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An Electric Vehicle's Shocking Problem - Comments

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I tried to get an EV1 also, but unfortunately, I didn't live close enough to a service center to qualify (?). When I recently saw the article about them being crushed my heart stopped, and my sensibilities screamed at the very idea. You were fortunate to have leased one, as the rest of us will never know the joy you expressed. :(

The crushing of the EV1's brings back memories of the "rumors" of magic carburetors or engines that got 60 to 100 miles to the gallon, or pills or liquids that could be put in the gas tank and increase gas mileage by 50 or 60 percent. None of these were ever released to the general public because of a vast conspiracy between the major car manufacturers and the big oil boys. Maybe they weren't rumors.

Very reminiscent of the Lustron houses, the steel houses built after WWII. Efficient, cost-effective, and built to last, the company was attacked and ultimately destroyed by the efforts of builders, lumber concerns, and trade unions afraid of the competition they faced. So why were the EV1s crushed?

Thank you for pointing out the movie. If the trailer is a true indication, it's going to be an enlightening film.

I'm also amazed that I never heard of these cars until now. One would think that such a car at this time would pull GM out of its financial crunch. We've already seen an upswing in hybrids and high-mileage cars, and if GM has already shown they can build the electric car that runs on the equivalent of $0.60/gal, think of the sales.

Why couldn't you keep your EV1? Because GM would have violated federal law if they sold it to you.

GM got a waiver from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a special test run of the EV1. The car didn't meet safety standards and the NHTSA agreed to let them test the car for a limited time. Guess what? The test happened and the exemption expired. You couldn't buy out the lease because, according to federal law, it was not legal to sell the car.

Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/general-motors-ev1

Want to blame someone? Blame the folks that say you have to drive a perfectly safe car. You can't choose to drive a tiny little runabout sold in Europe that gets 60 mpg because it doesn't meet US safety standards. What? You'd prefer to save the environment rather than have perfect safety? Sorry, that's not a decision for you to make, say the consumer safety advocates; you're too stupid to balance those complex issues.

You can't have cheap car, built by high-paid workers, that's reliable, perfectly safe, and environmentally friendly. Something's got to give. You can choose from some of those, but the government says you can't compromise on safety, even though it competes directly with price and environmental friendliness.


The article cited above does state that the EV1 was in compliance when they were designed, but by the time they hit production the standards had changed. The article notes, "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) granted a temporary exemption to General Motors for the duration of the EV1 program, with the understanding that the cars be permanently removed from road use once the lease program had been phased out.... [Thus] it was never legal for sale." Maybe, but later in the same article, it notes: "Not all of the EV1s have been destroyed. Some can still be seen on the road, most commonly in Warren, Michigan.... In late November 2005, Saturn salespeople contacted some former EV1 owners, seeking to get these remaining EV1s traded in for 2006 Saturns. Many owners of these vehicles are most likely GM employees." So they were "never legal" for sale, but some are on the road and owned by private parties? Which is it?

If the above is true, being in compliance with "early 1990s" standards doesn't exactly make them "unsafe"; there are plenty of cars on the road made even well before then that consumers can still choose to drive, even though they don't have the latest in safety innovations.

Anyway, that's still not the ultimate point -- what "really" makes the author "a Cranky Customer" is being charged for "damage" when everyone knew the vehicle was heading for the crusher. -rc

I have wished for an electric vehicle for several years, and actually had made plans to buy the Toyota RAV 4 EV. I did design excess capacity into my solar photovoltaic system when I was planning it to provide extra power for the car.

Unfortunately, Toyota withdrew the RAV 4 EV from sale (and cancelled their leases also), just before I finally brought my 10kW solar system on line. I have been frustrated seeing the 300 to 450 dollars worth of credit that PG&E cancels each year dissapear when I had intended to use that electricity to power a car, not for generating a lost credit from PG&E.

Maybe there is hope if the PHEV's reach market with at least a 20 mile all electric range from a major manufacturer. I personally believe Toyota is the most likely to do this, and that is unfortunately the problem that all of the US companies are refusing to face.

These plug-in hybrids would save the US auto industry, but it would be at the expense of the oil companies' obscene profits.

The blog Quinn points to is GM attempting to rewrite history, there are a number of outright lies in it and that's one of them. GM's stated reason to not sell the vehicle at the time we leased it was 'consumer protection against changing technology'. Riiiiiight.

There was no 'safety' waiver at the time that the EV1 was originally leased. The EV1 was fully crash tested and compliant with all safety regulations for the model years that they were available.

If there had been a waiver, GM would have been required to tell us about this and make us sign something at the time of lease. (Ford had to do this with the Th!nk City vehicles which were built to European safety standards.) I still have all of my original paperwork from both leases (a '97 and a '99), I have checked and rechecked it, and there is no mention of said waiver.

It is true that they can't BUILD any more using the same design because the safety standards have changed. Toyota had to modify the 2003 RAV4 EV (which used the original style RAV4 body) with stronger front roof pillars in order to meet the these standards.

Here's what GM's own web site on the EV1 said on Aug 16, 2002:


The EV1 meets all government safety requirements, and then some. In all, we tested the EV1 prototypes the equivalent of almost half a million miles during normal driving conditions. The whole idea was to build a reliable, durable, safe electric car. The structure helps to absorb shocks to protect passengers in a collision. Monitors continuously check electric circuits and disconnect the battery pack if there's anything abnormal. Other monitors audit driving conditions, engaging traction control or anti-lock brakes to help avoid hazardous situations.

Of course, air bags* are standard. So are side-impact protection, daytime running lamps, crumple zones and a host of other safety features.

The MagneCharge inductive charging system also provides a safe, convenient and easy way of charging. In fact, you can even charge the EV1 in the rain. This is because the inductive charging system does not utilize metal-to-metal contact to transfer electricity."

Go to the Internet 'Way Back' Machine for the source:

If you really want an electric car, check out AC Propulsion.

He is a friend of a friend and I have gotten a tour of his place many years ago and it was impressive. The cars have improved, check out the tzero, as well as other things. Look to see how you can charge the vehicle, no need for special equipment and limited places to charge it. These vehicles make more sense to me and are usable in the real world.

Then ask yourself why you have not heard about this company or the developer before. They create a real product which a really good range, much better than the other "options". What I see is that the politicians, including the "environmentalists" don't really care to promote a product which they can't gain financially from.

Quinn, the assertion that GM got a waiver from the NHTSA is bullshit.

You can see the crash test ratings at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/NCAP/Cars/686.html

They also passed GM's crash tests.

I must thank Chelsea Sexton for the following information below. I did not come across it on my own.

Those safety regulations that would have existed after the EV1 program was ended were nothing that couldn't be solved. All that was needed was fortified side impact beams and side curtain airbags. GM's done much more radical modifications on cars at the last minute before, with no significant cost changes.

Wired is running an article about a Silicon Valley startup car company that has created an electric sports car, and is working on a 4-door to be released in 2008. The article is at http://www.wired.com/news/wiredmag/0,71414-0.html

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(Read the article that everyone's commenting on.)