Remember the GM EV1 Electric Car Leased by Saturn?

SaturnFest 2009

Darryl Siry from Wired: The GM EV1 was an electric vehicle that was a technical triumph for the time. It generated passion-fueled controversy that still reverberates today. The technological innovations of the EV1 went well beyond the battery pack, inverter and AC induction motor that propelled the car without using any gasoline. The lead-acid battery pack could store only 17 kilowatt-hours for the first generation, roughly equivalent to half a gallon of gasoline. As a result, GM engineers had to do everything they could to reduce the weight and aerodynamic drag of the car to achieve a workable range. To make the car as aerodynamic as possible, they adopted a teardrop shape with covered rear wheel wells. That resulted in an unprecedented coefficient of drag of only .19, which was about half that of most cars at the time. As a result the car was unfortunately about half as comely as other cars too. To reduce weight, the EV1 engineers used an aluminum chassis and plastic body panels. They also designed the car as a two-seater, which was known to be a limiting factor in the marketplace but was considered a necessary tradeoff. Efforts to reduce weight extended to the little bits in the car, including the use of magnesium in the seat frames.

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Breaking News: Auto Industry Bailout Plan Dies in the Senate

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Associated Press: A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts. The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the UAW union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers.