EV1 Wasn't Destroyed, GM Needed Time and Lessons Went to Volt
EV1 was a terrific car for the late 1990s. It was really sad to see how this car was brought out, and according to many people poorly supported by GM, then killed when government regulators lightened up on CAFE standards. But the story was apparently different.
What Happened to EV1
Ivan Jue, an EV enthusiast, who has contributed several stories to Torque News says the EV1 was lease only from the start and that GM needed more time, especially after seeing the battery cooling issue with Nissan Leaf.
Here is Jue in his own words, which he shared in GM Electric Vehicle Owners group on Facebook.
The was the most visible example, but the EV1 was never meant for sale. It was lease-only from the start. Other automakers did the same thing at that time (most Ranger EVs, S10 EVs, Honda EV Plus, etc, and they are still doing it now.
BMW took back all of their Active E vehicles, which leasees loved and destroyed them too. They also destroyed all the Mini electric cars that were part of the pilot program.
Do you want to guess what will happen to the lease-only Honda Fit and Clarity EV’s at lease-end? The crusher.
GM never stopped after EV1. I spoke to a few of those engineers a few years ago—including Andrew Farah. A lot of lessons learned on EV1 went to Gen 1 Volt. The timing just wasn’t right for a pure EV at an “affordable” price point.
GM even knew the Leaf battery would fail in hot climates with no liquid-cooled thermal management system—which is why they couldn’t come out with a pure EV when the Leaf was launched. The Gen 1 Leaf battery was a great example of cutting corners and “the hell with the facts—get product out now” mindset.