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Charge On!, Issue #006: Gasoline Prices and Electric Car Conversion Questions
November 17, 2007

Since the last newsletter, I've received a lot of emails about the 25 mph speed limit on the Zenn...but none so helpful as the detailed information on how to reset the controller and speed up your Zenn. This can be done at home, it's fairly harmless to your motor, and it's legal (in Washington and Montana, at least). You'll need a laptop, some cables, software, and a configuration file with the appropriate settings. I'll send the file to you by email if you need it.

If you reset your controller so that it's not actually governed to 25mph, and you've still got the original 5 hp motor Zenn provided when you bought the car, you'll have the option of going a little faster sometimes - but you should take care not to push it too much. It's okay to overdrive the motor a little as long as you pay attention to the temperature and don't let it overheat.

There's a handy gauge on your Zenn's dashboard to help you with this. If the needle starts to move into the red, just slow down, or pull over and turn the motor off for a few minutes. My contact at MCEV in Seattle says that if you ignore the temperature gauge, Zenn has thoughtfully provided an automatic controller override mechanism that, in the event of a motor heat emergency, slows your car to 5-10 mph until the heat dissipates.

Note: There have been mixed results with this "fix", probably depending on the batteries you've got, so be prepared to do a little consulting (with us) and tinkering to get it just right.

Gasoline prices

I suppose you've noticed the price of crude oil is approaching $100 a barrel.

Maybe you've got a gas-guzzler in the household and you're feeling like a robbery victim at the pump, or maybe you're just tired of financing a war we can't afford (or sucking up to oil dictators) so that we can maintain our national addiction. Even electric car manufacturers and dealers are affected by gasoline prices, as the cars and parts are shipped on fume-spewers.

I've been doing some thinking about gasoline prices lately, as well as the "free enterprise" that keeps electric cars off the market.

Conversion questions

These are getting interesting; ) Check out the new questions and answers on beefing up your brakes, waterproofing the motor compartment, and more.

Featured Dealership: SmartWheels, Inc. in Denver, CO

Every newsletter, I'm going to put the spotlight on a new electric car dealership. This month we have SmartWheels, Inc., a dealership in Denver, CO that carries the Zenn, the adorable new Kurrent, the IT from Dynasty, and the E-ride trucks.

Stu MacPhail is the owner of the dealership, along with his son-in-law, Gino.

Many of us think that it's a weakness of NEVs that they can only go 25mph by law (in most states, that is) - but Stu and Gino think it's a great selling point.


Because every year, too many teenage drivers get into accidents in their gas-guzzlers that could have been prevented if they'd been restricted to a NEV for their first year of driving.

  • Kids get into accidents when they have too many passengers.
  • Kids get into accidents when they're driving too fast.
  • Kids get into accidents when they're out late, or far from home.
  • See, NEVs solve several of these problems already. And they're cute!

    What do you think of NEV-restricted driver's licenses?

    That's all the news this month, unless I forgot something. Thank you for your continued support, and Charge On!


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