While the current crop of electric vehicles are a far cry from the failed attempts to produce commercially viable electrics back in the mid-90s, many still doubt that EVs can be successful. Much of that doubt stems from the multi-billion dollar flop from GM known as the EV1. The EV1 was the automotive industry's first real attempt at going electric, which, needless to say, did not work out. Many of the problems that plagued the EV1 are still a source of concern with today's crop of EVs. Critics pointed out that the EV1 was too expensive, impractical and limited by a measly range... sound familiar?
So what will make today's batch of EVs a success? Former GM EV1 product manager Sean McNamara discussed his view of the differences between current projects and the seminal EV from The General with Automotive News. Now, before we delve into what McNamara said, it should be noted that he is currently employed by Nissan as the regional product manager for Infiniti. With that aside, here's his take on what sets the Leaf apart from the failed efforts in the past:
It's this last statement, "Today, people really are looking for an electric vehicle", that we think will make a world of difference this time around. Back in the mid-90s, GM built a car that few people asked for. Now buyers are basically begging for EVs, which hopefully leads to success this time around.Things are different today. Completely different. The technology is so much better today. We were using lead-acid batteries on the EV1. We've been through a lot since then as a society. Today, people really are looking for an electric vehicle.