scotland District.
    1600 cc is all anyone NEEDS far less wants.

    I drive a 1300, and am OK with that, and I’m just an old pharte commuting.
    1600 would be a power dream, but also “another mouth to feed” !!
    Don’t need it.

  7. Can’t deny these may have done well here especially if the incentive were given by government in the way of tax concessions, or waived duties for their import. Better yet, removed duties all-together and kick-start this movement towards clean powered vehicles.

    Question is, would we, Barbadians have to depend on the slimy garages/dealerships to import them or could we do so ourselves?

    These un-regulated wretches who won’t stock as much as brake pads which are wear and tear items, instead leaning towards this model of “special ordering” every part that you need! They are the same folks who whisper to government and Insurances that 10 year old vehicles are not road-worthy and do this as a mechanism to attempt to force the public to keep buying their bottom-of-the-shelf trash! I think not!

    We are a real group of myopic midget’s in Barbados. Case in point, the cc displacement of the average car here is 1300 ~1600cc. The average body weight of our cars is 900~1000Kg. Our power to weight ratio absolutely tilts in favor of weight causing the average car here to be a fuel guzzler at any cc displacement. Add to that, those horrendous morning and evening traffic jams, throw in an A/C compressor running in one in every two cars in a line to a round-about or light, and you can start to comprehend why our fuel import bill is pegged where it is. I often laugh when I hear people talking about their fuel efficient 1300 or 1600cc car and how they only gas up once a week. Had they known that when Power to Weight ratios are tilted toward power, they use so much less fuel overcoming road resistance, air resistance, body weight, move offs from a stationary point(s)(like when in a traffic jam) and running an A/C Compressor.

    So truth be told, our underpowered vehicles which we import here are part of the reason for our horrendous fuel usage month to month. The garages will tell you that when you exceed 1600 cc your duties climb almost exponentially. What they don’t tell you is that they get better prices on low cc vehicles because they all go buy them from the manufacturers. If they all went to the manufacturers and bought 2L and 2.5L (2000 and 2500cc) models, the prices would be about the same. They could petition government to make the current 1600cc and under duties apply to that new engine displacement range. Government won’t lose either because they can charge the higher duties for vehicles exceeding the 2500cc range but they will save on the fuel import costs per year.

    And don’t make excuses because the same blokes go and petition government to try to force you and I to keep buying their cars even when we don’t need them! So this is not outside of their ability to negotiate. Regulatory and Compliance frameworks need to be implemented in order for any of this to work and work well. Public involvement and buy-in needs to be sought so that the public understands the benefits to them and the country at large and not just a few white folk and foreigners who own and run garages and dealerships.

    We are too short-sighted about protecting Barbados Environmentally, Economically and Socially. It’s always some wishy-washy excuse or another as to why something identified as being good for us all can’t seem to get done in favor or a few greedy folks being allowed to continue their greed campaigns un-checked!

    Enough of this myopia already. Get something working here!

  8. Brudah-Bim


    In short, All statutes and actions that have led Barbados to this conundrum on such a massive scale was the result of the politicians who currently SATURATE both the DLP and the BLP. To stick fingers at one another at a time like this is aimless as well as pointlessly divisive. What we need is a MASSIVE overhaul in the very structuring our BUREAUCRACIES and AGENCIES that ensures transparency, efficiency, and sustainable! We need to demand that our leaders come prepared with comprehensive measures that would address ever impending issues such as the ecological stability of Barbados THAT HAS YET TO BE ADDRESSED!

    We have a government of fools in that they preach ignorance by daring to equate eye-sores of massive elephant concrete projects to “DEVELOPMENT”. DEVELOPMENT?! Who would have thought that replacing our country’s natural landscape and vegetation for NON-PRODUCTIVE facilities that don’t contribute to any growth in the nation’s REAL GDP growth (mainly because they are foreign owned).


  9. Time for a revo, den??

    Another considerable factor re. fuel usage is the absurdly-low quality of gasoline being imported by SOL.

    SOL OCTANE RATINGS have got SO bad now that we studiously avoid SOL/Shell
    and and have changed our gas-buying habits now
    so we take gasoline at Esso or Texaco.
    The results, post-change, are OBVIOUS!

    I speak about this to others, and it seems to now be a publicy-known and acknowledged fact!!
    -so Mr.Simpson of SOL should know that the truth is OUT there
    and he is losing market share quite rapidly!!

  10. iWatchya

    Point of correction: SHELL imports ALL of the fuel for BIM. It is the additives that make a difference on the retail side between SOL, Texaco (RUBIS) and Esso.

    As for electric cars: the main point is the life span of the batteries in the car; some estimate the replacement costs make them burdensome in the long run.

    Another point is that many people tend to shy from smaller vehicles due to the safety issue. If you have an accident with a larger vehicle, physics dictates that the smaller car (or mass) will come out the loser.

    I believe that the new technologies, such as Graphine, will breath new life into this old problem. Thereby solving several issues, such as economical storage solutions for solar and electric cars.

    Actually, Graphine is poised to merge with, or replace, silicone and make solar panels more economical and increase efficiency!

  11. yatiniteasy

    @The watcher…I agree with your analysis of the car/ weight/ engine size relationships and the stupidity of government charging double the duty on cars with over 1600 cc. I have rented very large cars and even SUVs in the US, with 2500 and even 3000 cc engines, and seen milage of more than 30 mph.
    My stupid bajan SUV hardly gets 20 mph.
    And, is it not a conflict of interest for the owner of one of the largest Car distributors on the island(Simpson Motors) to be also the owner of one of the major gas retailers(Sol)?…keep selling the gas guzzelers, its good for the retail gas business.

  12. sith

    There are lots of communtiies in Florida that use electric vehicles. They work well and last a long time and they cost under $6000. They are called golf carts and many of them are certainly equal to the safety and quality of a mini mote. And if you are concerned about distance just carry a spare battery which you can charge up at the office or at you house overnight. One of the reasons the Zenn did not do well is that there already is a soloution for electric vehicles that works very well in many communities in Florida and other warm climates.

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