Junkyard Find: 2007 ZENN Electric

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2007 zenn electric

Between the release of Who Killed the Electric Car and the availability of real-world-capable full-electric vehicles for reasonable prices, golf-cart-esque electric LSVs (Low Speed Vehicles) sold in sufficient quantities that you might spot one humming down your street on a short journey.

Now that electric cars have become, you know, cars, machines like the ZENN Electric seem like amusing relics of a distant past. Here’s an ’07 ZENN, spotted in a Northern California pull-it-yourself yard last month.

The ZENN was a French-built Microcar MC-2, fitted in Canada with a 30-horse electric motor and a brace of heavy, short-range lead-acid batteries.

Check out the gigantic blobs of adhesive use to stick on the door trim, one of many indicators that this car was never intended for the long haul. Believe it or not, today’s Junkyard Find isn’t the first ZENN I have photographed in a California wrecking yard; I found this blue ’07 about a year ago.

This ZENN’s final owner had something of a sense of humor, as demonstrated by the Ford badging. You’d need a sense of humor to drive a ZENN.

If a clever junkyard shopper can convince the cashier that this big-torque electric motor is not a complete vehicle engine, the price might be down to starter-motor bargain levels. Imagine 30 horsepower in a pink-cell-phone-equipped Barbie Lamborghini!

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  • Jeffzekas Jeffzekas on Feb 22, 2018

    Sad electric that was outdated within weeks of being produced.

  • DownUnder2014 DownUnder2014 on Feb 28, 2018

    I've never actually heard of these before until recently. It might be a good base for an upgrade to the electrical system...emphasis on might though. That L/H/R quarter is in shocking condition...must've been an accident that took this one out! I also can't imagine many people taking parts off of it...I doubt these sold particularly well...

  • SilverCoupe I am one of those people whose Venn diagram of interests would include Audis and Formula One.I am not so much into Forums, though. I spend enough time just watching the races.
  • Jeff S Definitely and very soon. Build a hybrid pickup and price it in the Maverick price range. Toyota if they can do this soon could grab the No 1 spot from Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln in 1987 even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales. For GM full size buyers that liked the downsized GM full size 77 to 84 they had the Panther based Lincoln Town Cars, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victorias that were an alternative to the new GM front wheel drive full size cars that had many issues when they were introduced in 1985 and many of those issues were not resolved for several years. The Marks were losing popularity after the Mark Vs. 1985 was the last year for the rear wheel drive Olds Delta 88 and rear wheel drive Buick Lesabre the rear wheel Caprice and Caprice Classic 3rd generation continued till 1990 when it was redesigned. B Body Buick Estate wagons continued thru 1990 as the Olds Custom Cruiser wagon and both were redesigned. GM held onto a few rear wheel drive full size cars but the Lincoln ad really brought home the similarly looking front wheel drive full size cars. Lincoln's ad was masterful.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.