General Motors 1997-GM-EV1b

Published on August 17th, 2013 | by BajaBusta


1997 General Motors EV-1 Test Drive


Environmental concerns really began to hit home with the motor industry at the end of the 1980s, as the public mood world-wide began to take on board at lest part of the ‘green’ agenda. General Motors was ahead of the shift in the ecological zeitgeist, as it was already working on a radical electrically powered road car that could be considered as a viable proposition for the average motorist.

The Impact electric vehicle was something of a future shock machine: the overwhelming importance of having a slick aerodynamic shell to slide through the air meant the Impact’s styling was both functional and high tech. Making the car very lightweight was probably even more important, because an electric car relies on heavy batteries, so the Impacts body was made from composite materials.
The Impact was built around a pack of 32 batteries, which were mounted longitudinally down the center of the car in what looked like a massive transmission tunnel. A clever box of electronics mounted in the nose converted DC current into AC with minimal power losses, powering two electric motors one mounted on each front wheel.

The Impact had a top speed of 100mph and could sprint to 60mph faster than a VW Golf GTI. It was also well equipped, with a very modern interior featuring digital instruments and air conditioning. What conspired against the viability of the Impact was the cost of the batteries and the need to re-charge the car for six hours overnight.
It took more than six years for the Impact to appear as a production car. Renamed the EV-1, the car’s main retail market was environmentally conscious California, where it was sold through Saturn dealerships. But production was only running into the hundreds of cars – although ti was popular with ostentatious environmentalists, and was regarded as a fine car with a handy turn of speed. Although the EV-1 was ignored by most motorists, Californian legislation ruled that manufacturers had to sell a certain percentage of electric vehicles.

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2 Responses to 1997 General Motors EV-1 Test Drive

  1. Ometheon says:

    If you’ve ever seen “Who killed the electric car?”, it always hurts to see this early, enthusiastic welcome when you know what followed.
    Amazing that with all that foreknowledge from the EV-1, nobody but Tesla and some other non American car companies gets their collective shit together and produce more electric cars. Even though I like my V8s, for the sheer vocational driving (and public transport), this would do very nicely for me.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Extremely sad that a decade later some companies are still building compliance cars!!!! Honda, Fiat, Toyota, etc. Shame on you!!!!!

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