General Motors EV1

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General Motors EV1
Manufacturer General Motors
Production 1996-1999 (1,117 units)
1997 Model Year: 660 units
1999 Model Year: 457 units
Assembly GM Lansing Craft Centre, Lansing, Michigan
Predecessor Impact (prototype)
Successor Chevrolet Volt (prototype)
Class Electric car
Body style(s) 2 seat Subcompact
Layout FF layout
Engine(s) 3-phase AC Induction
Transmission(s) single speed reduction integrated with motor and differential
Fuel capacity Battery
(VRLA from Delphi 53 Ah
VRLA from Panasonic 60Ah
NiMH: 77 Ah); 120-220 V
Electric range 160 mi (260 km) (NIMH)
Designer General Motors

The EV1 was the first modern production electric vehicle from a major automaker and also the first purpose-built electric car produced by General Motors (GM) in the United States.

Introduced in 1996, The EV1 electric cars were available in California and Arizona in a limited (3 year/30,000 mile) "lease only" agreement.[1] This was because the EV1 and its leasee were to be participants in a "real-world" engineering evaluation created by GM's Advanced Technology Vehicles group, as well as market analysis and study into the feasibility of producing and marketing a commuter electric vehicle in select U.S. markets.[2][3]

EV1s were marketed at first only in Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix/Tucson, AZ. Within a year, San Francisco and Sacramento CA followed; however, the optional 1999 model equipped with NiMH batteries was apparently never offered in Arizona because, at that early stage of its development, it performed very poorly in hot weather. A limited number of EV1s were apparently made available through a Southern Company employee lease program in Georgia. In accordance with the lease agreement the EV1 could only be serviced at designated Saturn retailers.

The EV1 was discontinued after 1999, with all examples subsequently removed from the roads in 2003 by General Motors and crushed, except for a select few kept for educational purposes or as museum pieces. The car's discontinuation remains controversial.


[edit] History

[edit] Origins

General Motors EV1, Museum Autovision, Altlußheim
EV1, engine bay
EV1, Interior

The EV1 was directly based on a prototype vehicle created by AeroVironment called the GM Impact. The Impact in turn had been based on design ideas first tested out in a record-breaking race car called the Sunraycer, a solar-electric vehicle the company created in 1987 specifically to win the World Solar Challenge, a trans-Australia race open to solar powered cars only. Alan Cocconi of AC Propulsion designed and built the original drive controller electronics for the Impact, and it was later refined by Hughes Electronics.

The predecessor of the EV1, the Impact, introduced at the January 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show, led to the Zero Emission Vehicle ("ZEV") mandate that year which was intended to curb California's growing problem with air pollution. Other members of what was then the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, plus Toyota, Nissan[4] and Honda, each also developed a prototype ZEV.

The ZEV Mandate originally specified that by 1998, 2% of all new cars sold by the seven major auto manufacturers in the state of California were to meet 'zero emission' standards as defined by the California Air Resources Board and 10% by 2003.

[edit] Release

GM never offered the EV1 for public sale. It was only available to consumers under a lease program that had a "no purchase" clause disallowing the vehicle's re-purchase at the conclusion of the lease. 660 Generation One EV1s were produced for the 1997 model year,[5] using lead acid batteries;[6]

In December 1999, GM released approximately 200 of the new Generation Two EV1s with the new nickel metal hydride battery. Over the next 8 months, another 257 Generation Two EV1s were released to certain selected lessees.[7] In mid 2000, GM closed the EV1 plant. A total of 457 Generation Two EV1s were produced.

On March 2, 2000, 450 Generation One EV1s were recalled by GM due to a faulty charge port cable that GM determined would lead to heat buildup and even fire. Despite the initial claim of only sixteen "thermal incidents" and no property damage, at least one fire originating at the charge port actually occurred, destroying the car of Ron Brauer and Ruth Bygness as it charged[8]. This did not affect the Generation Two EV1s.[9]

Over the next two years, approximately 200 of the Generation One EV1s were re-issued to their original lessees on revised two-year leases including a new limited-mileage clause.[10] The delays were due to design complications in retrofitting the NiMH battery.[11] Due to the tenuous retrofitting process and limited number of recall replacement parts available, GM offered the waiting Generation One lessees the opportunity to terminate their lease at no charge,[12][13] or the chance to transfer the lease to one of the few 150 Generation Two EV1s left — ahead of those already on the Generation Two waiting list.[14]

[edit] Program cancellation

In late 2003, GM officially canceled the EV1 program.[15][16] GM stated that it could not sell enough of the cars to make the EV1 profitable. This, combined with the fact that their parts and service infrastructure costs required to maintain the existing EV1's for the state legislated minimum of 15 years, would mean the existing leases would not be renewed and all the cars would have to be returned to GM's possession.

According to GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, his worst decision of his tenure at GM was "axing the EV1 electric-car program and not putting the right resources into hybrids. It didn’t affect profitability, but it did affect image."[17] Wagoner repeated this assertion during an NPR interview after the December 2008 Senate hearings on the U.S. auto industry bailout request.[18]

According to the March 13, 2007, issue of Newsweek, "GM R&D chief Larry Burns . . . now wishes GM hadn't killed the plug-in hybrid EV1 prototype his engineers had on the road a decade ago: 'If we could turn back the hands of time,' says Burns, 'we could have had the Chevy Volt 10 years earlier.'"[19]

[edit] Reaction

In 2006, the Wall Street Journal's Detroit Bureau Chief Joe White said "The EV1 was a failure, as were other electric vehicles launched in the 1990s to placate California clean-air regulators." [20] GM believes that the electric car venture was not a failure, and that the EV1 was doomed when the expected breakthrough in battery technology did not take place within the anticipated timeline[21] In fact, the NiMH battery packs (or Ovonic Battery) that were expected to dramatically improve range came with their own set of problems; GM had to use a less-efficient charging algorithm (lengthening charge times) and waste power on air conditioning to prevent the battery packs from overheating.[22] In addition, the elimination of the CARB environmental mandate that led to the car's creation was a potential factor in the program's cancellation.

The view of the EV1 as failure is a controversial one in itself. When viewed as an attempt to produce a viable EV product, it was a success, while certainly from GM's perspective not a commercial success. If one considers the vehicle as a technological showpiece—a production electric car that actually could replace a gasoline powered vehicle—the program's outcome is less clear. The EV1 was produced for the consumer market, and many lessees found driving an EV1 to be a favorable experience. On that basis, EV1 might qualify as the most successful electric car ever built.

Some analysts have suggested that it is inappropriate to compare the EV1 with existing gasoline powered commuter cars as the EV1 was, in effect, a completely new product category that had no equivalent vehicles to be judged against.

[edit] Resurrection

Some universities that were given deactivated EV1s have reactivated them and come under fire from GM for violating agreements.[23][24] GM reacted sternly to the schools for allowing the cars to be driven on the road, which violated the agreement.[citation needed]

Gleaned from various statements & EV-1 history; GM has potential legal obligations to maintain supplies for consumer vehicles for 15 years. They do not want anyone to be able to claim that an EV-1 is "on-the-road" because they have dismantled their EV-1 supply chain. This is consistent with their official response to the incident reasserting that the EV-1 is not to be "titled, licensed, nor driven on public highways" but restoration, upgrading, and showcasing is fine.

[edit] Costs

The price for the car used to compute lease payments was US$33,995 to US$43,995,[citation needed] which made for lease payments of US$299 to over US$574 per month. Since GM did not offer consumers the option to purchase at the end of the lease, the car's residual value was never established making it impossible to determine the actual full purchase price or replacement value. One industry official said that each EV1 cost the company about US$80,000,[citation needed] including research, development and other associated costs.[25] The vehicle's lease prices also depended on available state rebates. In 1999, the cost for the electricity used to power the car was computed to be one-third to half the cost of the equivalent amount of gasoline, and since that time, increases in gas prices may have made electricity relatively even less expensive (depending on customer location, recharging time and electricity billing variations — some utility companies have variable billing for peak vs. non-peak usage rates).

[edit] Technology

The EV1 was a 'purpose built' electric vehicle, not a conversion of an existing vehicle or drivetrain. The program was initially administered by Kenneth Baker, a GM Engineer who had previously managed the Electrovette program in the 1970s. This program had been intended as an in-factory conversion of the Chevrolet Chevette to electric power but did not reach production owing to technical and production cost difficulties.

General Motors used many advanced technologies in developing the EV1. These included:

Most of these technologies were included to improve the overall efficiency of the EV1.

The first generation EV1s used lead-acid batteries in 1996 (as model year 1997) and a second generation batch with nickel metal hydride batteries in 1999. Some of the Gen 1 EV1s were refurbished and upgraded to Panasonic lead-acid batteries.

The Gen 1 cars got 55 to 75 miles (90 to 120 km) per charge with the Delco-manufactured lead-acid batteries, 75 to 100 miles (120 to 160 km) with the Gen 2 Panasonic lead-acid batteries, and 75 to 150 miles (120 to 240 km) per charge with Gen 2 Ovonic nickel-metal hydride batteries. Recharging took as much as eight hours for a full charge (although one could get an 80% charge in one to three hours). The battery pack consisted of twenty-six 12 V, 60 Ah lead-acid batteries holding 67.4 MJ (18.7 kWh) of energy, or twenty-six 13.2-volt, 77 Ah nickel-metal hydride batteries which held 95.1 MJ (26.4 kWh) of energy.

A modified EV1 prototype set a land speed record for production electric vehicles of 183 mph (295 km/h) in 1994.

[edit] Consumer experience

The EV1 driving and ownership experience was unlike a conventional gasoline (petrol) or diesel vehicle. The EV1 had the lowest aerodynamic drag coefficient of any production vehicle in history, with a Cd of 0.195, while typical production cars have Cd's in the 0.3 to 0.4 range.[26] As a result, at highway speeds audible noise was significantly less than that of other automobiles. At lower speeds, and at stoplights, there was no noise at all, save for a slight whine from the single-speed gear reduction unit. With its smooth shape and rear fender skirts it had a very distinctive appearance. Vehicle operating information instrumentation was displayed by digital readouts spanning a thin curved strip just under the windshield and well above the dashboard.

The EV1 could accelerate from 0–60 mph (0–100 km/h) in the eight-second range and from 0–50 mph (0–80 km/h) in 6.3 seconds.[27] The car's top speed was electronically limited to 80 mph (130 km/h). At the time the EV1 (with lead acid batteries) was the only electric car produced which met all EV America performance goals of the United States Department of Energy.[28]

The home charger installation (required for "fast recharge") was about 1.5 ft×2 ft×5 ft (0.5 m×0.6 m×1.5 m) with integrated heatsinks and resembled a gasoline pump. Charging was entirely inductive, and accomplished by placing a Magne Charge paddle in the front port of the EV1, although GM also offered a convenience charger (120 VAC) that could be used with any standard North American receptacle to slow charge the battery pack. The convenience charger was only available for vehicles equipped with lead acid batteries.

[edit] EV1 drivetrain prototypes

EV1 shown plugged into charging station

General Motors revealed several prototype variants of the EV1 drivetrain at the 1998 Detroit Auto Show. The models included diesel/electric parallel hybrid, gas turbine/electric series hybrid, fuel cell/electric version and compressed natural gas low emission internal combustion engine version.[29] In addition, during this period, GM reorganized their electronics divisions (amongst them Hughes Electronics and Delco Divisions) into Delco Propulsion Systems in order to attempt to commercialize this technology in niche markets. Several non-affiliated companies purchased inverter and drivetrain systems from DPS for vehicle/fleet conversion purposes.

The new platform was a four-passenger variant of the EV1, lengthened by 19". This design was based on an internal (GM) program for a more "marketable" EV begun during the proof of concept phase of the EV1's development. During the original EV1 R&D period, focus groups indicated one of the major market limiting factors of the original EV1 was its two seater configuration. GM investigated the possibility of making the EV1 a four seater, but ultimately determined that the increased length and weight of the four seater would reduce vehicle's already limited range to 40-50 miles - placing the first ground up electric car's performance squarely in the pack of aftermarket gas vehicle conversions. Understandably, the company elected to produce the lighter two seater design.

For hybrid and electric vehicles, the battery pack was upgraded to 44 NiMH cells, arranged in "I" formation down the centerline, which could fully recharge in just 2 hours using onboard 220 V induction charger; additional power units were installed in the trunk, thus complementing the 3rd generation 137 hp AC Induction electric motor installed in the hood. Hybrid modifications retained the capability of all-electric ZEV propulsion for up to 40 miles (64.4 km).

[edit] EV1 CNG

The compressed natural gas (CNG) variant was the only non-electric vehicle in the line-up, even though it employed the same up-stretched platform. It used a modified Suzuki 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder all-aluminum OHC engine installed under the hood. Due to the high octane rating of the CNG (allowing for a greater compression ratio), this small engine was able to deliver 72 hp at 5500 rpm.

The batteries were replaced with two CNG tanks capable of maximum operating pressure of 3000 psi. The tanks could be refueled from a single nozzle in only 4 minutes. In-tank solenoids shut off the fuel during refueling and engine idle, and a pressure relief device safeguarded against excessive temperature and pressure. With the help of a continuously variable transmission, the car accelerated 0 to 60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 11 seconds. The maximum range was 350 to 400 miles, and fuel economy was 60 mpg (in gasoline equivalent) .

[edit] EV1 series hybrid

EV1 series hybrid prototype at EVS-16 in Beijing, 1999

The series hybrid prototype[30] had a gas turbine engine APU placed in the trunk. A single-stage, single-shaft, recuperated gas turbine unit with a high-speed permanent-magnet AC generator was provided by Williams International; it weighed 220 lb (99.8 kg), measured 20 inches (50.8 cm) in diameter by 22 inches (55.9 cm) long and was running between 100,000 and 140,000 rpm. The turbine could run on a number of high-octane[citation needed] alternative fuels, from octane-boosted gasoline to compressed natural gas. The APU started automatically when the battery charge dropped below 40% and delivered 40 kW of electrical power, enough to achieve speeds up to 80 mph (128.8 km/h) and to return the car's 44 NiMH cells to a 50% charge level.

A fuel tank capacity of 6.5 US gal (24.6 L; 5.4 imp gal) and fuel economy of 60 mpg-US (3.9 L/100 km; 72 mpg-imp) to 100 mpg-US (2.4 L/100 km; 120 mpg-imp) in hybrid mode, depending on the driving conditions, allowed for a highway range of more than 390 miles (627.6 km). The car accelerated to 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 9 seconds.

There was also a research program[31] that powered the series hybrid Gen2 version from Stirling engine based generator. The program demonstrated the technical feasibility of such drivetrain, but concluded that commercial viability was out of reach at that time.

[edit] EV1 parallel hybrid

The parallel hybrid variant featured a de-stroked 1.3 L turbocharged DTI diesel engine (Isuzu Circle L), delivering 75 hp (56 kW), installed in the trunk along with an additional 6.5 hp (4.8 kW) DC motor/generator; the two motors drove the rear wheels through an electronically controlled transaxle. When combined with the AC induction motor which powered the front wheels, all three power units delivered a total output of 219 hp (163 kW), accelerating the car to 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 7 seconds. A single tank of diesel fuel could keep the car running for 550 miles (890 km) with a fuel economy of 80 mpg-US (2.9 L/100 km; 96 mpg-imp).[citation needed]

A similar technology is used in the 2005 Opel Astra Diesel Hybrid concept.

[edit] EV1 fuel cell

This variant extended all-electric propulsion capabilities with a methanol-powered fuel cell system (developed by Daimler-Benz/Ballard for the Mercedes-Benz NECAR), again installed in the trunk. The system consisted of a fuel processor, an expander/compressor and the fuel cell stack. The highway range was about 300 miles (480 km), with a fuel economy of 80 mpg-US (2.9 L/100 km; 96 mpg-imp) (in a gasoline equivalent). The car accelerated to 0-60 mph (96.6 km/h) in 9 seconds.

[edit] Who Killed The Electric Car?

On November 14, 2006, a documentary film debuted entitled Who Killed the Electric Car?. The subject of the film is the demise of the EV1. Much of the film accounts for GM's efforts to demonstrate to California that there was no demand for their product and then to reclaim every last EV1 and dispose of them. A few vehicles were disabled and given to museums and universities, but almost all were found to have been crushed, or shredded using a special machine, as seen in the documentary. GM responded to the film's claims, laying out several reasons why the EV1 was not commercially viable at the time.[32] One theory discussed in the documentary is that the EV1 program was eliminated because it threatened the oil industry.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Electric Vehicles UK
  5. ^ EV1 VIN Collection
  6. ^ EV1 Frequently Asked Questions
  7. ^ Gen II GM EV1 electric car
  8. ^ The Gen I EV1 Fire and Recall
  9. ^
  10. ^ Who Killed the Electric Car: GM and Chevron
  11. ^ Dr. F. Jameson, EV1 Timeline
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ from the page
  15. ^ Welch, David; Woellert, Lorraine. "The Eco-Cars". Business Week. Retrieved on 2007-01-08. 
  16. ^ Taylor, Michael (April 24, 2005). "Owners charged up over electric cars, but manufacturers have pulled the plug". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2007-01-07. 
  17. ^ Motor Trend, June 2006, p. 94
  18. ^ "GM CEO Outlines Company's Plans". 
  19. ^ [ Comin' Through! Toyota is on track to pass General Motors this year as the world's No. 1 auto company. How GM plans to fight back.- Newsweek International -]. Retrieved on 2008-05-19.
  20. ^ "GM, Toyota Bet Hybrid Green". Wall Street Journal. December 12, 2006. 
  21. ^ The Arizona Republic, March 15, 2005
  22. ^ Adams, Noel (December 2, 2001). "Why is GM Crushing Their EV-1s?". Electrifying Times. Retrieved on 2007-01-08. 
  23. ^ "GM EV1 WWU Resurrection". 
  24. ^ "GM to HIT University up with Legal Action over EV-1 that Runs ?? Click to flag this post". 
  25. ^ Schneider, Greg (October 22, 2003). "The Electric-Car Slide". The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2007-01-08. 
  26. ^ "The Ins and Outs of Innovation". American Plastics Council. Retrieved on 2007-01-08. 
  27. ^ EV America USDOE
  28. ^ Full Size Electric Vehicles
  29. ^ Windbergs, Thor (1998). "Motoring into the New Millennium". Colorado Engineer Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-01-08. 
  30. ^ "AutoWorld EV1 Electric: Series Hybrid". 
  31. ^ Roland, Gravel. "The General Motors/HEV Is Targeted for Consumer Acceptance" (PDF). Office of Transportation Technologies. Retrieved on 2007-06-07. 
  32. ^

[edit] External links

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