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The move marks another critical blow to the future of gasoline and diesel cars, which are facing pressure from foreign regulators seeking to slash emissions and will soon face stiff competition as electric-car prices fall.

Electric Vehicle History

More: Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz launch electric cars: 'anything Tesla can do, we can do better'. More: Nissan turns over new Leaf, but the electric car's range is an issue. More: Used electric cars: the best bang for your buck?

We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world. China, GM's biggest vehicle market, has signaled plans to ban gasoline vehicles, and Britain and France have announced similar plans.

The birth of the electric vehicle

Meanwhile, other automakers have made similar pledges. Chinese-owned Swedish brand Volvo recently announced plans to make only hybrids or electric vehicles after Behind a white hearse circling the cemetery and to the sounds of a bagpiper rolled a line of EV1s, their devoted drivers taking a literal last ride in the cars they had leased from GM.


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Although some 1, of the vehicles were produced since and leased to drivers in California and Arizona, almost all were destroyed once the leases ran out. For many of the lessees, this was a tragedy. It was up to GM chief designer Dennis Little and lead designer Mark Kaski to make the radical aerodynamics work in a street-ready car.

Many factors contributed to the failure of a car that was not, technically, a failure. Battery life was somewhat improved in two later iterations. And even some admirers of its design faulted the way it drove.

Only 40 EV1s were preserved, according to Jill Banaszynski, manager of the EV1 donation program, to be given to museums and institutions or kept for research by GM. Of these, the only fully intact EV1, complete with its now inert lead acid battery, is today part of the NMAH collection. This stipulation initially posed a problem for GM, which had decided to take the cars off the road because only a relative handful of technicians knew how to work safely on the powerful batteries.

But a series of negotiations proved fruitful, and the museum, in March of , received its own complete example of an exemplary machine. Continue or Give a Gift. Privacy Policy , Terms of Use Sign up.

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The birth of the electric vehicle

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The History of the Electric Car

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