Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Steve's Crap Car Of The Day
GENERAL MOTORS EV1.... 1996-1999
Conspiracy theories abound as to the demise of the world’s first mass-produced electric car. There was even a doccie about it called “Who Killed The Electric Car” I think it even made the movie circuit here.
Why? Because In 2002 General Motors terminated the leasing program and huffily took all their cars back.
And why did they do that? Because, say the conspiracists, General Motors knows who butters its bread. In this instance the holders of the blunt knife were the petroleum giants and, say the Conspiracists R Us, it was they who pressured GM into whipping the cars off the road.
Umm… ja… actually… no.
The real reason was that the car was totally crap.
And GM knew it too. Why else would they only lease the 800 or so cars they made to chosen citizens in California and not have the bollocks to actually sell them?
There were, in fact, several levels to its crapness.
1. It looked like a car wearing a balaclava.
2. It was first released with lead-acid batteries. Which basically gave it the carbon footprint the size of a small town when you consider what it takes to mine the battery’s contents… and then dispose of it when the car was scrapped
3. The second gen. nickel-metal hydride batteries were greener… but they took 8 hours to charge. And they only provided a marginally improved mileage…
4. ... which was the car’s biggest problem. With the gen 1 battery you could probably get 90km out it. Gen 2 would give you 120km. Woohoo.
Basically then you had a car with enough amps in the tank to get you to the shops and back… Plus it kinda looked like its pants were falling down.
The EV1's final Stamp Of Crapness came when GM reclaimed all their EV1s. As if to obliterate all traces of this useless automobile, they crushed most of them save for a couple donated to museums (with their drive-trains disabled).
The whole exercise cost GM $1-billion. One. Billion. Dollars. Seriously.