General Motors EV-1

Model Specifications

  • Class: Electric subcompact
  • Body style: 2-seat, 2-door coupe
  • Electric motor: three phase alternating current induction motor with IGBT power inverter
  • Transmission: single-speed reduction integrated with motor and differential
  • Plug in charging: 6.6kW Magne Charge inductive converter
  • Wheelbase: 98.9 inches
  • Weight: 3,086 lbs. (2,908 lbs. without battery)

Production Facts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1

  • General Motors
  • Production Years:       1996–1999 (1,117 units)
  • 1997 model year: 660 Generation I units
  • 1999 model year: 457 Generation  II units
  • Assembly Plant:  GM Lansing Craft Centre, Lansing, Michigan, U.S.


The General Motors EV1 was an electric car 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, and the first GM car designed to be an electric vehicle from the outset.

The EV1 was made available through limited lease-only agreements to residents of Los Angeles, California, and Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Within a year of the EV1’s release, leasing programs were also launched in San Francisco and Sacramento, California, along with a limited program in Georgia.

The EV1 program was discontinued in 2002, and all cars on the road were recalled. The majority of the EV1s were crushed, and the rest delivered to museums and educational institutes with their electric power trains deactivated. The demise of the EV1 is the subject of a 2006 documentary film entitled Who Killed the Electric Car?

On loan from Virginia Tech

The relatively brief history of the automobile echoes with romantic stories of lost causes, undeserved failures, great ideas unheeded, righteous hopes dashed, prophets before their time and heroes overwhelmed. Innovative also-rans litter the landscape of the chrome-bright past, felled by forces too formidable or a market too fickle. The 1948 Tucker, a surprisingly advanced car, is one spinout on the boulevard of broken axles. The Cord was a much-admired failure, as were the Kaiser, with its pop-out safety windshield, the beautiful Raymond Loewy-designed Studebaker Starliner and the sporty 1950s Nash- Healy. Though all these worthies signaled new directions and influenced the future, they failed. SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE – JUNE 2006 By Owen Edwards


The General Motors EV1 was an electric car produced and leased by General Motors from 1996 to 1999.It was the first mass-produced and purpose-designed electric vehicle of the modern era from a major automaker, the first GM car designed to be an electric vehicle from the outset along with being the first and only passenger car to be marketed under the corporate General Motors (GM) name instead of being branded under one of its divisions.

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 (CARB) subsequently passed a mandate that made the production and sale of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) a requirement for the seven major automakers selling cars in the United States to continue to market their vehicles in California.

The EV1 was made available through limited lease-only agreements, initially to residents of the cities of Los Angeles, California, and Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. 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, California, along with a limited program in the state of Georgia.

While customer reaction to the EV1 was positive, GM believed that electric cars occupied an unprofitable niche of the automobile market, and ended up crushing most of the 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, and about 40 were delivered to museums and educational institutes with their electric powertrains deactivated, under the agreement that the cars were not to be reactivated and driven on the road. About 20 units were donated to overseas institutions. In 2016, the TV show Jay Leno’s Garage presented an intact EV1 as part of the collection of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. The only intact EV1 was donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

The EV1’s discontinuation remains controversial, with electric car enthusiasts, environmental interest groups and former EV1 lessees accusing GM of self-sabotaging 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.[2] As a result of the forced repossession and destruction of the majority of EV1s, an intact and working EV1 is one of the rarest cars from the 1990s.

For more information on the EV-1, its origin, generations, cancellations, and more… please click this here:


Who Killed the Electric Car? 
The demise of the EV1 is the subject of a 2006 documentary film entitled Who Killed the Electric Car?. 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 and dispose of every EV1 manufactured. One theory on why GM destroyed the cars discussed is that the EV1 program was eliminated because it threatened the oil industry. GM responded to the film’s claims, laying out several reasons why the EV1 was not commercially viable at the time and that the company had issues finding parts for the car.
See Movie @ AMAZON

Revenge of the Electric Car
Revenge of the Electric Car is a 2011 American feature documentary film by Chris Paine, who also directed Who Killed the Electric Car?. Revenge follows four entrepreneurs from 2007 through the end of 2010 as they fight to bring the electric car back to the world market in the midst of the 2008 global recession. The film has unprecedented access to co-Founder Elon Musk in the first three years of Tesla Motors during which Musk suffered several grave setbacks to his dream of a car company without gasoline.
See movie @ YouTube