Zenn Motors says it will focus on marketing its highway-capable drive system to the big car manufacturers. ((Courtesy ZENN Motor Company))

Toronto-based Zenn Motor Company has announced it will cease production of its electric car, which had been hailed as a mini-revolution in the industry.

Instead, CEO Ian Clifford said the company now wants to focus on marketing its highway-capable drive system to the big car manufacturers.

The current Zenn vehicle — an acronym for Zero Emission No Noise — is intended for urban commuters and use in places such as resorts, gated communities, airports and campuses.

The three-door hatchback, made in St-Jérôme, Que., can reach a speed of 40 kilometres an hour and has a range of up to 80 kilometres.

Clifford said the decision to halt production on the vehicle came down to sales.

In a statement, the company said it would launch the 2010 model of the current Zenn car in late October but would not confirm when production will cease at the St-Jérôme plant.

Quebec plant's future uncertain

After that Clifford said the plant, north of Montreal will be used in the short term for "the support and servicing of the existing vehicles that are out there."

Clifford said the possibility of eventually closing the plant, which employs 15 workers, had not been ruled out.

In the past two years, he said the company has sold only about 500 vehicles.

"The number of vehicles sold was obviously limited, but we gained tremendous experience with that product," Clifford said.

In August, Zenn Motors reported a third-quarter loss of $2.6 million as revenue fell almost 70 per cent.

Zenn was excluded from a recently announced Ontario electric car rebate program, which offers buyers up to $10,000 toward plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles, because Zenn's cars have not been deemed safe for highway use.