A Canadian company plans to start selling a tiny $10,000 electric car in the United States by the end of July.
The Zenn -- short for zero emissions, no noise -- is a French-built two-seat hatchback that can go about 35 miles on a single charge of its lead-acid batteries and is limited to a top speed of 25 mph.
Ian Clifford, 43, CEO of Feel Good Cars Inc., of Toronto, says he has signed 20 U.S. dealers in the Southeast and Southwest -- mostly Florida, Arizona and California. He says he expects to expand to around 45 dealers by the end of the year.
Clifford thinks he can sell 2,000 of the micro cars in the next 12 months.
With an overall length of just over 120 inches -- nearly two feet shorter than a BMW Mini Cooper -- the Zenn is smaller than small. Most states allow registration of limited-speed electric vehicles for nonhighway use. The vehicle also requires insurance in most states.
Zenn meets or exceeds U.S. and Canadian safety standards for its low-speed electric vehicles but doesn't have to meet standards for full-size passenger cars, the company says.
Clifford sees the front-wheel-drive Zenn being used mostly by drivers running errands who don't need to go fast or far and who want to be in a carlike vehicle that is weatherproof.
"In the centers of cities and towns, traffic is so congested, you don't need to go fast," says Clifford.