Wednesday, March 2, 2011


From EV1

I have been watching the saga of the Chevrolet Volt unfold.

For some readers that don’t know what this is. It is a new car from Chevrolet, that is sort of a reverse hybrid vehicle. It is an all electric car (electric drive-train) that has an on-board gas motor to power the batteries if they get low.

So far, the Volt hasn’t been selling too well. At $40,000 a pop, I am not surprised. A tad bit pricey for a car that does not have killer performance and does not get really great gas mileage. When introduced late last year, they had only sold about 400 of them nationwide by the end of the sales year. I don’t think those sales figures are going to boost GM’s bottom line too much.

The Volt was supposed to be ‘radical’ in its design which is one of the reasons that it took so long to get into production. By all accounts it is supposed to be a ‘thinking’ car that is a technological marvel. There is just one problem with this whole concept.

GM has already done this before.

Back in 1995 I got to drive one of these:
From EV1

It was the General Motors EV-1 (also known as the Impact). It was an all electric coupe that GM leased to the public for a whooping $700 a month, (which was the cost to lease a new Cadallac or Mercedes at the time). Again, their pricing strategy didn’t seem to be too in-line with reality.

This little car was a ‘rocket’. I mean it was fast. It made NO noise and recharged overnight in my garage. It had full regenerative braking and an on-board computer that told you what your range was based on your driving habits.

To be understated, this car was Super-Cool.

To be depressing, they are all gone. GM scraped every last one of them. They even tore down the production facility that made them.....and this was 15 years before the Chevy Volt.

I won’t go into all the reasons why GM made this colossal blunder. If you want to know the whole sordid story, check out the documentary “Who Killed The Electric Car”. It lays it all out in painful detail.

So all I have left is the sales brochure for the EV-1, which I have preserved as a reminder of how American Industry can do things right, and how they can do things terribly wrong.

I won’t be saving my pennies to buy a Chevy Volt anytime soon. I took my money and bought a Segway instead. You had your chance GM, and you blew it.

If you want to see what all of us 'could' be driving today, here are the links to the sales borchure for the electric car that no longer exists: