Electric cars may be reaching their time in the sun with successes like the Tesla Model S, but the basic concept goes back to practically beginning of motoring. EVs also saw a brief renaissance in the 1970s when automakers were trying find a way around rising fuel prices. This 1979 Chrysler ETV-1 concept for sale on eBay Motors is a great example from that era.

Built in 1979, designers hoped the ETV-1 would preview what an electric car would look like in 1985. The base price was slated to start at $6,400, or the rough equivalent of $20,536, which seems like an optimistic price. General Electric created the ETV-1's powertrain, and Chrysler was in charge of styling. At the time, the Department of Energy called it "the first advanced four-passenger subcompact experimental electric car."

While it seems ancient compared to today's EVs, the ETV-1 featured regenerative braking and a computer-controlled electric motor. Chrysler reported a 100-mile range at 45 miles per hour with two passengers in the car. The range fell to 75 miles with four passengers. Acceleration was not brisk with Chrysler claiming the run to 30 mph in 9 seconds. Power was stored in 18 lead-acid batteries, and a full charge took 10 hours from a home outlet.

The seller says that he bought the ETV-1 in non-running condition from the American Museum of Science and Energy in 2005 and had it shipped to Texas. He is selling the early EV because he has no way to repair it and get it running again. The seller admits that the it has been sitting in a barn for years and will need a complete restoration. The price is currently sitting at $3,000 with zero bids and about two days left on the auction; bargain basement dollars for this chunk of automotive history.


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  • 82 Comments
      Go2Fast
      • 11 Months Ago
      Oh my god...can people please learn how to rotate photos? You can do it with the stock windows image viewer for sh!t's sake.
      T
      • 11 Months Ago
      It is based on an actual 1979 Dodge Omni 024/ Plymouth Turismo TC3. It is not a forerunner or proto-type body, but probably just a modified production car from the year. That platform called the L-Body, would continue in production until 1986 as the Dodge Charger 2.2, later the Shelby Charger, and the epitome of the chassis as the Shelby Charger GLHS. I think there was even a Plymouth "Duster" package briefly based on it. The Dodge Daytona/Chrysler Laser based on the G24 platform began production in 1985 and the L Body was phased out.
      jebibudala
      • 11 Months Ago
      What is that giant red button?!?! WHAT DOES IT DO?!?!
      Louis
      • 11 Months Ago
      Lead-acid are not a good choice for an electric car. The cannot be deeply discharged as Li-Ion cells can. If so, their life expectancy is greatly reduced. But back then, this type of battery was the only cost effect type to use.
      Michael E. Gardner
      • 11 Months Ago
      Someone please save this car from obscurity! Restore it and give it some love so we can see it at the auto shows.
      Richard
      • 11 Months Ago
      This does sort of remind me of my old Dodge 024. Yeah, I'm the guy who bought one.
      EJD1984
      • 11 Months Ago
      For 1979, it looks like it could have been on sale by the 1te 80s or early 90s. BTW - Does anyone remember a fuel-cell Plymouth Horizon 024 prototype from the early 80s? I remember reading about it in Road & Track or Car & Driver.
      adam
      • 11 Months Ago
      Wow 100 mile range and 30 something years later all the technology now the Nissan leaf gets not much more distance than 100 miles yet it is faster lol
      Niky
      • 11 Months Ago
      Electric vehicles go way back. As a kid growing up in Jersey City small trucks powered by batteries were common. I can still recall the heavy chains, covered in grease, and throwing that grease at each other. Most were fruit and vegetable vendors or knife sharpeners. Yes, people would come out with all their cutlery to be sharpened. The reason these vehicles worked was that the charging electricity came from unused power being generated for the Hudson and Manhattan trains, better known as the black line because the trains that ran under the Hudson were painted black. Few trains ran at night so there was an excess of coal generated electricity. There were also cars, some home built, with fiberglass bodies from the 70's. One I found in south Jersey about 12 years ago abandoned on a lawn.
      SeadogMillionaire
      • 11 Months Ago
      If it were running, I would actually consider paying the $3,000 ... but otherwise I can't see the headaches that would come with it. I hope Jay Leno buys it and gets it running !!! Or else, Fiat could buy it, restore it and put in a museum.
      Arne Hoem
      • 11 Months Ago
      How many were produced?
      xspeedy
      • 11 Months Ago
      Isn't that just a mildly made over Omni 024?
        Robert
        • 11 Months Ago
        @xspeedy
        Yes, the body probable started off as an Omni 024. It's what's under the hood that's being prototyped, not the shell.
        Cool Disco Dan
        • 11 Months Ago
        @xspeedy
        It was built before the Omni/Charger K cars. The Charger is based on it.
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