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

Relevance
  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, to correct some of the information posted here, the second generation EV1, with NIMH batteries, had a driving range of over 100 miles (in fact, 200 miles on the test track.)

    *

    Secondly, electric vehicles are not dead - they have just gone back to where they have always been - underground. But this is an exciting time for electric cars. Take a look at what's just coming on the market:

    *

    http://zapworld.com/ZAPWorld.aspx?id=4560

    http://phoenixmotorcars.com/models/fleet.html

    *

    The ZAP-X has a 350-mile range, a top speed of 155 mph, puts out 644 horsepower, charges in 10 minutes, and has a battery pack that should last the life of the car (better than 250,000 miles.) The Phoenix uses the same Altairnano Nanosafe li-ion batteries, and is a real car - being built right now for fleet use. Prices for hand-built cars are $60,000 for the ZAP-X, $45,000 for the Phoenix. These prices could fall a lot when mass-production becomes feasible.

    *

    But you don't even have to spend lots of money if you want to try out an electric car. Freeway-capable EV conversions (normal cars converted to electric) can be found for as little as $5000. Link:

    *

    http://squidoo.com/cheap-electric-car

    *

    This is the kind of electric car I drive. Electricity to drive it only costs me about a penny per mile! More info in that above link.

    Source(s): -- A collection of well-to-wheel environmental studies showing electric cars pollute much less over their lifetimes: http://sherryboschert.com/Downloads/Emissions%5B9%... -- Document from Dept of Environmental Quality showing that Li-Ion batteries are not considered hazardous waste: http://www.deq.state.or.us/wmc/pubs/factsheets/hw/...
    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    In late 2003, GM officially cancelled the EV1 program[1][2] Despite unfulfilled waiting lists and positive feedback from the lessees, GM stated that it could not sell enough of the cars to make the EV1 profitable. In fact, during the latter stages of development for the car, GM officials claimed that they stood no chance of ever making a profit on the EV1 itself.

    - Wikipedia

    Information subject to change without notice. Vehicle shown is a Chevrolet Concept vehicle. Not available for sale.

    Source: Vol. 3, Issue 4, Oct., 2003 Omnistats – U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

    -Chevy website

    (Notice the date)

    So what I gather is that chevy wouldn't make as much profit as they do with gas driven cars. They can't say the car wouldn't sell well, because they never put the car up for sale!!! Their website also states how much better it is than a gas car. So, just like many people, cultures and ideas, the car was killed by the love of money.

    And it doesn't die after 40 miles, it switches to a hybird running on 50 mpg look at the GM site if you don't believe me. Indeed it is dirty, but the idea is to slowly shift toward solar power plants and wind mills considering that crude oil will run out in approximately 20 years.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Think about it, how far do you drive each day? If you need to go further than 40 miles you can rent a car that day.

    Does your family have 2 or more cars?

    Do you you use the second car to just go to the supermarket or run errands or pick up the kids form school?

    You could use an electric car for this.

    Also for a small electric car, electricity would cost about a half or a third the price per mile as petrol.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    The EV1 could only drive for about 40 miles, then if the battery went dead you were hitching a ride back home and getting your car towed. Then after so long your batteries would need replaced costiong you thousands to replace them. GM learned a lot off of battery technology from that car, but the technology wasn't around to make it truly feasible. Who wants a car that only has a 40 mile range, especially when there are no stations around that you can plug it in at? Also the batteries would give out after about 25,000-35,000 miles and the cost of replacing those batteries was several thousand dollars.

    The economics and business sense of that just doesn't make sense.

    However GM is leading the way at a reattempt to revive the idea of the electric car but with a slight change that makes it a lot more sensible economics and business sense-wise. Introducing the Chevy Volt, a car that should be able to travel about 40 miles on batteries, but that has a small gasoline powered engine to recharge the batteries and allow a much longer range if needed. The 40 mile range is enough so that many people could drive from home to work and back without ever having to fill up for gas, however if they need to drive farther they don't have to worry about getting stranded like they did with the EV1. So you have the range of a regular car, but the possibility of almost never having to fill up on gas. Just plug it in at home each night and if your normal commute is just to work and back you'd almost never have to fill up for gas. Also, with new battery technology the batteries could last for about 250,000 miles without having to be replaced, much better than for the EV1.

    However GM knows that the feasibility of producing the Volt will mainly depend on whether the battery technology to produce it is in place by then. There's about a 90% chance that it will be, but after that film I think they are a little guarded.

    It wasn't GM or Big Oil that killed the electric car, it was economics that did the EV1 in.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I hope to educate everyone who says electric cars are dead. There is an SUV called the ZAP-X, it is going to be introduced in 2008. This vehicle is using a new technology that will put a small electric motor in each wheel. The stats on this SUV are almost too good to be true, but they are true. For starters it has a range of 350 miles on a single charge, has a top speed of 155 mph, and it only takes 10 minutes to charge! If it's power you seek it has over 600 horses! The only downside is that it is set to sell for $60,000, although it is priced to high for a huge market, the point is that the technologies exist with new lithium ion batteries. The EV1 in "Who Killed the Electric Car" used NMHi batteries, which are a leap above commonly used lead acid batteries, but they can't compare to lithium ion. So anyone who says the technology is not advancing is just wrong. In about ten years we went from lead acid to lithium ion, who knows where we will be in ten more years. If you’re worried about where your power comes from, simply install solar panels. If you think it is expensive, just calculate what you spend on gas in one year plus your energy bill, it will pay for itself in as little as two years, then free clean power for the next thirty years.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Extremely poor energy density killed the electric car.

    biggest problems:

    1 - Battery packs weigh 1000 pounds

    2 - Batteries lose full capacity after only 2-3 years

    3 - Even with 1000 pounds, range was either 40 miles at 80 mph, or 80 miles at 40 mph. Neither made anyone happy.

    4 - "Filling up the tank" took 8-10 hours (recharging)

    5 - Battery replacement cost every few years was expensive

    6 - Car cost was twice that of a gas car

    7 - Batteries took up the whole car's cargo space

    8 - If you ran empty before you got home you were scr*wed!

    Hybrids running E85 or Biodiesel give us the best of both worlds, with out those 8 problems.

    Maybe in the future Lithium Ion cars electric cars will come down in price. (Right now they cost $95,000.00) and still create pollution because of manufacturing and their electricity comes from burning coal and natural gas.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • fred
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    after GM et al stopped evs under presure from the fossil focused Whitehouse, it seemed hopeless, all funding diverted to blue sky fuel cell research which won't threaten the status quo for 10-15 years - after peak oil bites us

    But the good news:

    there is now the Tesla sports car www.teslamotors.com, that has a range of 250 miles and 0-60 in 4 seconds.

    2007 production sold out

    also the Phoenix 5 seater SUT www.phoenixmotors.com. rechargeable in 10 minutes. 20 year battery life

    the point is electric cars are just more pleasent & fun to drive - quiet, smooth, smell-free, cheap to refuel at home or work; cheap to maintain - there is no reason we need to put up with complicated, old clunky infernal combustion technology, except for the vested interests of a minority of global corp board members.

    Source(s): www.evuk.co.uk
    • Login to reply the answers
  • 2n2222
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I'm afraid that that movie was both hysterical and inaccurate. Electric cars work in southern California and nowhere else, and even there they weren't so great.

    GM crushed the cars because they didn't want to be liable for the safety of vehicles they could no longer support. The EV-1 was not such a winner, though it used some marvelous weight-saving technologies that I hope to see in other cars.

    The problem, as always, is the battery. Go to the most enthusiastic electric car website, and it'll always tell you somewhere that battery breakthroughs are just over the horizon. They're not: batteries are tough technology, and progress is incremental and slow.

    Alternatives? I'm a fan of mass transit and freight hauling via trackless trollies, rubber-tired trucks and buses that would grab power from common overhead power wires supplied by the state's department of transportation.

    Source(s): I suppose I ought to put the article on my web page.
    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    To answer your question, you most ask yourself--Who make the most out of the oil??? The oil companies or the Government??? so the answer is very clear--he Government kill the Electric Car.. See www.santanaeffect.com the full bottom view of a electric car of 600 mile range and 93 mph but have not future.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    The electric car is being made by Tesla Motors and will come on market in LA, Chicago, NY etc in October. To learn more copy this hyperlink.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/index.php?js_enabled=1

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.