FOX 11 Archives: A Car Ahead Of Its Time - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

FOX 11 Archives: A Car Ahead Of Its Time

Posted: Updated:

Automotive history was made this week in 1996 when General Motors unveiled the first mass-produced modern all-electric car.  It was called the EV1, and many of its components were built in Southern California, where GM figured most of these cars would find a market.  Six years earlier, in 1990, the company introduced a prototype version of an electric vehicle, the Impact, to great acclaim.  You can see some footage of that car by clicking on the first video pane.

After several more years of R&D, GM began building the EV1.  It was a two seat coupe that looked a lot like the Impact.  Its electrical energy was stored in old-fashioned lead acid batteries, but just about everything else in the car was newly-developed.  The cars themselves were virtually hand-built.  Our news crew was there for the rollout at an L.A. auto dealership.  Click on the second clip to see the footage.

The EV1 proved to be immensely popular.  Demand outpaced supply.  An easy claim, since GM built fewer than 1,200 of the cars.  Also, the EV1 only was available in California, Arizona and Georgia. One other catch: they weren't for sale.  Drivers only could lease them for a limited term.  GM said the lessees were part of a rubber on the road engineering trial, and the company wanted the EV1s back after a couple of years for evaluation.  Many customers, however, didn't want to give back the cars.  They sent in checks, made public pleas and virtually begged the company to extend their leases or let them buy the cars.  No go.  Eventually, GM took back all of the EV1s and, with the exception of a few dozen, which were sent to colleges and museums -- including the Smithsonian Institution -- all of the remaining vehicles were destroyed.

Now, more than 20 years since GM announced it would build an electric car, electrics and hybrids are a common sight, especially in California. Automotive research firm Polk says that while electric vehicle sales comprise less than three percent of all car sales nationwide, California leads the country in the sale of all-electric and hybrid vehicles. The percentage of electrics sold in the "Golden State" is closer to 11%.

  • Share ThisMore>>

  • Venice Lightning Strike Survivor Meets His Rescuers

    Venice Lightning Strike Survivor Meets His Rescuers

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:48:58 GMT
    A month and a day has passed since the fatal lightning strike suddenly hit the shore off Venice Beach, hospitalizing about a dozen people. One of the most critically injured patients was reunited with his rescuers by the Venice Pier Thursday.
    A month and a day has passed since the fatal lightning strike suddenly hit the shore off Venice Beach, hospitalizing about a dozen people. One of the most critically injured patients was reunited with his rescuers by the Venice Pier Thursday.
  • National Dog Day: Send Us Your Pup Pics

    National Dog Day: Send Us Your Pup Pics

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:17:59 GMT
    The purpose of the holiday is to show appreciation for the millions of the dogs in the US that keep us safe and bring us comfort and companionship.
    The purpose of the holiday is to show appreciation for the millions of the dogs in the US that keep us safe and bring us comfort and companionship.
  • myFOX Tech

    Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 3- The Future of Laptops, NOW!

    Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 3- The Future of Laptops, NOW!

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:14 PM EDT2014-08-26 16:14:57 GMT
    It's no secret that Microsoft has struggled in the hardware department so I can't say whether the Surface Pro 3 will be the hero Microsoft needs but I can say it is the modern computing experience users deserve. I love it and think you should too! Read on to find out why.
    It's no secret that Microsoft has struggled in the hardware department so I can't say whether the Surface Pro 3 will be the hero Microsoft needs but I can say it is the modern computing experience users deserve. I love it and think you should too! Read on to find out why.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices