The power of wishful thinking! GM lost a HUGE amount of money on each
EV-1. The "car that would have saved GM from bankruptcy" is more like
the car that would have finished off GM at warp speed. And Mr. & Mrs.
America would have been SO pleased with a vehicle that only held 2
people, needed a full day of recharging every 40 miles, and required a
zillion-dollar battery pack every 10 years. Who killed the electric
car? Common sense killed it.
LOL, if more than a few hundred people had leased cars it might never
I agree it was dumb for GM to take 'em back and scrap them though. It
was as if GM were embarassed about the whole thing. Weird.
Trust me, GM killed that car.
Mistake 1. They would not sell them. There are many people that will not
lease a vehicle.
I happen to be one of them. I hate to know that in x years I'll have to
give a vehicle back.
Not only that, I do not agree with a lot of the lease terms. When you buy a
know exactly what it will cost and you can plan for it. When a lease is up,
they hit you with
all kinds of charges you had no idea you would have to pay.
Mistake 2. Advertising. The only ad I have seen was on the web, and it was
Advertise it like you WANT it to sell (or in this case lease) the cars.
Mistake 3. They only made 1134 of the things. Cost goes down with volume
can't sell (or in this case lease) from an empty wagon." Who is going to
years to get a car? When you go to a dealer and order a vehicle, it should
be ready for
pickup in less than 90 days and that is ONLY if you need something special
built into the
vehicle. There should at least be a demonstrator on the lot and that is
only if they sold
out last week and haven't gotten the new shipment in yet. I had one friend
who went to
get one, and was told it would not be available for 6 YEARS. That is no way
Mistake 4. Trying to use Delco batteries. Car starting batteries are not
applications. When they switched to the Panasonic lead-acid batteries, the
up to 80 miles. That's 40 miles out and 40 back. That would cover MOST of
driving my wife and I do every week. Even at the 40 mile range, I could
60% of my needs. But then I would have cheated and put a 5kW generator in
When I got where I was going, I would have started the generator and let it
I was not driving. Most people probably never would have thought of doing
Mistake 5. It was only available in California and parts of Arizona. I
live in Texas.
I never had a chance of getting one. I've been waiting for something like
the EV1 since
1985. I'm seriously considering a GEM in spite of the fact it is only
25MPH. The range
problem is NOT a problem for me.
Mistake 6. Not making a 5 place EV2. This would have interested more
people, especially with
kids to run around town. Not only that, but the cost of the most expensive
thing in the car (the
batteries) could have been spread over 2 models. We are back to "with
volume, individual costs
Mistake 7. Building the recharging infrastructure themselves. That is not
the business of car
manufacturers. For the people who wanted to take an EV1 on a long trip,
make plans. The best
way is to pack a generator. Pull into a gas station and ask if they have an
EV fast charge station.
If not, buy 1 gallon of gas and park in their gas station away from the
pumps and recharge from
your generator until it's empty. You wanted to use the bathroom and get a
snack anyway, right?
It would not take long for the gas stations to install fast chargers when
they realized they were
I could keep ranting, but what's the use? If I had 50,000 5 place BEVs with
the EV1's speed
and 80 mile range today, I could sell them all in less that one year. Even
as a 2 seater, I bet I
could sell 10,000. I know your going to say "This is five years later and
gas is $3.00", but in
1995 it didn't cost 60 cent equivalent gas to recharge either. It was only
40 cents to recharge
and gas was $1.00.
They leased them for what? Like $350/mon with a $20K buyout and STILL
couldn't make money? Oh and they also 'roll' the $8 million R&D costs
into the 1100 units? What car company does THAT?
Could have leased them for $600/month easily. I think the Chinese could
make those number work. LOL
And one reason they crushed them is that, if they had not, it would
have cost them millions in taxes and R&D funds GM would have had to
refund to the Federal Government. The project was done as an
experimental R&D project partially funded by the U.S Dept. of
Transportation. The number I heard was that the blowback to the Feds
would have been in excess of $20 Million.
P.S. The University of California Police Dept. had 2 of the EV1s in
San Francisco in 1998-99: they where used for parking lot patrol and
parking enforcement. As a UC employee at that time I got a chance to
drive one and I was impressed with it.
Of course they would have had to pay taxes. They could not have written off
the business loss if they didn't have one. Are you saying that businesses
in the US should not make a profit so they don't have to pay taxes?
As for the Government money given to them for the project, what is the
source of your information that they would have had to pay it back?
I was told this by the Assets Manager at UC when we had to turn the
cars back in. UC had inquired about a buyout, since the EV1 was
perfect (even with its limitations) for the use we had put it to. I've
also seen this info mentioned in a couple of articles regarding the
EV1 but cannot cite chapter and verse. If I get time this week I'll
research it and see if I can find the citations.
My understanding is that the entire EV1 project was an experimental
engineering project to get a few vehicles out into the "real world"
Don't bother, If it came from your Assets Manager and your memory is any
good, it's probably correct. The numbers still do not add up. If you just
count the 800 vehicles GM admits to having on lease, I bet they could have
set a $30,000. butout and had all of the vehicles gone. That is $24
million, $4 Million more than whatt you say they would have had to pay back.
Not only that, they still had 337 cars they had been using as upgrade
replacements they could have sold as well.
It was experimental, to test the technology not user desire to buy.
Would those who wanted to buy them being willing to pay the real cost?
Too bad GM didn't make a basic Yaris sized electric car. It may have
sold, but most car companies put most of their effort into too large.
too expensive, mostly unnecessary vehicles.
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