The EV1 from General Motors

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This is an electric car that was produced and leased by General Motors between 1996 and 1999. This design was the first mass-produced and designed electric vehicle of the modern era. This was also the first car from the automaker that was purposely designed from the beginning.

The EV1 was built after there was favorable reception of the concept electric car of the company, the Impact. This decision was further buttressed by the recommendation of the California Air Resources Board that commercial automakers create zero-emission vehicles. This car was only made available through lease only agreements to residents of California and other states.

The first EV1 cars were termed the first generation and were powered using lead acid batteries. This has a range between seventy and one hundred miles and a total of six hundred and sixty cars were built. The second generation was made available in 1999 with major changes resulting in great weight reduction and the introduction of the nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery. The battery pack was a 60 amp-hour or an 18.7 kilowatt hour battery pack resulting in greater range for its 26.4 kWh with 343 volt output for its matter. With the new battery platform, the EV1 can travel between 100 and 140 miles in distance range.

The automaker then issued a recall of 450 of its first generation EV1 vehicles on March 2, 2000 because of a faulty charge port cable that may result in heat build up to result in fire. According to the company, there were sixteen thermal incidents resulting in one fire that resulted from the defect. This one fire affected only first generation EV1s and did not affect the second generation EV1s.

The EV1 was a vehicle platform that was not a conversion. It was among the first vehicles that utilized aluminum for its frame and the body panels were built from plastic, resulting in a dent resistant and lightweight vehicle. The car had anti-lock brakes and a traction control system, keyless entry and ignition system. Other technological advances include thermal glass, automated tire pressure loss warning system, electric power steering and time programmable HVAC system.

By 2003, the company had cancelled the EV1 program saying that the carmaker could not sell enough vehicles to be able to make a profit on the vehicle. It was further stated that the service infrastructure needed to comply with the fifteen year minimum requirement would be too expensive. Since these vehicles were leases, the cars would need to be returned to the company for disposal. Eventually, there were major issues that were presumed that lead to the demise of this good vehicle platform.