Who Killed The Electric Car?

Who Killed The Electric Car?

Copyright © 2006 Sony Pictures Classics

It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert?


Is there possibly any alternative to the electric cars to solve our problem of pollution?

16 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There's one part of this story that's easy to prove. The success of the EV1 and the Toyota RAV 4 EV were made possible by the NIMH battery. That's the battery technology developed a few years ago that gave these electric cars 150-mile driving ranges. Without this battery, or something just as good, making practical EVs is just about impossible.


    Well, a big oil company made sure that we wouldn't get any more EVs for a while. They bought the patents for NIMH batteries, and have refused to license that technology to any electric cars. The NIMH patent story is told in these links:






    Luckily, however, a new battery technology for electric cars has emerged, the lithium-ion battery. And many new electric cars are in development. We may even start to see some of these cars in the next year or two. A sampling:


    From China: The Happy Messenger - only costs $10000, goes 150 miles per charge:


    Also from China: the BYD car, designed to be affordable, with a 250-mile range:


    The GEO EV, from Korea. It goes 155 miles on a three hour charge:


    Also from Korea. The ENERGINE Electric-Pneumatic hybrid.

    It runs on air and electricity. No gasoline:


    From Japan. The Subaru R1E. Charges to 90% in 5 minutes, costs under $18000:


    Also from Japan. The Mitsubishi Colt EV. It can charge in 20 minutes, and is priced under $20k.


    A chinese EV slated for import to the USA next year. It gets 200 miles/charge, and costs $28,500.


    The Tesla sports car:



    And if you don't want to wait - and if you don't mind not having the very latest technology, there are many small entrepreneurs doing electric car conversions right now, that you can buy for as little as $5000. Details are on this page:




  • -RKO-
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    My guess would be the big OIL companies.

    Back in the early 1950's, my grandfather used to tell of a company based in Fort Wayne, Indiana (USA) called Bowser Pump Co., that manufactured gasoline pumps. Allegedly, its engineering department had developed a car capable of getting more than 100 mpg on regular gasoline, and the company also was working on a car that ran on electricity and/or water!

    Supposedly, the 'big three' auto companies and a few oil companies bought up the patents, acquired all the blueprints, and destroyed everything. There was no way they wanted new competition building more fuel-efficient cars (the big three also did the same thing to drive the Tucker automobile out of business).

    I didn't know GM crushed its entire fleet of EVI cars. What an incredible waste of manpower and resources! -RKO-

  • Rabbit
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The electric car is far from dead. Check out the Tesla car that is coming out next year. Like the GM EV1, it will be pricey, but with a Lotus body and lots of good things (how about 0-60 in 4 seconds, a 130 mph top, and 250 mile range for more normal driving?). There are others. Patience.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They did this to reduce their liability. The project was mainly a test project, and they did not intend to produce any more parts after the project. Granted, they would of kept selling the cars if they went over better, but by producing the vehicle, they got a LOT of technology know-how. To set the facts straight, GM uses a lot of the proprietary technology from that project on their current hybrid cars and city buses. They are using a lot of the tech on their future hybrids (coming out in less then a year) cars, and their hydrogen powered vehicles (being tested as we speak).

    GM killed their EV1 but they are benefiting from the research STILL and will in the future (which will ultimately benefit the earth and the consumer).

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  • 1 decade ago

    Technology killed the electric car for now. The American people driver further to work than most Europeans and use airconditioning in the summer.. So far, there is not a battery that will last for the distance most people travel at the speed they travel. Electric cars, I believe, are the wave of the future, however, there are problems to work out before they will by practical. Maybe, someone will invent a long lasting battery that when the vehicle is parked will be recharged by the sun I believe the vehicle would have to go at least 100 miles and 70 mph

  • 1 decade ago

    there are these countries that has been over the years made a lot of profit through oil, when authmobile was invented, their wealth grew and has continued to grow. They control the world and if They sneeze everyone catches cold, They enjoy this and has no intension let alone plans of letting go. so when the electric car came in, They saw it as a monster; an alien that does not need oil blood in its veins to survive. this monster will takeover their world and They will be cripled in no time. So They took this huge vacuum cleaner and sucked away the electric car monster. the answer to your question is.......THEY!!!

  • 1 decade ago

    Government and dependency on oil for a stable economy but we're paying for it huh? with all this smog and ozone levels skyrocketing ,can't even breathe in the summer time ,and notice the brown nasty haze on the horizon makes you sick, but I did see a sweet electric sports car the other day that can go 0 to 60 in 4 seconds

  • 1 decade ago

    Standard Oil?

    British Petroleum/Amoco?

    Shell Oil Co?


    Ashland Oil?

  • 1 decade ago

    Most likely from pressure from other car companies and the government. Remember, Bush is an oil whore. You'd be surprised what has been done in the name of money. There were cars invented that ran on water, and other "fuels" that were dirt cheap, but were snapped up quickly by the auto industries one by one.

    We can thank them for the problems we are experiencing today.

  • 1 decade ago

    OPEC. Just like they can make cars that fly but the tire producers bought the rights and burned the blue prints and pissed on the ashes.

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