Tuesday, December 11, 2007

EV1 Stirs Emotions Decade Later

An emotional Alexandra Paul, actress who appeared in Who Killed the Electric Car?, is interviewed by Matt Kelley of Next Gear in front of an EV1 that made an appearance at RenewableLa put on by by Energy Efficiency Solar.

I gather GM really did destroy the molds and sever relationships with suppliers, but it is so clear that if they simply re-released the EV1 today it would still be a show stopper. Who thinks that GM couldn't sell 5-10,000 EV1s for between $50,000 and $75,000? And wouldn't those cars, even if they took a loss on each one, bring more positive results for GM than the millions of dollars of "Gas-Friendly to Gas-Free" adverts endlessly appearing in the American media these days?


Hewman1 said...

I am also very excited to see a resurrected EV1. Living in Florida, I'd only seen Disney's EV1 once as part of our cross-state AFV Rally in 1998.

I rented an EV1 for several days when visiting Los Angeles in early 2000, and fell in love with the car. The EV Rentals attendant almost had to pry me out of "my" red EV1 at the Budget returns center.

I've been publicly advocating for EVs and demanding the opportunity to buy an EV1 or its equivalent ever since.

The reminder of my lost electric "Cherry Bomb" almost brings tears to my eyes. Thanks to all to worked to revive an exemplar of the most efficient production vehicle in automotive history.

Yanquetino said...

This post nearly brought me to tears! I have been advocating resurrecting the EV1 for a long time and am encouraged to hear others reiterating the suggestion.

With the newly burgeoning interest in electric cars, the time seems very right to give General Motors a chance to redeem itself. I am willing to bet that its executives are feeling deeply embarrassed and even ashamed of themselves, now that the public in general knows --thanks to Who Killed the Electric Car?-- that they confiscated and destroyed all the EV1s.

I would love to see organizations like Plug-In America, CalCars, Plug-In Partners, the Electric Auto Association, etc., jointly sponser a nation-wide petition to ask GM to re-open the EV plant. After all, they have already researched, designed, and even manufactured the car. They have the technology in their files, and could easily duplicate the molds. It is a tried-and-true automobile. Its futuristic styling is still as appealing as ever. I, for one, absolutely love its functional look more than any other vehicle currently on the market.

In all probability they could "dust off" the assembly line and produce new models in a matter of months --rather than waiting years for the Volt's prototypes to be tested and pass muster. Let the Volt be their up-and-coming alternative choice for those who really need longer ranges, but let's encourage them not to withhold their already proven car in the interim! The other 90% of the population needs it now!

They could call the new model the EV2. (Wasn't that their intent to begin with upon naming the original the EV1?) To justify the new number, they could install lithium-ion batteries in the EV2 (instead of the original lead-acid or the second-generation NiMH that Chevron now controls), perhaps the same ones that A123 recently delivered to their labs as a possibility for the Volt. Given those recent improvements in battery technology, and the design’s superior aerodynamics, the EV2 would very likely have a range significantly greater than the 245 miles touted for the Tesla roadster. After all, both cars even use the same type of induction motor!

They could also make a few other, very minor changes (LEDs instead incandescent bulbs, navigation systems, on-board charging units with standard plugs, etc.). Heck... they could even paint the new model with truly attactive, subtle colors: light blue, mint green, ocean mist, etc. Such "retro" automobiles have great appeal to the consumer, as evidenced by the revamped VW Beetle and BMW Mini Cooper.

Such a "good faith" response from GM would do a lot to repair their image in the public eye, and show that they really do listen to customers, are genuinely concerned about the environment, and want to lead the charge away from dependency on foreign oil.

I can safely predict that we could gather not merely thousands of signatures, but tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands or even millions --thanks to the exposure from Who Killed the Electric Car?. Many of those who sign the petition would even be willing to commit up front to buy an EV2, with money down to restart the assembly line. I would certainly be one of them!

Is it worth the effort? Those of you who are on the forefront of the battle would know better than I, but perhaps General Motors is now sincerely sorry for betraying the EV1 and would jump at the chance to rectify its mistake with an EV2. After all, that Chevron maintains its tight-fisted control over NiMH patents is now a moot point. So is the question of profitability, as clearly evidenced by the public snatching up every Prius that Toyota can manufacture. In point of fact, used RAV4-EVs are now selling for practically double their original price! The demand is out there, no matter what the automakers were asserting to CARB to get out from under the original ZEV mandate.

Who knows? Maybe Chris Paine would even be willing to film a sequel: Who Resurrected the Electric Car? Just think what it could do for GM's reputation among consumers. AND the company's profits. AND... the future of our world.

Luxury Cars said...

Great post. I am an EV1 lover too.