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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

Original promo on the GM EV1

I'm amazed at the specification , it could have sold today and wouldn't have been out if place . 70-90 miles range.
Can you imagine how much further on the industry would have been had they not 'sank their own ship' .
Also the gadgets seemingly new
AC-DC inverter
6.6 kWh charge
Range meter
Regen button

Also was the Honda Insight MK1 was copy bodywork-wise.
 

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The people who leased them thought they were ace, and utterly dismayed to have them taken at the end of the lease to be crushed...

Who know where GM might have ended up if they had stuck with the development, we might not have got
Tesla!
 

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I had not realised the volt/Ampera control electronics were a direct development of the ev1. Watching you can see where the driver information display comes from. Even the battery pack shows the origin of the current one. No wonder the volt was so well sorted when released. GM or at least part of it were well ahead of the rest of the industry.
 
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It is worth watching "Who killed the electric car" for more insight on the EV1 and what went on back then.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
It is worth watching "Who killed the electric car" for more insight on the EV1 and what went on back then.
I think I've watched it, essentially Petroleum lobbyists rolled back California zero emission legislation. GM thought they'd wasted millions on dead end tech not required and crushed them all (1,150). The last of the leased cars were scrapped in2003.
What I hadn't grasped was how technologically advanced they were. I imagined they were lead acid basic cars.

GM's decision must go down as one of the most stupid decisions in business since Decca / DJM records turned down the Beatles.
 

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What I hadn't grasped was how technologically advanced they were. I imagined they were lead acid basic cars.
Check the Wikipedia article - all the early ones were Lead Acid, however the last year or two they switched to NiMH, of a fairly impressive kWh.

Agreed, when you look at the specs on paper they outperform most EV's in the early 2010 era on range and battery capacity, charging speed, drag coefficient, and so on. Quite remarkable for 1996-1999.

The time from 2000 to 2010 really was a "lost decade" for EV's in many ways...we could have been 10 years further ahead today if the will had been there to keep progressing that quickly...
 

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Bear in mind the EV1 was a two seater - the battery pack took up a huge amount of space. However that aside the specs of the car were truly impressive and the car was loved by all it's owners with a surprising level of passion.

The original Lead-Acid batteries did become a warranty nightmare for GM but the later NiMH ones were a significant improvement. There are Lead-Acid batteries in development now that would perform well in a vehicle of this type and for a city-car in particular where the capacity need and hence weight penalty is lower and would make a lot of sense given their easier management.

The problem for GM was that they produced a concept car which the Californian legislators used to prove EVs could be viable and then forced GM to produce it. The car proved superb but GM claimed to be loosing money making it - given the low volumes that's hardly surprising, but to expand the production beyond the legal requirement would have eaten into the rest of their range so cannibalising their more profitable sales. It's not surprising they lobbied to remove the legislation and then killed the EV1 ASAP - made perfect business sense and an utter PR disaster!
 

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Even before the EV-1, GM produced "The Ultralite" concept car in 1992. The first time I saw one on tv was in the 1993 Sci-Fi movie 'The Demolition Man' starring Sly Stallone as a cryogenically frozen cop who had to hunt down a criminal played by Wesley Snipes who escaped the cryogenic prison and went on a crime wave in the near future where there was no crime! Stallone was unfrozen to catch him. The future police used the Ultralites as squad cars and Sly managed to crash one when in pursuit of Snipes because he couldn't figure how to switch from self drive to manual drive!
The Ultralite was made of exotic F1 type materials to make it .....ultralight, and was powered by a 2 stroke 3 cylinder engine capable of 120mpg, 0-60 mph 8 sec and top speed of 130mph+. It must have sounded like a Wartburg Knight on speed!
In the movie the sound of the vehicle was dubbed as an electric propulsion system which made me research the car. I thought it was built for the film but no, it was another of GM's quietly shelved innovative designs. The car also appeared in the 1999 movie 'Bi-Centennial Man' starring Robin Williams as an Android!
In the film Snipes shorted out the power cell of an electric car he had stolen causing it to explode! Not the sort of thing you want to see to forward the popularity of electric vehicles! Still, if you toss a match into the petrol tank of a IC car you would get the same result............
 

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I thought we've had this thread already?

The central thesis that EV1 was killed off because of petro-interests is just silly.

It was killed off because of small mindedness by the other car companies that couldn't make one.

The EV1 cost a small fortune and did not represent a profit on each unit leased. However, it did incentivise CARB to enact the ZEV requirements because up to then CARB had been told it was impossible, and EV1 proved it wasn't.

EV1 was not a compliance car. It actually created the ZEV requirement!

However, the other big manufacturers took CARB to court, won, and were allowed to carry on selling their shyte in calif.

If you've just invested a $billion and the country you live in disfavours what you've done by allowing people to compete directly with you who have invested nothing, then there is a point where you have to cut your losses.

GM is not to blame here. All the other manufacturers (possible exception Toyota, oddly enough - RAV EV) are to blame. They made GMs investment in EV1 financially worthless at the time.

For this reason, I get quite grumpy seeing people slagging off GM when they were actually doing the business while all the other companies, and the federal legal system, were conspiring against them.

Allocate blame where blame is most rightly deserved.
 

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I sort of agree with @donald here in that GM did produce a viable EV allbeit not a profitable one for them. If they'd developed it and gone into full scale production with the later NiMH batteries then it might have at least broken even but big company's tend to have procedures to kill these sort of projects because they hit the bottom line in the short term.

Having decided not to proceed with the EV1, getting all the cars back in and destroying them made a lot of commercial sense because otherwise they would have had to support it with parts and warranty under the US laws. From a PR perspective it was an utter disaster of course.

From the perspective of the other OEMs the laws required them to build vehicles that made a loss compared to peddling the existing ranges so using their strong lobbying powers to kill them made perfect sense. The automotive industry is heavily resistant to change and has very powerful lobby forces at its disposal - just look at the way the EU laws on emissions are utterly powerless to force VW and other OEMs to produce cars that meet the spirit of the regulations.
 

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I sort of agree with @donald here in that GM did produce a viable EV allbeit not a profitable one for them. If they'd developed it and gone into full scale production with the later NiMH batteries then it might have at least broken even
But when would it have broken even?

Prius had only a teeny 1kWh battery to pay for, and that didn't break even for a model generation or so.

If break even could not be done for BEVs until very recently, would it have been 20 years? That's a long time over which to lose $1bn a year.

It is the mass production of EV cells that has brought their cost down, which is because of demand being generated by legislative requirements on the horizon. In EV1's day, those legislative requirements were removed. There was no requirement, no incentive, no mass production (the other companies did not create a demand). A triple whammy of extra costs to a company that, as hindsight allows us to know, was already doomed to fail from economic problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
GM weren't culpable. ? Yes, everyone conspired against them and the ze law
But was it standard practice to forbid lease holders to outright buy , crush every working example in the desert for every GM car that didn't make a profit. It seems it was that act that outraged the lease holders and their supporters.
It was Chris Paine that named Oil Companies and Petrol lobbyists in the government?
 

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But was it standard practice to forbid lease holders to outright buy , crush every working example in the desert for every GM car that didn't make a profit. It seems it was that act that outraged the lease holders and their supporters.
Indeed it seems to have outraged the people that didn't understand California and federal laws which, as pb mentions, creates certain obligations.

As GM has suffered some of the more outrageous product liability and warranty claims in the past which has cost it billions (being always depicted as the 'big bad boy' makes it an easy target I guess), it is not surprising if it takes the safer route in the face of belligerent consumers.

Toyota also started scrapping its RAV EVs but saw the huge backlash against GM as a brand and made concessionary agreements with leassees. So some examples still exist, and the NiMH cells still performing so it seems.
 

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Saw some of these videos about the EV1 and I also wondered about the Honda Insight.
On a early Volt promo vid they say that they took what they learned from the EV1 and put it into the Volt/Ampera
 
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