General Motors EV1

General Motors EV1

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The General Motors EV1 was an electric car
Electric car
An electric car is an automobile which is propelled by electric motor, using electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device. Electric cars were popular in the late-19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass...

 produced and leased by the General Motors Corporation from 1996 to 1999. It was the first mass-produced and purpose-designed electric vehicle of the modern era from a major automaker
Automaker
The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells motor vehicles, and is one of the world's most important economic sectors by revenue....

, and the first GM car designed to be an electric vehicle
Electric vehicle
An electric vehicle , also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion...

 from the outset.

The decision to mass-produce an electric car came after GM received a favorable reception for its 1990 Impact electric concept car, upon which the design of the EV1 drew heavily. Inspired partly by the Impact's perceived potential for success, the California Air Resources Board
California Air Resources Board
The California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB or ARB, is the "clean air agency" in the government of California. Established in 1967 in the Mulford-Carrell Act, combining the Bureau of Air Sanitation and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board, CARB is a department within the...

 (CARB) subsequently passed a mandate that made the production and sale of zero-emission vehicles a requirement for the seven major automakers selling cars in the United States to continue to market their vehicles in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. The EV1 was made available through limited lease
Lease
A lease is a contractual arrangement calling for the lessee to pay the lessor for use of an asset. A rental agreement is a lease in which the asset is tangible property...

-only agreements, initially to residents of the cities of Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, California and Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

 and Tucson, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

. EV1 lessees were officially participants in a "real-world engineering evaluation" and market study into the feasibility of producing and marketing a commuter electric vehicle in select U.S. markets undertaken by GM's Advanced Technology Vehicles group. The cars were not available for purchase, and could be serviced only at designated Saturn dealerships. Within a year of the EV1's release, leasing programs were also launched in San Francisco and Sacramento
Sacramento
Sacramento is the capital of the state of California, in the United States of America.Sacramento may also refer to:- United States :*Sacramento County, California*Sacramento, Kentucky*Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta...

, California, along with a limited program in the state of Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

.

While customer reaction to the EV1 was positive, GM believed that electric cars occupied an unprofitable niche of the automobile market, and ending up crushing all their electric cars, regardless of protesting customers. Furthermore, an alliance of the major automakers litigated the CARB regulation in court, resulting in a slackening of the ZEV stipulation, permitting the companies to produce super-low-emissions vehicles, natural gas vehicles, and hybrid cars in place of pure electrics. The EV1 program was subsequently discontinued in 2002, and all cars on the road were repossessed. Lessees were not given the option to purchase their cars from GM, which cited parts, service, and liability regulations. The majority of the repossessed EV1s were crushed
Car crusher
A car crusher is an industrial device used to reduce the dimensions of derelict cars prior to transport for recycling.Car crushers are compactors and can be of two types: "pancake", where a scrap automobile is flattened by a huge descending hydraulically-powered plate, or the baling press type,...

, and the rest delivered to museums and educational institutes with their electric powertrain
Powertrain
In a motor vehicle, the term powertrain or powerplant refers to the group of components that generate power and deliver it to the road surface, water, or air. This includes the engine, transmission, drive shafts, differentials, and the final drive...

s deactivated, under the agreement that the cars were not to be reactivated and driven on the road.

The EV1's discontinuation remains controversial, with electric car enthusiasts, environmental interest groups and former EV1 lessees accusing GM of self-sabotaging
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

 its electric car program to avoid potential losses in spare parts sales (sales forced by government regulations), while also blaming the oil industry for conspiring to keep electric cars off the road.

Origins



In January 1990, GM chairman Roger Smith demonstrated the Impact, an electric concept car, at the 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show. The car had been developed by electric vehicle company AeroVironment
AeroVironment
AeroVironment Inc. is a technology company in Monrovia, California, and Simi Valley, California, that is primarily involved in energy systems, electric vehicle systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles . Paul B. MacCready, Jr., a famous designer of human powered aircraft, founded the company in 1971...

, using design knowledge gained from GM's participation in the 1987 World Solar Challenge
World Solar Challenge
The World Solar Challenge is a solar-powered car race which covers through the Australian Outback, from Darwin to Adelaide.The race attracts teams from around the world, most of which are fielded by universities or corporations although some are fielded by high schools...

, a trans-Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 race for solar vehicle
Solar vehicle
A solar vehicle is an electric vehicle powered completely or significantly by direct solar energy. Usually, photovoltaic cells contained in solar panels convert the sun's energy directly into electric energy. The term "solar vehicle" usually implies that solar energy is used to power all or part...

s, with the Sunraycer
Sunraycer
The Sunraycer was a solar powered race car designed to compete in the world's first race featuring solar-powered cars. This race is now called the World Solar Challenge. The Sunraycer, a joint collaboration between General Motors, AeroVironment, and Hughes Aircraft, won the first race in 1987 by a...

, which went on to win the competition. Alan Cocconi of AC Propulsion
AC Propulsion
AC Propulsion is a San Dimas, California, USA company founded in 1992 by Alan Cocconi that specialises in alternating current-based drivetrain systems for electric vehicles. Tom Gage is currently the company's CEO. The company produces goods such as electric vehicle drive systems and their top of...

 designed and built the original drive controller electronics for the Impact, and the design was later refined by Hughes Electronics. On April 18, 1990, Smith announced that the Impact would become a production vehicle.

Impressed by the viability of the Impact, and motivated by GM's promise to produce the Impact, the California Air Resources Board
California Air Resources Board
The California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB or ARB, is the "clean air agency" in the government of California. Established in 1967 in the Mulford-Carrell Act, combining the Bureau of Air Sanitation and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board, CARB is a department within the...

 (CARB) moved on a large environmental initiative, ruled that each of the U.S.'s seven largest carmakers—the largest of which was GM—would be required to make 2% of its fleet emission-free by 1998, 5% by 2001, and 10% by 2003, in accordance with consumer demand, in order to continue to sell cars in California. The board stated the mandate was intended to combat California's poor air quality, which at the time was worse than the other 49 states combined. Other members of what was then the American Automobile Manufacturers Association
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade group of automobile manufacturers that operate in the United States. Their mission is to "represent the common interests of its members and provide a forum to enable them to advance public policies that meet consumer and societal needs for clean,...

, along with Toyota
Toyota RAV4 EV
The RAV4 EV was an all-electric version of the popular RAV4 SUV produced by Toyota. It was leased from 1997 to 2003, and at the lessees request, many units were sold after the vehicle was discontinued. A total of 1,485 were leased and/or sold in California to meet the state’s mandate for...

, Nissan and Honda
Honda EV Plus
The Honda EV Plus was the first battery electric vehicle from a major automaker with non-lead acid batteries. Roughly 340 EV Plus models were produced and released. The EV Plus was taken out of production in 1999 when Honda announced the release of its first hybrid electric vehicle, the Honda Insight...

, each also developed a prototype zero-emissions vehicle
Zero-emissions vehicle
A zero-emissions vehicle, or ZEV, is a vehicle that emits no tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power. Harmful pollutants to the health and the environment include particulates , hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen. Although not considered emission...

 in response to the new mandate.

In 1994, GM began PrEView, a program whereby 50 handbuilt Impact electric cars would be lent to drivers for periods of one to two weeks, under the agreement that their experiences would be logged. Volunteers had to own a garage where a high-current charging unit could be installed by an electric company. Program supervisor Sean McNamara said that he expected at most eighty volunteers in the Los Angeles area, but was forced to close the phone lines after 10,000 people called in. In New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, 14,000 callers responded before the lines were closed. Driver response to the cars was favorable, as were reviews by the automotive press. According to Motor Trend
Motor Trend
Motor Trend is an American automobile magazine. It first appeared in September 1949, issued by Petersen Publishing Company in Los Angeles, and bearing the tag line "The Magazine for a Motoring World". Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who sold the former Petersen...

, "The Impact is precisely one of those occasions where GM proves beyond any doubt that it knows how to build fantastic automobiles. This is the world's only electric vehicle that drives like a real car." Automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 called the car's ride and handling "amazing," praising its "smooth delivery of power". That year, a modified Impact set a land speed record
Land speed record
The land speed record is the highest speed achieved by a wheeled vehicle on land. There is no single body for validation and regulation; in practice the Category C flying start regulations are used, officiated by regional or national organizations under the auspices of the Fédération...

 for production electric vehicles of 183 mi/h. However, according to a front-page article in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, GM was less than pleased with the prospect of having developed a successful electric car:
According to the report, GM viewed the PrEView program as a failure, evidence that the electric car was not yet viable, and that the CARB regulations should be withdrawn. Dennis Minano, GM's Vice President for Energy and Environment, questioned whether consumers desired electric vehicles. Robert J. Eaton, chairman of Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

, also questioned whether the market was ready for electric cars, and said, "... if the law is there, we'll meet it... at this point of time, nobody can forecast that we can make [an electric car]." The negative positions taken by the automakers was criticized by Thomas C. Jorling, the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for the conservation, improvement, and protection of natural resources within the U.S. state of New York. It was founded in 1970, replacing the previous Conservation Department...

 for New York State
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, which had adopted the California emission program. According to Jorling, consumers had demonstrated tremendous interest in electric cars, but automakers did not want to render obsolete their multi-billion dollar investments in internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 technology.

Release of Gen I and initial reaction


Work on the GM electric car program continued after the end of PrEView. While the original 50 Impact cars were destroyed after testing was finished, the design had evolved into the GM EV1 by 1996. The EV1 would be the first GM car in history to wear a "General Motors" nameplate, instead of one of GM's marques. The first-generation, or "Gen I" car, which would be powered by lead-acid batteries
Lead-acid battery
Lead–acid batteries, invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté, are the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Despite having a very low energy-to-weight ratio and a low energy-to-volume ratio, their ability to supply high surge currents means that the cells maintain a relatively large...

 and had a stated range of 70 to 100 miles; 660 cars, painted dark green
Green
Green is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 520–570 nanometres. In the subtractive color system, it is not a primary color, but is created out of a mixture of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; it is considered...

, red
Red
Red is any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting predominantly of the longest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye, in the wavelength range of roughly 630–740 nm. Longer wavelengths than this are called infrared , and cannot be seen by the naked eye...

, and silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 were produced. The cars were made available via a leasing program, with the option to purchase the cars specifically disallowed by a contractual clause (the suggested retail price
Suggested retail price
The manufacturer's suggested retail price , list price or recommended retail price of a product is the price which the manufacturer recommends that the retailer sell the product. The intention was to help to standardise prices among locations...

 was quoted as $34,000). In similar fashion to the PrEView program, lessees were pre-screened by GM, with only residents of Southern California and Arizona eligible for participation. Leasing rates for the EV1 ranged from $399 to $549 a month. The car's launch was a media event, accompanied by an $8 million promotional campaign, which included prime-time TV advertising, billboards, a web site, and an appearance at the premiere of the Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone
Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone , commonly known as Sylvester Stallone, and nicknamed Sly Stallone, is an American actor, filmmaker, screenwriter, film director and occasional painter. Stallone is known for his machismo and Hollywood action roles. Two of the notable characters he has portrayed...

 film Daylight
Daylight (film)
Daylight is a 1996 disaster film, starring Sylvester Stallone, Amy Brenneman, Viggo Mortensen, Dan Hedaya, and Danielle Harris. It was directed by Rob Cohen and released in theaters on December 6, 1996.-Plot:...

. The first lessees included celebrities, executives and politicians. A total of 40 EV1 leases were signed at the release event, with GM estimating that it would lease 100 cars by the end of the year. Deliveries began on December 5, 1996.
Joe Kennedy, vice president of marketing for GM marque Saturn, accepted concerns regarding the EV1's cost, the outdated lead-acid battery technology, and the car's limited range, saying "Let us not forget that technology starts small and grows slowly before technology improves and costs go down." Some anti-taxation groups were against the exemptions and tax credits that EV1 lessees received, which they said constituted government-subsidized motoring for affluent professionals. Some of these groups, such as consumer organization Californians Against Utility Company Abuse (which mounted opposition to the use of taxpayer dollars to build public EV charging station
Charging station
An electric vehicle charging station, also called EV charging station, electric recharging point, charging point and EVSE , is an element in an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for the recharging of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric-gasoline vehicles) or semi-static and mobile...

s), were themselves accused of receiving their funding from oil companies interested in keeping gasoline cars on the roads. Concerns were also raised that the car had received only a limited launch, because GM had made a deal with CARB to delay the implementation of the first phase of the ZEV program, which had been scheduled to go into effect in 1998.

In the first year of release, GM leased only 288 cars. However, by 1999, the brand manager for the EV1 program, Ken Stewart, described the response of the car's drivers as "wonderfully-manical loyalty." The lessees had integrated the EV1 into their lifestyle, making the car less a novelty item and more a primary source of transportation. Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

, a lessee, praised the car on late-night talk show
Talk show
A talk show or chat show is a television program or radio program where one person discuss various topics put forth by a talk show host....

s, saying "Believe it or not, that sucker goes!"

Some EV1 enthusiasts believed that GM was demonstrating ambivalence towards promotion of the EV1 after its initial release. While one of the first EV1 TV spots was nominated for an Emmy award
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

, later advertising was limited to direct mail and print and TV ads in niche channels. While GM remained officially committed to the electric vehicle, enthusiasts were concerned that low public interest would result in the program being scrapped. One driver, Marvin Rush, a cinematographer
Cinematographer
A cinematographer is one photographing with a motion picture camera . The title is generally equivalent to director of photography , used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image...

 for the TV series Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Voyager is a science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe. Set in the 24th century from the year 2371 through 2378, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet vessel USS Voyager, which becomes stranded in the Delta Quadrant 70,000 light-years from Earth while...

, became so concerned that he spent $20,000 of his own funds to produce and air four unofficial radio commercials for the car. While the automaker was initially opposed to the action, it later changed its position, announcing that it would make the spots official and reimburse Rush. The company spent $10 million on EV1 advertising in 1997, and promised to increase that amount by $5 million the following year.

Second generation: 1999-2003


For the 1999 model year, GM released a Gen II version of the EV1. Major improvements included lower production costs, quieter operation, extensive weight reduction, and the advent of a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery. The Gen II models were initially released with a 60 amp-hour (18.7 kilowatt-hour) Panasonic
Panasonic
Panasonic is an international brand name for Japanese electric products manufacturer Panasonic Corporation, which was formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd...

 lead-acid battery pack, a slight improvement over the Gen I power source using the same 312 V voltage; later models featured an Ovonics
Ovonics
Energy Conversion Devices is headquartered in Rochester Hills, Michigan.United Solar Ovonic, LLC is its wholly owned subsidiary located in Auburn Hills, Michigan...

 NiMH battery rated at 77 Ah (26.4 kWh) with 343 volts. Cars with the lead-acid pack had a range of 80 to 100 miles, while the NiMH cars could travel between 100 and 140 miles between charges.
For the second-generation EV1, the leasing program was expanded to the cities of San Diego, Sacramento
Sacramento
Sacramento is the capital of the state of California, in the United States of America.Sacramento may also refer to:- United States :*Sacramento County, California*Sacramento, Kentucky*Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta...

, and Atlanta; monthly payments ranged from $349 to $574. 457 Gen II EV1s were produced by General Motors and leased to customers in the eight months following December 1999. According to some sources, hundreds of drivers wanted to but could not become EV1 lessees.

On March 2, 2000, GM issued a recall
Product recall
A product recall is a request to return to the maker a batch or an entire production run of a product, usually due to the discovery of safety issues. The recall is an effort to limit liability for corporate negligence and to improve or avoid damage to publicity...

 for 450 Gen I EV1s. The automaker had determined that a faulty charge port cable could eventually build up enough heat to catch on fire. Sixteen "thermal incidents" and at least one fire occurred as a result of the defect, destroying a car leased by Ron Brauer and Ruth Bygness as it was charging. The recall did not affect second-generation EV1s.

Over the next two years, approximately 200 Gen I EV1s were refitted with NiMH batteries and re-issued to their original lessees on revised two-year leases, including a new limited-mileage clause. Delays were involved due to design complications resulting from the NiMH pack retrofit. As a result, GM offered Gen I drivers the opportunity to terminate their lease at no charge, or the chance to transfer the lease to one of the remaining 150 second-generation EV1s — ahead of those already on the waiting list for Gen II models.

Program cancellation



On February 7, 2002, GM Advanced Technology Vehicles brand manager Ken Stewart notified lessees that GM would be removing the cars from the road, contradicting an earlier statement that GM would in fact not be "taking cars off the road from customers." Drivers feared that their working cars would be destroyed after repossession.
In late 2003, General Motors, then led by CEO Rick Wagoner
Rick Wagoner
George Richard "Rick" Wagoner, Jr. is an American businessman and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors. Wagoner resigned as Chairman and CEO at General Motors on March 29, 2009, at the request of the White House...

, officially canceled the EV1 program. GM stated that it could not sell enough of the cars to make the EV1 profitable. In addition, the cost of maintaining a parts supply and service infrastructure for the 15-year minimum required by the state of California meant that existing leases would not be renewed, and all the cars would have to be returned to GM's possession. In November 2003, GM began reclaiming the cars; several were donated to museums and educational institutions (e.g. Mott Community College
Mott Community College
Charles Stewart Mott Community College is a publicly supported post-secondary institution located in Flint, Michigan. Its district is the same as the Genesee Intermediate School District and is governed by an elected board of Trustees...

 in Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan
Flint is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and is located along the Flint River, northwest of Detroit. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the 2010 population to be placed at 102,434, making Flint the seventh largest city in Michigan. It is the county seat of Genesee County which lies in the...

), albeit with deactivated powertrains meant to keep the cars from ever running again, but the majority were sent to car crusher
Car crusher
A car crusher is an industrial device used to reduce the dimensions of derelict cars prior to transport for recycling.Car crushers are compactors and can be of two types: "pancake", where a scrap automobile is flattened by a huge descending hydraulically-powered plate, or the baling press type,...

s to be destroyed.
The documentary Who Killed The Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car? is a 2006 documentary film that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the mid 1990s...

 presents evidence that GM stuck with plans to cancel and scrap the car, despite apparent public interest. The film includes footage of GM employees on the EV1 team discussing a waiting list of people interested in leasing or purchasing EV1s. In 2003, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

 attempted to lease an EV1 from GM, but was told that he "was welcome to join their waiting list, along with undisclosed others, for an indefinite period of time, but [his] chances of getting a car were slim." Critics of GM and proponents of electric vehicles claim that GM feared the emergence of electrical vehicle technology because the cars might cut into their profitable spare parts market, as electric cars have far fewer moving parts than combustion vehicles. Critics further charged that when CARB, in response to the EV1, mandated that electric vehicles makeup a certain percentage of all automakers' sales, GM came to fear that the EV1 might encourage unwanted regulation in other states. GM battled against CARB regulations, going as far as to sue CARB in federal court. The American automaker, along with Toyota, cited a study they had commissioned, which showed that customers would only choose an electric car over a gasoline car if it cost a full $28,000 less than a comparable gasoline car. Dr. Kenneth E. Train
Kenneth E. Train
Kenneth E. Train is a Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley., USA. He is also Vice President of in San Francisco, California. He received a Bachelors in Economics at Harvard and PhD from UC Berkeley...

 of UC Berkeley, who conducted the study, stated that given a typical retail price of $21,000 for a RAV4
Toyota RAV4
The Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover SUV from Toyota. It was the first compact crossover SUV, introduced in Japan and Europe in 1994 and beginning sales in North America in 1996...

 SUV, "Toyota would have to give the average consumer a free RAV4-EV plus a check for approximately $7,000." An independent study commissioned by the California Electric Transportation Coalition (CalETC) and conducted by the Green Car Institute and the Dohring Company automotive market research firm found very different results. The study "used the same research methodologies employed by the auto industry to identify markets for its gasoline vehicles". It found the annual consumer market for EVs to be 12-18% of the new light-duty vehicle market in California, amounting to annual sales of between 151,200 and 226,800 electric vehicles, approximately ten times the quantity specified by CARB's mandate. At the hearings, the automakers also presented the hydrogen vehicle
Hydrogen vehicle
A hydrogen vehicle is a vehicle that uses hydrogen as its onboard fuel for motive power. Hydrogen vehicles include hydrogen fueled space rockets, as well as automobiles and other transportation vehicles...

 as a higher alternative to the gasoline car, bolstered by a recent federal earmark for hydrogen research. Many, including members of the CARB hearing committee, were concerned that this was a bait-and-switch on the automakers' part, in order to make CARB eliminate the EV mandate, and that hydrogen was not as viable of an alternative as it was made to seem.

CARB had already rolled back deadlines several times, in light of car companies not being ready to meet the ZEV requirement. In 2001, it proposed amendments that would grant automakers credit for producing advanced-technology, partial-zero emission vehicles, such as hybrid cars, in place of battery EVs. However, the industry used the relaxation of the rules to challenge the regulation as a whole. General Motors and Daimler-Chrysler filed suit against CARB in the US District Court in the Eastern District of California, successfully arguing that CARB's method of determining whether or not a vehicle qualified as an Advanced Technology Partial ZEV (AT PZEV) used the vehicle's fuel economy as one of the standards, in addition to reduced emissions; according to federal law, states are barred from regulating fuel economy in any way. Judge Robert E. Coyle issued a preliminary injunction on June 11 against the CARB, ruling the provision unconstitutional and preventing the implementation of CARB's 2001 amendments. The mandate was modified, with the zero-emission requirement reduced to at least 250 fuel cell or battery-powered vehicles by 2008.

Reaction


In the aftermath of the program, reactions to the cancellation of the EV1 continued to be mixed. In GM's view, the EV1 was not a failure, but the program was doomed when the expected breakthroughs in battery technology did not take place within the anticipated timeline, citing the lack of availability of the NiMH-technology battery packs, developed by Energy Conversion Devices of Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, until late in the production cycle. The batteries improved the EV1's range, but not as dramatically as expected, and came with their own set of problems; a less-efficient charging algorithm had to be used (lengthening charge times), and the batteries heated up more quickly than the lead-acid packs (requiring use of the air conditioner to cool them down, wasting power). The automaker also cited the elimination of the CARB zero-emissions mandate as a factor in the program's cancellation, though the company was widely accused of lobbying against the mandate in an act of deliberate self-sabotage. The media perspective was far less favorable; in 2006, the Wall Street Journals Detroit Bureau Chief Joe White said, "The EV1 was a failure, as were other electric vehicles launched in the 1990s to placate California clean-air regulators." This opinion was echoed by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine, who in 2008 placed the EV1 on their list of "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time".

In light of falling car sales later in the decade, as the world oil and financial crises began to take hold, opinions of the EV1 program began to change. In 2006, former GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner
Rick Wagoner
George Richard "Rick" Wagoner, Jr. is an American businessman and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors. Wagoner resigned as Chairman and CEO at General Motors on March 29, 2009, at the request of the White House...

 stated that his worst decision during his tenure at GM was "axing the EV1 electric-car program and not putting the right resources into hybrids
Hybrid electric vehicle
A hybrid electric vehicle is a type of hybrid vehicle and electric vehicle which combines a conventional internal combustion engine propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. The presence of the electric powertrain is intended to achieve either better fuel economy than a conventional...

. It didn’t affect profitability, but it did affect image." Wagoner repeated this assertion during an NPR
NPR
NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

 interview after the December 2008 Senate hearings on the U.S. auto industry bailout request. In the March 13, 2007 issue of Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

, "GM R&D chief Larry Burns
Larry Burns
Lawrence D. Burns is the former corporate vice president of Research and Development for General Motors. Burns oversaw GM's advanced technology, innovation programs, and corporate strategy. He was a member of GM’s Automotive Strategy Board and Automotive Product Board...

 . . . now wishes GM hadn't killed the plug-in hybrid EV1 prototype his engineers had on the road a decade ago: 'If we could turn back the hands of time,' says Burns, 'we could have had the Chevy Volt 10 years earlier,'" referring to the forthcoming plug-in hybrid car which was hailed as the spiritual and technological successor to the EV1.

Resurrection


Some of the deactivated EV1s given to universities and engineering schools were reactivated, and driven on public roads. The institutions came under fire from General Motors for violating the agreements of the donation, which indicated that the cars not be "titled, licensed, nor driven on public highways" and could only be restored and showcased. GM has potential legal obligations under laws that require automakers to maintain parts and service infrastructure for consumer vehicles for a period of no less than 7 years.

In 2004 General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 donated one of the first generation EV1s (serial number 660) to the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

 in Washington D.C. It was displayed as part of the "America on the Move" exhibit at the National Museum of American History until it was removed in 2006 during renovations to the museum. While the car remains part of the Smithsonian collection, the EV1 has yet to be redisplayed within the exhibit at the museum.

Technology and design



The decades before the release of the Impact and the EV1 had seen little in the way of development on the electric car front. The Henney Kilowatt
Henney Kilowatt
The Henney Kilowatt was an electric car introduced in the United States for the 1959 model year.-Corporate funding:The Henney Kilowatt was a project of National Union Electric Company, a conglomerate including Emerson Radio, and Henney Motor Company, which had purchased Eureka Williams in 1953. The...

, which ended production in 1961, was the last time a feasible production electric car of any sort had been released; GM's own Electrovair
Chevrolet Corvair
-First generation :The 1960 Corvair 500 and 700 series four-door sedans were conceived as economy cars offering few amenities in order to keep the price competitive, with the 500 selling for under $2,000...

 and Electrovette
Chevrolet Chevette
The Chevrolet Chevette was introduced in September, 1975 and manufactured for model years 1976-1987 based on GM's worldwide T platform and superseding the Vega as Chevrolet's entry-level subcompact...

 of 1966 and 1976, respectively, never reached production, amounting to little more than conceptual electric conversion kits for the automaker's popular gasoline models. Technical and production costs difficulties were blamed.

In contrast to these cars, the EV1 was designed from the ground up to be an electric vehicle. It was not a conversion of an existing vehicle, nor did it share a drivetrain with another GM model, which contributed to its high development and production costs. The EV1 program was initially administered by a GM engineer named Kenneth Baker, who had been the lead on the Electrovette program in the 1970s.

Configuration


The EV1 was not only used to showcase the electric powertrain, but also premiered a number of features and technologies that would later find their way onto more common GM models and other manufacturers' cars. The EV1 was among the first production vehicles to utilize aluminum in the construction of the frame
Frame (vehicle)
A frame is the main structure of the chassis of a motor vehicle. All other components fasten to it; a term for this is design is body-on-frame construction.In 1920, every motor vehicle other than a few cars based on motorcycles had a frame...

. The car's body panels were made of plastic rather than metal, making the car lightweight and dent resistant. The vehicle was fitted with Anti-lock brakes and a traction control system
Traction control system
A traction control system , also known as anti-slip regulation , is typically a secondary function of the anti-lock braking system on production motor vehicles, designed to prevent loss of traction of driven road wheels...

. Comfort improvements included a keyless entry and ignition system, a special one-way thermal glass for better heat rejection on sunny days, an automated tire pressure loss warning system, electric power steering
Power steering
Power steering helps drivers steer vehicles by augmenting steering effort of the steering wheel.Hydraulic or electric actuators add controlled energy to the steering mechanism, so the driver needs to provide only modest effort regardless of conditions. Power steering helps considerably when a...

, and a time-programmable HVAC
HVAC
HVAC refers to technology of indoor or automotive environmental comfort. HVAC system design is a major subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer...

 system.

To boost efficiency, the EV1 possessed a very low drag coefficient
Automobile drag coefficient
The drag coefficient is a common metric in automotive design pertaining to aerodynamic effects. As aerodynamic drag increases as the square of speed, a low value is preferable to a high one...

 (Cd) and reference area (CdA) of 0.19 and 0.36 m² (3.95 ft²), respectively. Super-light magnesium alloy
Magnesium alloy
Magnesium alloys are mixtures of magnesium with other metals , often aluminium, zinc, manganese, silicon, copper, rare earths and zirconium. Magnesium is the lightest structural metal. Magnesium alloys have a hexagonal lattice structure, which affects the fundamental properties of these alloys...

 wheels and seats provided strength despite their low weight, and self-sealing, low-rolling resistance tires
Low-rolling resistance tires
Low-rolling resistance tires minimize wasted energy as a tire rolls, thereby decreasing required rolling effort — and in the case of automotive applications, improving vehicle fuel efficiency. Approximately 5–15% of the fuel consumed by a typical car may be used to overcome rolling resistance...

 developed by Michelin
Michelin
Michelin is a tyre manufacturer based in Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne région of France. It is one of the two largest tyre manufacturers in the world along with Bridgestone. In addition to the Michelin brand, it also owns the BFGoodrich, Kleber, Riken, Kormoran and Uniroyal tyre brands...

 rounded out the EV1's exceptional efficiency characteristics.
At 169.7 inches (4,310 mm) in length, and 69.5 inches (1,765 mm) in width, the EV1 was a subcompact car
Subcompact car
Subcompact car is a North American term used to describe automobiles whose class size is smaller than that of a compact car, usually not exceeding in length, but larger than a microcar...

, with a 2-door coupé
Coupé
A coupé or coupe is a closed car body style , the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time...

 body style.

Drivetrain


The car's 3-phase AC
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

 induction electric motor produced 137 brake horsepower (102 kW) at 7000 rpm. Like all electrically powered cars, and unlike a car powered by an ICE
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

, the EV1 could deliver its full torque capacity throughout its power band, producing 110 pound-feet (149 newton-meters) of torque anywhere between 0 and 7000 rpm, allowing the omission of a manual or automatic gearbox. Power was delivered to the front wheels
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 through a single-speed reduction integrated transmission
Transmission (mechanics)
A machine consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Merriam-Webster defines transmission as: an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the propeller shaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a...

.

Battery


The Gen I EV1 models, released in 1996, used lead-acid batteries
Lead-acid battery
Lead–acid batteries, invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté, are the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Despite having a very low energy-to-weight ratio and a low energy-to-volume ratio, their ability to supply high surge currents means that the cells maintain a relatively large...

, and weighed in at 3,086 pounds (1,400 kg). The first batch of batteries were provided by GM's Delphi branch; these were rated at 53 amp-hours at 312 volts (16.5 kWh), and initially provided a range of 60 miles (96 km) per charge. Gen II cars, released in 1999, used a new batch of lead-acid batteries provided by Panasonic
Panasonic
Panasonic is an international brand name for Japanese electric products manufacturer Panasonic Corporation, which was formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd...

; some Gen I cars were retrofitted with this battery pack. The Japanese batteries were rated at 60 amp-hours (18.7 kWh) at 312 volts, and increased the EV1's range to 100 miles (161 km). Soon after the rollout of the second generation cars, the originally intended nickel metal hydride (NiMH) "Ovonic" battery pack, which reduced the car's curb weight to 2,908 pounds (1,319 kg) entered production; this pack was also retrofitted to earlier cars (both battery pack designs were led and invented by John E. Waters under the Delco Remy organization). The NiMH batteries, rated at 77 amp-hours (26.4 kWh) at 343 volts, gave the cars a range of 160 miles (257 km) per charge, more than twice what the original Gen I cars could muster.

It took the NiMH-equipped cars as much as eight hours for the cars to charge to full capacity (though an 80% charge could be achieved in between one and three hours). The Panasonic battery pack consisted of twenty-six 12 volt, 60 amp-hour lead-acid batteries holding 67.4 megajoules (18.7 kWh) of energy. The NiMH packs contained twenty-six 13.2 volt, 77 Ah nickel-metal hydride batteries which held 95.1 megajoules (26.4 kWh) of energy.

Driving experience



The experience of driving an EV1 was unlike a conventional gasoline or diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 vehicle. The EV1's drag coefficient of 0.19 was the lowest of any production automobile in history, while typical production cars have Cd's in the 0.3 to 0.4 range. The EV1's clean shape meant it produced less wind noise at highway speeds, providing a more comfortable driving experience for its occupants. At lower speeds, and when stationary, the car produced little to no noise at all, save for a slight whine from the single-speed gear reduction unit. The car's smooth shape, waterfall tail and rear fender skirts
Fender skirts
Fender skirts, known in Australia and the United Kingdom as spats, are pieces of bodywork on the fender that cover the upper portions of the rear tires of an automobile.-Functions:...

 gave it a distinctive appearance, reminiscent of an updated, 2-door Citroën DS
Citroën DS
The Citroën DS is an executive car produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1955 and 1975. Styled by Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre, the DS was known for its aerodynamic futuristic body design and innovative...

. The EV1 had no analog dials, and all instrumentation readouts were displayed in a single thin curved strip mounted high on the dashboard, just underneath the windshield
Windshield
The windshield or windscreen of an aircraft, car, bus, motorbike or tram is the front window. Modern windshields are generally made of laminated safety glass, a type of treated glass, which consists of two curved sheets of glass with a plastic layer laminated between them for safety, and are glued...

.

Thanks to the on-demand torque output of the electric motor, the EV1 could accelerate from 0–50 mph (0–80 km/h) in 6.3 seconds, and from 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in eight seconds. The car's top speed was electronically limited to 80 mi/h. At the time of release, the lead-acid battery-equipped EV1 was the only electric car produced which met all of the United States Department of Energy
United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

's EV America performance goals.

The home charger provided by GM, which was required for "fast recharging" of the car, measured roughly 1.5 by 2 by 5 feet (0.45 x 0.60 x 1.50 m), and featured integrated heatsinks and a resemblance to a gasoline pump. The charger refueled the car using induction
Inductive charging
Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects. This is usually done with a charging station. Energy is sent through inductive coupling to an electrical device, which then can use that energy to charge batteries....

, accomplished by inserting a Magne Charge
Magne Charge
Magne Charge is a largely obsolete inductive charging system, also known as J1773, used to charge battery electric vehicles formerly made by General Motors, for vehicles such as the EV1, Chevy S10 EV, and other electric vehicles. It was produced by the General Motors subsidiary Delco Electronics....

 paddle into the slot between the EV1's headlights. The wireless charging technology meant that no direct connection was made, and charging the car while it was raining did not pose any risks, though there were isolated incidents involving fires starting at the charge port. GM also offered a 120 V AC convenience charger that could be used with any standard North America power socket to slow-charge the battery pack. The convenience charger was not available for EV1s equipped with the NiMH battery packs. Installation of the device took between one and two weeks, at an additional average cost of $2500.

Analysis of success vs. failure



The view of the EV1 as failure is a controversial one in itself. When viewed as an attempt to produce a viable EV product, it was a success, while certainly from GM's perspective not a commercial success as the high profit margins seen with internal combustion engine vehicles remained elusive. If one considers the vehicle as a technological showpiece—a production electric car that actually could replace a gasoline powered vehicle—the program's outcome is less clear. The EV1 was produced for the consumer market, and many lessees found driving an EV1 to be a favorable experience. On that basis, EV1 might qualify as the most successful electric car ever built.

Some analysts have suggested that it is inappropriate to compare the EV1 with existing gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 powered commuter cars as the EV1 was, in effect, a completely new product category that had no equivalent vehicles against which to be judged.

Costs


GM based the lease payments for the EV1 on an initial vehicle price of US$33,995. Lease payments ranged from around $299 to $574 per month, depending on the availability of state rebates. Since GM did not offer consumers the option to purchase at the end of the lease, the car's residual value
Residual value
Residual value is one of the constituents of a leasing calculus or operation. It describes the future value of a good in terms of percentage of depreciation of its initial value....

 was never established, making it impossible to determine the actual full purchase price or replacement value. One industry official said that each EV1 cost the company about US$80,000, including research, development and other associated costs; other estimates placed the vehicle's actual cost as high as $100,000. GM stated the cost of the EV1 program at slightly less than $500 million before marketing and sales costs, and over $1 billion in total; a portion of this cost was defrayed by the Clinton Administration's
Presidency of Bill Clinton
The United States Presidency of Bill Clinton, also known as the Clinton Administration, was the executive branch of the federal government of the United States from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001. Clinton was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second full term...

 $1.25 billion Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program. In addition, all manufacturers seeking to produce electric cars for market consumption also benefited from matching government funds committed to the United States Advanced Battery Consortium
United States Council for Automotive Research
United States Council for Automotive Research LLC is an umbrella organization for collaborative research that comprises Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation. Its goal is to further strengthen the technology base of the U.S...

.

Related development


General Motors revealed several prototype variants of the EV1 drivetrain at the 1998 Detroit Auto Show. The models included diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

/electric parallel hybrid, gas turbine
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

/electric series hybrid, fuel cell
Fuel cell
A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used...

/electric version and compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline , diesel, or propane/LPG. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels, and it is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill...

 low emission internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 version. In addition, during this period, GM reorganized their electronics divisions (among them Hughes Electronics and Delco Divisions) into Delco Propulsion Systems in order to attempt to commercialize this technology in niche markets. Several non-affiliated companies purchased inverter and drivetrain systems from DPS for vehicle/fleet conversion purposes.

The new platform was a four-passenger variant of the EV1, lengthened by 19". This design was based on an internal (GM) program for a more "marketable" EV begun during the proof of concept phase of the EV1's development. During the original EV1 R&D period, focus groups indicated one of the major market limiting factors of the original EV1 was its two seater configuration. GM investigated the possibility of making the EV1 a four seater, but ultimately determined that the increased length and weight of the four seater would reduce vehicle's already limited range to 40–50 miles - placing the first ground up electric car's performance squarely in the pack of aftermarket gas vehicle conversions. General Motors chose to produce the lighter, two-seat design.

For hybrid and electric vehicles, the battery pack was upgraded to 44 NiMH
NIMH
NIMH or NiMH may refer to:*Nickel-metal hydride battery, a type of rechargeable battery*National Institute of Mental Health, a part of the United States National Institutes of Health...

 cells, arranged in "I" formation down the centerline, which could fully recharge in just 2 hours using onboard 220 V induction charger; additional power units were installed in the trunk, thus complementing the 3rd generation 137 hp AC Induction electric motor installed in the hood. Hybrid modifications retained the capability of all-electric ZEV
Zero-emissions vehicle
A zero-emissions vehicle, or ZEV, is a vehicle that emits no tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power. Harmful pollutants to the health and the environment include particulates , hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen. Although not considered emission...

 propulsion for up to 40 miles (64.4 km).

EV1 CNG


The compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline , diesel, or propane/LPG. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels, and it is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill...

 (CNG) variant was the only non-electric vehicle in the line-up, even though it employed the same up-stretched platform. It used a modified Suzuki
Suzuki
is a Japanese multinational corporation headquartered in Hamamatsu, Japan that specializes in manufacturing compact automobiles and 4x4 vehicles, a full range of motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles , outboard marine engines, wheelchairs and a variety of other small internal combustion engines...

 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder all-aluminum OHC engine installed under the hood. Due to the high octane rating of the CNG (allowing for a greater compression ratio
Compression ratio
The 'compression ratio' of an internal-combustion engine or external combustion engine is a value that represents the ratio of the volume of its combustion chamber from its largest capacity to its smallest capacity...

), this small engine was able to deliver 72 hp at 5500 rpm.

The batteries were replaced with two CNG tanks capable of maximum operating pressure of 3000 psi. The tanks could be refueled from a single nozzle in only 4 minutes. In-tank solenoids shut off the fuel during refueling and engine idle, and a pressure relief device safeguarded against excessive temperature and pressure. With the help of a continuously variable transmission
Continuously variable transmission
A continuously variable transmission is a transmission that can change steplessly through an infinite number of effective gear ratios between maximum and minimum values. This contrasts with other mechanical transmissions that offer a fixed number of gear ratios...

, the car accelerated 0 to 60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 11 seconds. The maximum range was 350 to 400 miles, and fuel economy was 60 mpg (in gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 equivalent) .

EV1 series hybrid



The series hybrid prototype had a gas turbine engine APU
Auxiliary power unit
An auxiliary power unit is a device on a vehicle that provides energy for functions other than propulsion. They are commonly found on large aircraft, as well as some large land vehicles.-Function:...

 placed in the trunk. A single-stage, single-shaft, recuperated
Recuperator
A recuperator is a special purpose counter-flow energy recovery heat exchanger positioned within the supply and exhaust air streams of an air handling system, or in the exhaust gases of an industrial process, in order to recover the waste heat...

 gas turbine unit with a high-speed permanent-magnet AC generator was provided by Williams International
Williams International
Williams International is a manufacturer of small gas turbine engines based in Walled Lake, Michigan, United States. It produces jet engines for cruise missiles and small jet-powered aircraft.- History :...

; it weighed 220 lb (99.8 kg), measured 20 inches (50.8 cm) in diameter by 22 inches (55.9 cm) long and was running between 100,000 and 140,000 rpm. The turbine could run on a number of high-octane alternative fuels, from octane-boosted gasoline to compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline , diesel, or propane/LPG. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels, and it is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill...

. The APU started automatically when the battery charge dropped below 40% and delivered 40 kW of electrical power, enough to achieve speeds up to 80 mph (128.8 km/h) and to return the car's 44 NiMH
NIMH
NIMH or NiMH may refer to:*Nickel-metal hydride battery, a type of rechargeable battery*National Institute of Mental Health, a part of the United States National Institutes of Health...

 cells to a 50% charge level.

A fuel tank capacity of 6.5 US gal (24.6 l; 5.4 imp gal) and fuel economy of 60 miles per US gallon to 100 miles per US gallon in hybrid mode, depending on the driving conditions, allowed for a highway range of more than 390 miles (627.6 km). The car accelerated to 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 9 seconds.

There was also a research program that powered the series hybrid Gen2 version from a Stirling engine
Stirling engine
A Stirling engine is a heat engine operating by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas, the working fluid, at different temperature levels such that there is a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical work....

-based generator. The program demonstrated the technical feasibility of such a drive train, but it was concluded that commercial viability was out of reach at that time.

EV1 parallel hybrid


The parallel hybrid variant featured a de-stroked 1.3 L turbocharged DTI diesel engine (Isuzu
Isuzu
, is a Japanese car, commercial vehicle and heavy truck manufacturing company, headquartered in Tokyo. In 2005, Isuzu became the world's largest manufacturer of medium to heavy duty trucks. It has assembly and manufacturing plants in the Japanese city of Fujisawa, as well as in the prefectures...

 Circle L
Circle L engine
The Circle L is an automobile engine produced by Isuzu Motors Polska in Poland. It is a Diesel straight-4 originally designed by Isuzu but now owned by General Motors. The engine is used in Europe by GM's Opel subsidiary and by Honda.-Honda:...

), delivering 75 hp, installed in the trunk along with an additional 6.5 hp DC motor/generator; the two motors drove the rear wheels through an electronically controlled transaxle. When combined with the AC induction motor which powered the front wheels, all three power units delivered a total output of 219 hp, accelerating the car to 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 7 seconds. A single tank of diesel fuel could keep the car running for 550 miles (885.1 km) with a fuel economy of 80 miles per US gallon.

A similar technology is used in the 2005 Opel Astra
Opel Astra
The Opel Astra is a small family car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 1991.It is branded as Vauxhall Astra in the United Kingdom, the Buick Excelle XT in China and the Chevrolet Astra/Vectra in Latin America...

 Diesel Hybrid concept.

EV1 fuel cell


This variant extended all-electric propulsion capabilities with a methanol-powered fuel cell system (developed by Daimler-Benz
Daimler-Benz
Daimler-Benz AG was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motor vehicles, and internal combustion engines; founded in 1926. An Agreement of Mutual Interest - which was valid until year 2000 - was signed on 1 May 1924 between Karl Benz's Benz & Cie., and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, which had...

/Ballard
Ballard Power Systems
Ballard Power Systems , located in Burnaby, British Columbia -- a suburb of Vancouver -- is a company that designs, develops, and manufactures zero emission proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells. This company has made a bus that uses only hydrogen fuel cells. These fuel cells combine hydrogen and...

 for the Mercedes-Benz NECAR), again installed in the trunk. The system consisted of a fuel processor, an expander/compressor and the fuel cell stack. The highway range was about 300 miles (482.8 km), with a fuel economy of 80 miles per US gallon (in a gasoline equivalent). The car accelerated to 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 9 seconds.

Who Killed the Electric Car?



The demise of the EV1 is the subject of a 2006 documentary film entitled Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car? is a 2006 documentary film that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the mid 1990s...

. Much of the film accounts for GM's efforts to demonstrate to California that there was no demand for their product and then to reclaim every last EV1 and dispose of them. A few vehicles were disabled and given to museums and universities, but almost all were found to have been crushed, or shredded using a special machine, as seen in the documentary. GM responded to the film's claims, laying out several reasons why the EV1 was not commercially viable at the time. One theory discussed in the documentary is that the EV1 program was eliminated because it threatened the oil industry.

See also

  • Chevrolet Spark EV
    Chevrolet Spark EV
    The Chevrolet Spark EV is a prototype city electric car developed by the Chevrolet division of General Motors and first shown to the public at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Spark EV is scheduled to be sold in select U.S. and global markets beginning in 2013 in low volumes...

    , an all-electric car to be produced in 2013
  • Chevrolet Volt
    Chevrolet Volt
    The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle manufactured by General Motors. The Volt has been on sale in the U.S. market since mid-December 2010, and is the most fuel-efficient compact car sold in the United States, as rated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency...

    , the commercial plug in hybrid
  • Chevrolet S-10 EV, a GM electric pickup truck
    Pickup truck
    A pickup truck is a light motor vehicle with an open-top rear cargo area .-Definition:...

     that used EV1 technology
  • Patent encumbrance of large automotive NiMH batteries
    Patent encumbrance of large automotive NiMH batteries
    The patent encumbrance of large automotive NiMH batteries is the encumbrance of the commercialization of nickel metal hydride battery technology by corporate interests...

  • Plug In America
    Plug In America
    Plug In America is a 501 non-profit educational organization that promotes and advocates the use of plug-in cars, trucks and sports utlilty vehicles powered by domestic and renewable electricity which it claims will help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, improve the global environment and...

    , an organization which campaigned to save electric cars such as the EV1 from being crushed
  • List of production battery electric vehicles
  • Government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles
    Government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles
    Government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles have been established by several national and local governments around the world as a financial incentive for consumers to purchase a plug-in electric vehicle....

  • List of modern production plug-in electric vehicles
  • Plug-in electric vehicle
    Plug-in electric vehicle
    A plug-in electric vehicle is any motor vehicle that can be recharged from any external source of electricity, such as wall sockets, and the electricity stored in the rechargeable battery packs drives or contributes to drive the wheels...


External links