Road debut for Zenn electric car

For the first time, an electric car drove along a public road in Cayman on Saturday as part of the Pirates Week float parade.

electric car zenn

John Felder at the wheel of the Zenn electric car in the Pirates Week float parade. Photo: Alan Markoff

Until new legislation is passed, electric cars cannot be driven on public roads. John Felder, of Cayman Automotives which sells the vehicles, was able to drive the Zenn car down Harbour Drive because the vehicle was entered in the parade as a float.

‘It was a really exciting time. When I saw the excitement the car generated, it blew me out of the water.

‘This is the first time the car has been on Cayman’s roads,’ he said.

He said he was expecting interest in the Zenn and General Electric Motorcars vehicles to increase once revisions are made to the law.

‘The law’s already written. It’s just waiting to get the proper signatures. The electric car is included in the legislation, but we don’t know what the rules are yet,’ he said.

According to the Ministry for Works, the Traffic Regulations (Revision 2009) have been drawn up and are being vetted by the legal drafting department. Once that is completed, the regulations will be reviewed again by the ministry and then passed onto Cabinet.

The amended regulations will include a change in the definition of motor vehicles to include electric cars, but those electric-powered vehicles must meet minimum safety requirements and road worthiness standards.

Precisely when the new regulations will come into force is not clear, but the ministry is hopeful part of the regulations will be in place by January next year.

Mr. Felder said that in the United States, electric cars can be used on roads with 30 miles an hour speed limits and he expected similar regulations to be enacted in the new regulations.

Zenn cars can reach a maximum of 35 miles per hour. They can be charged with a conventional electrical outlet.

Mr. Felder added that he hoped the law would enable electric cars to be used in all roads in Little Cayman and said one company there plans to buy a fleet of six of the cars to use on Little Cayman roads as soon as the regulations are passed.

Mr. Felder sold the first Zenn (Zero Emission, No Noise) car in August this year.

The car can also run on solar energy if it is connected to a solar-powered charger which is available on island.

Earlier, Dart Realty Ltd. bought a GEM electric vehicle from Cayman Automotives at a charity auction. That vehicle, which can each 25 miles per hour, is being used on security and patrol detail at Camana Bay where the roads are private.