PHOTO CAPTION: ZAP Xebra electric truck is rated, oddly enough, as a motorcycle in some states.

Electric Cars Finding Fans in Houston

ZAP, ZENN and GEM low-speed electric vehicles are being sold in the oil capital of America.

Published: 21-Nov-2008

k Ehrlich has high hopes for his new car dealership but it's not likely to strike much fear into competitors with lots full of gleaming vehicles from Detroit, Asia or Europe.

From a small warehouse near Minute Maid Park, Ehrlich has launched Houston's first electric car dealership, selling the Zenn — "zero emissions no noise."

Under state law, the cars are classified as "neighborhood electric vehicles," limited to 25 mph and banned from roads with speed limits over 35 mph. But the Canadian-built hatchbacks are hardly golf carts. The same car is sold in Europe with a diesel engine and can take to the highways.

"I don't have any illusions that we'll sell in high volumes, but it's a real car in every way," Ehrlich said. "It can carry two people nearly anyplace in the city for less than two cents per mile, while creating no air pollution."


Ray Lane, managing partner of venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Caufield and Byers, which has invested in Think, believes Think could eventually sell as many as 30,000 to 50,000 City cars a year.

The production electric vehicle to be introduced in 2010 will have a unique bodystyle and is not based on any existing Nissan model, unlike the technology 'mule' pictured above.

The 100-mile range electric car has been operating with Japanese power companies for the last two years.


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