Which makes it as good a time as ever to remind ourselves that the idea of an electric car is far from novel; in fact, it's been a persistent, tantalizing puzzle for automotive engineers hoping to eliminate gasoline from the equation for over a century. And there's no better place to track the history of the electric car than in the complete archives.
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The story of the electric car and its relationship with the car-buying public is a fickle one. Whether for a hybrid or a pure electric, it remains a tough sell to get the majority of our drivers to give up their gas-guzzlers. This is especially evident in the sad and complicated story of the General Motors EV1--the first electric from a major manufacturer aimed squarely at consumers. The sad story of the EV1 has been well documented in the film "Who Killed the Electric Car", and as you'll see, we followed it from the very start, when it was just a concept.
Check out the gallery for a full look at a century of electric cars in the pages of Popular Science.
I still love that the development name for GM's EV1 was "Impact." That's the equivalent of calling an aircraft "Fireball."
I wonder what type of battery tech we'd have by now if the electric car was the winner of the 20th Century. The demand would've fueled more innovation.
I've been living here in Europe for some years now, and all I can say is the following...
The japanese are going to build electric cars that are both efficient and relativily cheap at that. But nothing too interesting.
The Europeans will go for a nice design, ridicilous power and torque.
And americans. Well. Big. And. Lazy. Is my guess. What gives? Essentially, the american car industry should take a hint from the fact that only americans drive american cars.
I.e. the europeans will most probably produce something that most people actually like to drive.
Actually Quintas, Buicks sell pretty well in China from what I've read.
"I wonder what type of battery tech we'd have by now if the electric car was the winner of the 20th Century. The demand would've fueled more innovation."
Yes really sad what happened back then.
Electric's time is almost here, and once plugged in THIS time, it's plug won't EVER be pulled again. Welcome to the Future everyone !!! :)
Agreed Electrix, Electric vehicle's have been stymied by big oil for too long. A new era is closing in.
During WW11 my grandfather made his own electric car he drove around pensacola to and from work. He connected a bunch of 12 volt batteries together an electric motor to turn his front axle. If I remember correctly , I believe he said he used about 2 dozen used car batteries and recharged them overnight. My mom was around 12 and said it was a goofy looking contraption but I guess when gas is rationed you do what you have to do . I know it's crude an inefficient as we see things together but it worked and would get him going around 45 M.P.H. American ingenuity is what makes this country great.
kregly > Around 1971, my grandfather took a VW Karman Ghia & converted it to electric power. Not sure how the setup was, but he could get 50 miles or so to a charge. Mainly used it for driving around town running errands & such. He did drive it in the Rice Festival Parade, though...more of a curiosity back then, in the small town we lived in. He had a second Karman Ghia that he was planning to put a steam engine in, but it never panned out. He was a cool old dude.