GM's EV1 logo.
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For as amazing as this vehicle was, (the prototype was ironically called the Impact, later to be produced as the EV1), GM crushed all but 40 of these cars when their leases expired.
It is an amazing story told in the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
(link on upper right sidebar).
A new kind of car for a changing world.
You knew it had to happen. Some day somebody would finally build an electric car for this high-tech, recycling, energy-saving world. A car that's not a converted internal combustion engine vehicle with a trunk full of batteries. An electric car that is both responsive and efficient. Designed to go 0 to 60 mph in less than 9 seconds and to cruise almost effortlessly down the highway.
General Motors has built that car. A comfortable, stylish, affordable electric car with enough range to be practical. A versatile electric car you can charge indoors or out. A car that is changing the industry. And helping the world.
The EV1 is a full-featured car. This car was designed with your three prime concerns in mind: Safety, comfort and style. The EV1 features air bags, traction control and an anti-lock braking system (ABS).
What's amazing about the electric car is what went into it. And what didn't.
The EV1 has no engine because it doesn't need one. No tailpipe because it has no exhaust. It has no valves. No pistons. No timing belts. No crankshaft.
What does the EV1 have? Some remarkable electronics and a revolutionary new propulsion system. The most aerodynamic body shape of any production car, ever. One of the lightest, stiffest structures for a car its size. Super-low-rolling resistance 50 psi Michelin tires with wheels that weigh only 8.5 pounds. In addition to these innovations, the electric car also has an intelligent braking system that can regenerate energy and send it back to the batteries, a heat pump like the one used in some homes, and seven sophisticated on-board computers that control everything from the interior temperature to charging the battery pack.
Charging toward the future.
Forget the gas station. Drivers of the EV1 have a 220-volt MagneCharge" inductive charging system installed in their homes. Charging the EV1 is as simple as inserting the charge paddle in the charge port at the front of the car before turning in for the night. While you are sleeping, the master computer in the car informs the charger how much energy is needed. When charging is complete, the charger display shows that the car is fully charged.
In addition to the home charger, GM has formed partnerships with companies like the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Arizona Public Service, and Tucson Electric Power Company to build an electric car charging infrastructure. So far, more than 1,100 chargers have been installed and are in use by EV1 customers in California and Arizona. Nearly 500 public charging stations are located at shopping malls, restaurants, beaches, airports, Saturn retail facilities, and key workplaces. For the near future, most of them are free.
In a continued effort to provide EV drivers with the best possible service and personal attention, GM and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) have announced SMUD's expanded role as the authorized sales and service representative for California and Arizona of the MagneCharge" inductive EV charger. With an eight-year record of accomplishment establishing EV charging infrastructure, SMUD's qualifications and experience are unparalleled. SMUD's success installing and servicing an extensive public charging network in the Sacramento area and throughout northern California has prepared it to meet the growing needs of GM and our EV customers. SMUD assumes full responsibility for all GM charger sales, installations and customer service in the states of California and Aarizona. In addition, SMUD will also perform product warranty service.
Should you ever need an extra charge on the road in the lead-acid EV1, there is a portable charger in the trunk, which plugs into an ordinary 110-volt outlet.
The EV1 also offers most of the standards you've come to expect: Power windows, power door locks and power dual outside mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, remote trunk and hood releases, and a premium AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD player. This vehicle also offers programmable climate control , an electric windshield defogger/deicer, as well as a rear window defogger, and center-mounted instrumentation.
The EV1 does not require a conventional key to unlock the door. A five-digit personal identification code is entered on the exterior keypad to allow access. No key is needed to start the car, either. The same five-digit code is entered on the keypad on the center console to activate the car.
The EV1 has a sporty look all its own, and was produced in three colors, Bright Red, Light Adriatic Blue Metallic and Medium Green Pearl.
Saturn and General Motors.
On the day that General Motors unveiled the EV1, GM announced that Saturn had been selected to launch the EV1. Saturn's unique brand marketing and focus on customer satisfaction are among the core reasons why Saturn was selected to help successfully launch the EV1. With Saturn's focus on creating customer enthusiasm, and the excellent service reputation, Saturn was a logical choice to market the GM EV1.
Select Saturn retailers in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento, Phoenix, and Tucson were utilized to lease and service the EV1.
Saturn employs a group of EV specialists who work with the customer throughout the entire EV1 lease process. From explaining how to charge, to getting the charger installed, to arranging the lease, to capturing tax credits for the customer, the EV specialist is the link between the customer, the EV1, the charger distributor, Saturn and General Motors.
General Motors EV1 - GEN II.
The second generation GM EV1 is a purpose-built electric vehicle with software upgrades, refined ride and handling, improvements in fit and finish, and new plush upholstery, with two battery technologies: An advanced, high-capacity lead acid, and an optional Nickel Metal Hydride.
The Gen II is powered by a 137 horsepower, 3-phase AC induction motor and uses a single speed dual reduction gear set with a ratio of 10.946:1. The Gen II propulsion system has an improved drive unit, battery pack, power electronics, 6.6 kW charger, and heating and thermal control module.
26 valve-regulated high-capacity lead-acid (PbA) batteries are the new standard for the EV1 battery pack. These advanced batteries are an improvement over the pack available with the first generation EV1 and offer greater range and longer life. And an optional nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack. This technology nearly doubles the range over the first generation battery and offers improved battery life as well.
The EV1 with the high-capacity lead-acid pack has an estimated real world driving range of 55 to 95 miles, depending on terrain, driving habits and temperature. The range with the NiMH pack is even greater. Again, depending on terrain, driving habits, temperature and humidity, estimated real world driving range will vary from 75 to 130 miles.
The EV1 can be charged safely in all weather conditions with inductive charging. Using a 220-volt charger, charging from 0 to 100% for the new lead-acid pack takes up to 5.5 to 6 hours. Charging for the nickel-metal hydride pack, which stores more energy, is 6 to 8 hours.
Blended Re-generative Braking.
Braking is accomplished by using a blended combination of front hydraulic disk, and rear electrically-applied drum brakes and the electric propulsion motor. During braking, the electric motor generates electricity (re-generative) which is then used to partially recharge the battery pack.
The structure weighs 290 pounds and is less than 10% of the total vehicle weight. The 162 pieces are bonded together into a unit using aerospace adhesive, spot welds and rivets.
Composite Body Panels.
The exterior body panels are dent and corrosion resistant. They are made out of composites and are created using two forming processes known as Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) and Reinforced Reaction Injection Molding (RRIM).
The EV1 is the most aerodynamic production vehicle on the road today. It has a 0.19 drag coefficient. It's shaped like a tear drop when viewed from above. In fact, the rear wheels are 9 inches closer together than the front wheels, which allows the tear drop shape. The EV1 is the world's most energy-efficient vehicle platform.
The EV1 has an electronically-regulated top speed of 80 miles per hour. It comes with traction control, cruise control, anti-lock brakes, airbags*, power windows, power door locks and power outside mirrors, AM/FM CD/cassette, tire inflation monitor system and numerous other features.
(source: General Motors Corporation).
GM built 1,117 of the cars between 1996 and 1999, including 660 "Generation I" EV1 cars in the 1997 model year (1996-1997) and 457 "Generation II" EV1 cars in the 1999 model year (1998-1999). The Smithsonian's EV1 is a first-generation 1997, with serial number 660, the last "Generation I" car produced.
Only 40 EV1s were preserved, according to Jill Banaszynski, manager of the EV1 donation program, to be given to museums and institutions or kept for research by GM. Of these, the only fully intact EV1, complete with its (now inert) lead acid battery, is today part of the NMAH collection. "Our requirement is that all the vehicles in the museum have to be complete models," says Withuhn. "We may remove parts, but we have to know that if we wanted to drive a car, or a steam engine, we could not that we would. It's a question of authenticity."
This stipulation initially posed a problem for GM, which had decided to take the cars off the road because only a relative handful of technicians knew how to work safely on the powerful batteries. But a series of negotiations proved fruitful, and the museum, in March of 2005, received its own complete example of an exemplary machine.
(source: America On The Move, From the Smithsonian Collection)
The San Francisco agency Hal Riney & Partners was selected by General Motors to create all advertising for the launch of its EV1 electric car.
In 1997 Hal Riney & Partners won the Kelly Award for Grand Prize Winner, Best Design & Graphics and Best at Meeting Campaign Objectives.
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