Who killed the electric car?

I haven’t seen this on here and it was on the Daily Show a few weeks ago.



My neighbor had one, he was some VP or something for GM…

cool little fucker…

good idea, poor execution, too ahead of it’s time, too pricey for what you got, yet still a ballsy move that also helped GM establish itself as a pioneer in the green energy movement. That is just now gaining steam, although the only real “alternative fuels” with hope for success is E85 and bio-diesel and even those are still largely based on petroleum products and were still decades away from becoming a large percentage of road-going vehicles using renewable resources.

First off the car was a great idea, however there was alot of drawbacks. First was the price… EV1’s were expensive at about $4-500 a month. plus maintenence & upkeep was expensive. Also all EV1’s were leased with no option to purchase them at the end of the lease. All were taken back to evaulate them and actually see how well the cars held up after being driven for four years.

The biggest problem for sure was the battery & charging systems. The car only had about a 40 mile range which for sure was the biggest drawback. It wasn’t realistic to have the EV1 as your only car. sure it was a nice dream of pollution free driving but it came at quite a cost. Charging stations were few and far between and were mostly in major metropolitan areas only. This also made road trips damn near impossible. not to mention it took hours for a full charge. GM had kind of gambled on the hopes that the idea would take off and stations would become available like gas stations (which was another thing that wouldn’t have worked. considering the fact that there were hardly any electric cars on the road… like 1 model only, and again cost factor.) Another option was home charging systems. Not only did the units cost thousands of dollars but factor in the cost of all the electricity needed to charge the huge-cillo like batteries and suddenly the EV1 was more expensive to own, maintain, and drive than most 4cyl cars.

Cliff’s Note’s:

Combine the high cost of ownership with the limited distance you could actually travel and you’ll quickly realize that the EV1 was just not worth it on a mainstream mass-market level of appeal. It was however a worthwhile experiment nonetheless. It had shown the auto industry that renewable resource vehicles are still decades away from being inseminated into the auto-market on a mass produced level.

It was a success however to middle-aged hippies who cared more about pollution control than they did practicality and cost factor. Oh, and didn’t drive more than 30 miles a day.

Let's play devil's advocate and pretend GM sold 2 million EV1's total and all were in major metropolitan area's, sure pollution would go down quite a bit, and people wouldn't have to buy gas. but as the law states for every action there is a reaction.     
 Electricity usage would skyrocket in area's that already are huge draws of current causing blackout's and power shortages.. so in the end it wouldn't be worth it yet again. 

bottom line. good idea, just too soon. and too expensive, now if they had a range of a couple hundred miles and chargers cost less and used less power i think it would have turned out better.

another funny thing too is that after people finally adapted and started to love there EV1’s GM took them away extracted data and sent em to the crusher killing them.
it’s also worth it to note that outside some of the junkyards they were crushed @ disgruntled owners held candle light vigils and had “funeral ceremonies” for the deaths of their cars. HAH! Ha! take that damn rope smokers.

I went to college at the Cleveland Institute of Art and graduated in 2004 in Industrial Design. We had a relationship with GM design as we were one of there ‘hot spots’ to hire out of. GM, Ford, and Chrysler all participated in semester long automotive design classes where they sent professionals down to instruct us and what not. Not sure, but for whatever reason GM decided to donate an EV1 to our school…they held a little ceremony for it, took a bunch of pics with people shaking hands…then we sent the car across the street to the Crawford Auto Museum where it is on permanent display. Apparently those things were quite fast for their time, the GM dudes said they could hang with Vettes. Was definietly a cool concept and too bad that there were so many negatives to halt it’s success.

I think it was the GM engineer, who when asked what the range of the car would be in a NY climate, in winter, when it had to run headlights and a heater on a cold battery, replied “About 5 miles”.

Pretty good article I remember reading in C&D a while back:


Personally I’d like to see a 100% electric enduro racing series say required 200 mile range, coupled with a hybrid enduro racing series required to get 20 mpg (10 gal max fuel cell).

GM made the saturn dealers service them and they had a company EV1 that they could not show or drive anyone in. They made them buy a charger and all of the service tools.


But yeah, nifty thought but I don’t think it was ever expected to be a sales success. It wasn’t a practical transportation solution in any way. Just a really expensive GM marketing plan.

Who keeps back the electric car?
Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?


We do, we do.

i do want to see that movie though.

they had a story bout that on scientific american with alan alda on PBS a while back

Interviewed one of the guys in cali who still has one.

Neat little car

From what i read, gm only let you lease these things. You could not buy one.

They wanted them back so that they could test them or whatever (mostly crush them).

Its alot of money that gm spent, but really a non useful car.

Who wants to go five miles, then have the fucking thing towed to your house to recharge it (it needed a special charging station that was installed only at your house).

The cost to benefit ratio was way too much, they were expensive for 90’s standards.

If you want to save gas, buy a honda civic or a cavalier, not some expensive hybrid. Sure you can get a zillion miles per gallon, but when your payment is 400 bucks a month are you saving anything?

Most people don’t give a fuck about the earth they care about mpg, so at the pricepoint they are at now, the modern hybrids are not useful.

The electric car would probably work for some people in this country, especially if they had more than one car. I know I could commute to work every day in one because I only go 2.1 miles to my office. But going 4.2 miles per day, 21 miles a week, 1050 miles a year (2 weeks I have vacation and I sure as hell wouldn’t take my electric car then), how much do I really save? It’s costing me a whole $262.50 a year to drive my tank to work @12 mpg. The electricity to recharge my car isn’t free, so lets say maybe maybe I save $200 a year.

But the car is a 2nd car, because it sure won’t tow my boat, or get my home improvement supplies from Lowes, or take me and all my shit on vacation, or even make it twenty miles when it’s cold and dark out. So I still need a “real” car, plus the EV1, and with it saving a big $200 a year as my commuter car it won’t save in a year what I’ll make in car payments for one month.

So chalk “who killed the electric car” right up there with 9/11 conspiracies; bullshit that warps tiny amounts of data while ignoring the vast amounts of other data. Simple economics killed the electric car. No one wanted it, it cost more to make than they were selling it for, and it wasn’t the slightest bit practical in the real world as a replacement for the internal combustion engine.

GM’s response to the movie:


I’ve seen many fanboys on other sites argue that hybrids are the way to go, despite the argument that battery limitations would kill any end-of-life resale. Yes the battery seems to be able to last 8 years, but I’m sure more people will be running a 1998 Civic, rather than a 2004 Prius in 2012.

saw the movie tonight, it was awesome. the cars were not as useless as people think they were. i would drive one. heck, they were quite a but faster than either of the cars i own.

Well Looks like I have to go see this.
(didn’t know it was out)

A friend of mine got the chance to lease one of the ev1’s, and took me for a ride in it, i think it could be very attractive to someone who works close by and has cheap electric, I have town electric and its very cheap. Its amazing how silent the cars are, and how much power they have down low. I wish they would start building these on at least a small scale… theres other companies that build high performance electric cars right now


"Tesla customers will be treated to an incredibly silent, sleek car that is powered by 6,831 rechargeable lithium-ion laptop batteries, and able to go from 0 to 60 mph in about four seconds. It can run for about 250 miles without a charge at a MPG cost of roughly 1 or 2 cents a mile. It is also a steal at $80,000 when compared to such contemporaries as Ferrari’s Enzo. "


ya i saw this when it was on…

the guy looks and sounds like a quack, but i guess it really happened. I think its a consiperacy. The cost for the auto makers to change over all of their plants to mass produce these cars would be extremly expensive.

That was the first thing I thought of.

LOL…that’s great

i would buy one