Junkyard Find: 2007 ZENN Electric

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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!




Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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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    Sad electric that was outdated within weeks of being produced.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...

  • Ronin The very asking of the question "Are Plug-In Hybrids the Future?" is an interesting one. Because just 2 or 3 years ago we'd be asking- no, asserting- that E cars are the future. We're no longer asking that question.
  • Peter Benn There apparently were some K-code 4-dr sedan Fairlanes. Collectible Automobile Apr 2024 has found a '63 500 with HD 3/spd.
  • Mia Hey there!I recently stumbled upon the Crack Eraser DIY Windshield Repair Kit (check it out here: https://crackeraser.com/collections/diy-windshield-repair-kits) and decided to give it a shot on a small chip in my windshield. I have to say, it worked like a charm! Super easy to use, and it saved me a trip to the professionals. If you're dealing with a similar issue, this kit is definitely worth considering. 😊
  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
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