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Dr. Gloria Duffy is the President and CEO of the the Commonwealth Club of California, the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum, bringing together its more than 18,000 members for over 400 annual events on topics ranging across politics, culture, society and the economy. Dr. Duffy served as U.S. Special Coordinator for Cooperative Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration. Her column in the April issue of the Club's magazine, "I Miss My EV1," is a timely reminder of what could have been. Dr. Duffy believes "GM could have scaled the EV1 up to full production and been ahead of the game in producing a relatively affordable zero-emission vehicle."
She and her husband each leased the GM electric car, which they dubbed Red Sparky and Blue Sparky. She reminisces about how her "long commute turned into a dream - affordable, quick and non-polluting." Recently she met with some GM execs and was shocked by what she heard. She writes, "I nearly fell off my chair when one of them apologized for the way GM handled the EV1 episode. He said GM should have sold the cars to the people who leased them." You can read the entire article here.

[Source: Commonwealth Club]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is just my opinion but to me the EV1 was just a test vehicle .. albeit a very good one.

      The reason I say this is because not one was ever offered for sale, you could only lease them.

      The real crime/mistake that GM made and I'm sure that they would feel the same way looking back in hindsight, was that there was no EV2!
      • 7 Years Ago
      With regards to #5.

      The ICE in the Volt is not an option. With a crappy 40 mile electric range the ICE is a necessity. The 1999 EV1 with no ICE had an EPA certified range of 140 miles per charge for comparison. The Volt is using even more powerful batteries but only goes 40 miles on a charge. Seems like a step backwards to me. The Volt is the electric car that Chevron wanted, short range and has to burn fuel.

      With the commute I have to go 17.5 miles each way. With 3 steep hills to climb and 11 miles of freeway driving I will be guaranteed that the ICE will run everyday. This means I'll be paying 2 energy providers for my commute. I can't plug in at work and use expensive daytime electricity to recharge. If I had a 1999 EV1, I would only have to plug it in every 2 or 3 days.

      Gm has referred to the EV1 as an "experiment". No one that drove an EV1 would call it an experiment. You don't make 1,100 copies of an experiment and lease them to any Tom, Dick and Harry. Everything I've read about the EV1 points out that it was one of the finest pieces of automotive engineering to come out of Detroit in a long time. It was destroyed because it drove GM crazy with schizophrenia.

      • 7 Years Ago
      The EV1 was a great car, though a little too far ahead for its time. The range was too short, and while we only drive to and from work in many cases, we do need the flexibility to make errands, and side trips, which is often the case for many people after work, we're also living further away from work. There was not a sufficient charging infrastructure, while you could find places to charge, they weren't readily available. The car was also not production-ready. Many of them were built with parts which were made on an as needed basis, GM lost money on these cars, and to sell them would have put them out of the price range many people would have been willing to pay for a car of that type/size/etc.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Hello Chris,
      Are you in the market for another S10EV truck?

      Let me know.

      sarkararjun@hotmail.com
      • 7 Years Ago
      I now miss the EV1.
      I remember the car magazines Hammering this car mercilessly. As a single person I could not live with it's range restriction, but, that was the only valid complaint listed by the car magazines. The other's were BS.

      Now, as a married person I'd really enjoy having an EV1 as a second car, the one i'd use to commute to work. It's also shown me that the Auto Magazine Industry are nothing but a bunch of Hucksters for Big Oil.


      • 7 Years Ago
      GM lost $10.6 billion in 2006, lost $38.7 billion in 2007, 3 times as much. GM's really big problem is that by the time they get their savior, the Volt, on the road they will have a lot more competition. The actual model year for the Volt will be 2011 like they do with gas cars, bring out next year's model in the last 3 months of the previous year.

      The Tesla Roadster, also a whole new 2 passenger electric car, out performs the EV1 significantly. Mitsubishi has plans to market their iMiEV before 2010, Subaru is also plans to bring their R1e here in 2010, both small cars but tolerable for commuting. By 2010 Tesla plans to have their affordable White Star model sedan available in REEV and BEV variants on the road by then. And don't forget Phoenix motors SUT and SUV are available now. At least 1 Chinese car model the Zotye electric SUV will be available. Miles will also have their XS500 on the road well before 2010.

      All of these cars will be all electric requiring no fuel. They look a lot better to me than the Volt which has to have fuel. Heck the Fisker Karma, a REEV like the Volt, having 50 MPC will be out in 2009. GM is going to have to work very very hard to get back on top.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Volt maximizes it's efficiency, without any sacrifice to the driver, that's why it's the very best idea out there.

      You can make an EV, but people won't buy it. Try it if you think otherwise. The EV-1 wouldn't sell thousands if it was offered today. It cost twice what the Volt will cost and didn't have the convenience to convert the masses.

      You don't change the world by selling 2,000 cars to people who already are conscious of the environmental impact, you change the world by having 100,000+ sold and on the road saving 78% and liking the experience.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The EV-1 was a Mirage. Ask Dr. Gloria if her and her husband had a 2nd car and the answer will be yes. Sure they liked a FREE car that cost less to run, who wouldn't. So while the EV might not have used any gas I'm sure their 2nd car did.

      It's time to stop chiding GM for a good business decision that came at a bad time. The EV-1 would never have made money. If GM produced the exact car today it would still lose money.

      GM is losing money in the U.S. for pretty well known reasons that have nothing to do with the EV-1 or the Prius. The Camry and the Honda Accord had a lot more to do with their downfall, and old manufacturing equipment along with much higher overhead due to the cost of U.S. workers.

      GM is making a good profit in countries outside of the U.S. and Japan.

      It's time to quit trying to prove how smart we were when the EV-1 came out and use those analytical abilities to choose the right path for the future.

      The Volt will save more gasoline because so many more people will buy it than would buy the EV-1. The Volt will have the performance that people want, and the convenience so that masses of people will buy one. When they do they'll charge up for the simple reason that it's easy and saves money.

      People won't buy it to save the world, they'll buy it because it makes sense. That's why the Volt will make the difference and why the EV-1 would never have.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have access to two 97 S10 EV trucks. They have been upgraded to the NIMH battery packs in the past year or so. They both have about 12K miles. Are located in CA and the person wants to sell. I will be helping him with the sale through California Advanced Fuel Center. If you are interested shoot me an email.

      Arjun

      • 7 Years Ago
      just to correct the mistake in the statement above Randy C. Stated "They look a lot better to me than the Volt which has to have fuel." it actually does not have to use fuel its primary power is plug in electric fuel is only optional for range extension.
      • 7 Years Ago
      GM lost $US38 Billion last yr. They lost 1 Billion on a car that they wanted to fail.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Perhaps I'm missing the point of all this discussion; but, it seems to me had the EV-1 made it to production, no matter if their NMH batteries were limited, we would be way ahead of the middle east oil game by now and electric cars would have proliferated. GM made a rotten deal with the oil companies by selling their Ovonics NMH patents and scheming to keep gas powered ICE SUVs on the road. GM has never had a history of far-sighted vision. Perhaps the Volt will help to change that poor reputation.
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