An article today on some possible plans for the ZENN in Ontario, speed and safety the chief concerns:
Help is on the way for struggling automakers in Ontario.
No -- not those struggling automakers from Detroit with their smoggy SUVs and corporate jets -- but Canada's builders of low-speed electric vehicles (LSVs), the perky but unproven technology that could jumpstart the green economy.
"LSVs are a new kind of vehicle and it will take a new set of standards to allow them to be safely driven on Ontario roads," Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said after releasing a National Research Council study on the vehicles' safety earlier this month.
"Based on the study results -- and after consulting with manufacturers, municipalities and stakeholders -- we plan to announce LSV safety standards and the rules of the road for LSVs this winter."
LSVs are powered by electric motors and rechargeable batteries and reach a top speed of 40 km/h.
They are currently allowed only in parks, some university campuses and gated communities but a recent pilot project in Quebec is unleashing them on public roadways, provided they have additional safety features.
I don't view the above as "help", in fact it's a hinderance to productivity and challenges common sense. I used the aging senior analogy, not to be cruel, but because we've all seen the parades of motorists following the little old lady, who's travelling well below the speed limit. If there is a more dangerous circumstance on our roads, than watching driver after driver take chances trying to get around what amounts to a moving obstacle, I haven't seen it. Oh sure, one could argue, everyone should just slow down, what's the big hurry? That logic is a fine ideal, but it has no relationship to the realities of busy life, nor does it acknowledge driving habits, which aren't about to change, because some subpar car is introduced. That's right, "subpar", this ZENN car (apparently there is another generation on the way, with better performance) simply doesn't cut it, based on standards established for our roads. I'd rather focus on environmental energies on technologies which actually achieve performance requirements, the new Volt comes to mind (top speed above anything required, based on road limits).
I sense a great deal of pressure to get the ZENN car on the road, a combination of environmental want and domestic production. I think it wrong, to treat any "green" technology as an absolute, because this ZENN car is a liability, it's performance so woeful, to be almost a joke. This ZENN car will kill people, one because it's safety performance is wanting, two because it's speed is a complete hazard. Maximum speed of 40km, what happens when you have a slight head wind for the light vehicle, dare to dream 35km? Good grief, sounds like a nightmare from here. The argument of "selected" roads the great appeaser, but all that tells me is this car is a practical dud at the moment. Let's get the ZENN up to snuff first, before we subject the vast majority of drivers to this melon. I don't see green, I see red.
Note the side view impact angle, at a lowly 40km. Reminds me of a boot and a pop can:
Quality. Safe. Peppy. This is the 21st century?