By on August 1, 2008

Come on baby and rescue me, \'Coz I need you, by my side. Can\'t you see that I\'m lonely? Rescue meDetroit's engineering mules are often spared from the crusher, reborn to teach engineering students in leading universities across the country. During my (short) stint with Mechanical Engineering, pre-production iterations of GM's famous small block V8s were at my disposal. Whatever. That wasn't shit compared to what's tucked away in a lonely basement of the famous Kettering University in Flint, MI: a GM EV1. It was there as of last May, and it was blockaded by a bunch of crap, so it's not leaving any time soon. It looks like the Posner-approved machine's supposed death has been somewhat exaggerated. And good ideas never die. They just gather dust.

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22 Comments on “The EV1 Lives! (Well, at least one of them)...”


  • avatar
    Scottie

    I had a short stay at KU, i never knew that was there or else i would have revived it.

  • avatar
    rodster205

    I actually hated the whole idea of the EV1, but I’m calling B.S. on the excuses that it can’t be made to meet current safety standards. If a 1996 Saturn (probably designed from 93-95) can meet 2002’s safety standards with a few tweaks then the EV1 probably can also. And how much have the standards changed since 2002?

  • avatar
    Scottie

    1st gen saturns were designed in the 80’s, not sure on the actual updates they made over the years. But i’m sure it would be quite extensive to bring up to date. But they were pretty safe cars to start with.

  • avatar
    RayH

    I wonder what that would fetch on ebay? I’d honestly pay $50 to sit in it and look at it.

  • avatar
    ultramatic

    They would have to add inflatable curtains (or at the very least head-thorax side airbags) for head protection in the finally-revised side impact tests. It can be done, but you know…a million here, and million there…

    The point is, GM engineering can get well ahead of the curve when they want to, but GM management lacks the focus to follow through. The Insight could have become the first successful hybrid, but GM seems intent on ensuring nobody realizes it.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I don’t think safety was the issue for the EV1, GM didn’t want to keep supporting the vehicles and didn’t want to warranty them after their leases.

    The Insight was a Honda product.

  • avatar
    sean362880

    There’s another one at Cornell on the 2nd floor of the parking garage at the football stadium (which is also across the street from the mechanical engineering building).

    I know, I know, stop sniggering at the idea of Cornell football.

    Last I heard it was sans drivetrain, long since ‘borrowed’ for some project or another.

  • avatar
    ultramatic

    EV1, Insight…heckuvan impression to make on my first post.

    Safety wasn’t an issue then, but it is now, if we’re talking about dusting off the old design and making it meet current safety standards.

    Now I have to wonder how many of these are tucked away in the bowels of research universities being pieced out for various projects. Since GM has winnowed down their R&D over the last few decades, putting the EV1 in the hands of academia seems like a better fate than the crusher. And there are no support/warranty issues.

  • avatar
    ed2222

    From what I read on the EV1 wiki, the EV1s were given to colleges without their drivetrain, and with an agreement that they would not be put on the road again. There is a video on youtube of one college that put a drivetrain and drive on the street.
    As opposed to the EV1, there was an s10 pickup GM made with the EV1 drivetrain. Some of these were sold outright, fully owned by private individuals(or companies) and are still on the road. Here is the link to the wiki on that:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevy_S-10_EV

  • avatar
    mr2ttd

    I went to Kettering and remember pushing this thing around in the parking lot a few years back. GM gave us a shiny new toy without batteries!!

  • avatar

    I remember having seen an EV1 at the Petersen Museum in LA in ’06.

    So here it is:

    Might be worth going through the slides …

  • avatar
    Philip Lane

    While most EV1s were sent to the crusher a few years back, there remain probably a dozen in the hands of universities. I attend a small private midwestern university, and our engineering department has one. It came with oodles of spare parts (many prototypes), a passenger seat full of manuals, a trunk full of brochures, and NO BATTERIES. We weren’t supposed to make it operable again, but except for the batteries, the parts were there. Even just sitting there, it was a marvel to look at. The engineering that went into it cost billions, and now there’s a dozen left. It was sad to think about, but the car is really cool.

  • avatar
    powerglide

    The EV1 started from the premise that the batteries that would fit on board, fully charged, contained the same usable energy as one gallon of gas.

    So it had to make the most of this juice.

    Seems like this same ultra-efficient engineering package could have been largely reused as a hybrid gasoline car or even a non-hybrid (Geo Metro Xfi 1.0L/5-speed running gear, but with slicker aero)

    Honda’s Insight ran a 1.0 liter engine. I’d take one straight, without the batteries.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    I live in Warren, and I drive by and around the GM tech center on a nearly daily basis. I have seen 4 different EV-1s on the road in the past 2 years, leading me to believe that GM owns a few working examples.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    I’d geuss any EV1s you see running around the Tech Center have Volt guts in them, or atleast the battery. The batteries are almost identically shaped, but the volts is smaller.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    People: Calm down. EV1 was a glorified golf cart. You can buy one* if you want to, and it might be just the thing for you, but it won’t do all the things your Hummer will do, like work in cold weather, carry 3 people, or refuel in 10 minutes; or your Honda Fit, for that matter.

    * Golf cart that is. [$$$Link]You Know Gas Prices Are High When Texans Start Driving Golf Carts: Low-Speed Electric Vehicles Catch On; Peters Family Jaunts in the Land of Giants” by Ana Campoy in the Wall Street Journal on July 31, 2008 at Page A1[$$$Link]

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    EV-1, EV-1, EV-1.

    I’m getting tired of hearing about it, but seeing no new work from ANYBODY.

    It was a GM product. How hard could it be?

    It was a LONG TIME AGO. Equipment and parts are much cheaper now. This should be nothing more than a slightly more complex go-cart project!

    Really; how difficult could it be for somebody to make a new EV in this day and age? Come on, we’ve got geeks making rockets and airplanes in their backyards, why not an electric vehicle?

    Somebody get to work on this. I’d do it myself, but I hate working on cars…

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Dinu :
    August 1st, 2008 at 11:19 am

    I remember having seen an EV1 at the Petersen Museum in LA in ‘06.

    I went just a few weeks ago–it’s still there.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Really; how difficult could it be for somebody to make a new EV in this day and age? Come on, we’ve got geeks making rockets and airplanes in their backyards, why not an electric vehicle?

    Hopping right on that as soon as I get a backyard and a garage.

    Something I been wondering the last few weeks is why none of the small aircraft manf. like Gulfstream haven’t thought to jump into this game. Sure they would have a little learning curve for crash worthiness but not much condiering what they have to do for airframe design. They could probably build a better, lighter, stronger and more durable package to toss the motors and batteries in that they source form someone else. And a dumbed down avionics package would marry well in an all electric car, with the redundancies. Maybe I will see if they want to develop my garage project whenever I get to it.

  • avatar
    pmd1966

    There was a warehouse in Pontiac MI that had a few of the EV-1 cars. They may still be there.

  • avatar
    Needforspeed007

    After reading this, and what others have said. I guess the EV1 never really died, but just moved on and onto new ways to exist.

  • avatar

    Needforspeed007 : After reading this, and what others have said. I guess the EV1 never really died, but just moved on and onto new ways to exist.

    Which is probably the way it should be. Not that I wouldn’t want to snag one from a research institution, rebuild it with a fresh powertrain/battery pack and sell it on the free market for an insane amount.

    After the documentary, I expect a working EV1 is worth $100,000 or more. Barret Jackson would kill to get a piece of this action.

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