Volt Birth Watch 60: The EV1 is Dead. Get Over It.

volt birth watch 60 the ev1 is dead get over it

The LA Times reports that nobody tells Bob Lutz how to sell electric cars. In response to a NY Times article on GM's woes, an unnamed EV activist wrote a letter to the editor suggesting GM bring back the EV1 using Panasonic lead-acid batteries. This might have flown under the radar, except that the plucky rabble-rouser copied Maximum Bob on the email. Besides proving that he knows how to use email, Bob's reply proved that his world famous piss-and-vinegar approach hasn't been blunted by GM's recent bad news. "The EV will not meet any current safety laws," writes Lutz. "Putting a version into production that meets regulations would put us out to '11 or '12. They cost us well over $80,000 to produce, and, being a two-seater, we could only sell 800 in four years. We lost over one billion dollars on that experiment." And to the assertion that the Volt "depends on Lithium batteries which don't yet exist," Maximum Bob says "I don't know why you insist that lithium-ion doesn't exist… trust me, the battery will not delay the car." Though the last point might have a little more nuance to it than Bob lets on, it's good to see him put dreams of an EV1 comeback tour to bed.

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  • Ronin317 Ronin317 on Jul 01, 2008

    Great points by Stein and Red...in fact good points all around! GM made their own bed on this one, no doubt. Sitting in traffic yesterday for 45 minutes on 376 East in Pittsburgh (in the rain...you think Pittsburghers would know how to drive in the rain at this point - but no, they just STOP), it gave me pause to sit and think just how much gas was being wasted by myself and everyone else sitting and waiting for morons who can't seem to keep their foot on the gas through a tunnel to get out of said tunnel. I just can't imagine why, for the life of me, we aren't seeing many many more efforts to even use a very small hybrid drive that keeps the vehicle powered while idle or sitting in traffic. How is the development for things like this not further along? It can't really cost that friggin much to put into a vehicle. Sitting in that traffic, I watched the MPG calculation on my TSX go down 1.6 mpg overall. I was happily at almost 27mpg, and now I'm bordering on 25. But traffic creeps so damn slow, that you can't just shut off and sit. It's amazingly frustrating what the GMs and OPEC have done to vehicle development and innovation in the past 3 decades. I wasn't born during the gas crisis in the 70's, and I can't imagine how that didn't completely change the landscape of vehicles forever, not just temporarily.

  • Alex Rodriguez Alex Rodriguez on Jul 01, 2008

    GM is leveraging the EV1. Didn't TTAC just post a lengthy article where some engineer from the EV1 project was called to work the Volt, Andrew or some such? And that there were several others involved in the Volt as well? I agree a two seater is not the way to go. Also, I don't think you could get the weight down with the old batteries in a 4 seater with today's crash test requirements.

  • Stein X Leikanger Stein X Leikanger on Jul 01, 2008

    The old lead-acid batteries were a problem, but problems are there to be solved. Toyota offered one solution, GM was well on its way to another. GM is leveraging its EV1 experience, but now doing it from a position of weakness, rather than one of perceived strength, which the company was enjoying back in 2000-2001. Sometimes, automakers' efforts to create loopholes comes back and bites them, and that's precisely what happened with GM and its EV effort (and Ford with THINK). Could'a been a contender. (BTW - I meant drag coefficient above, but you guys knew that.)

  • IDANECK IDANECK on Jul 01, 2008

    EV1 was a cool car, I got to drive one (down a street and back) in 10th grade. My friend's dad worked for GM in So Cal and brought home new models. Brought a C5 and EV1 home on the same weekend, EV1 was pretty interesting and accelerated rather nicely. I think the one thing I just couldn't get over was that it looked like a Saturn coupe, and the cool HVAC controls. Now that I think about it, EVs could have given Saturn quite an image boost back then and if they (GM) would have continued with EVs or even hybrids for Saturn, it would have given a good run at Toyota.