New electric car is environmentally friendly, but pricey
October 16, 1996
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Charles Feldman
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Are car-loving Americans ready for
electric wheels? General Motors wants to give it a try.
Beginning in December, car buyers in California and Arizona
can drive away in the EV1, billed as the first modern
passenger vehicle specifically designed to run on
The EV1's sleek design rivals the looks of many conventional
sports cars. But unlike gas-powered automobiles, it has a
large battery under the hood and lacks the standard exhaust
pipe -- because the car produces no exhaust.
"I think the technology and the environment combine to be the
major selling points of the vehicle," said marketing
representative Joe Kennedy of Saturn Corporation. The company
plans to sell the cars in test markets.
So, it's good for the environment. So what? The most
important feature for most prospective car buyers is how the
car drives. The car has no ignition key -- just punch in a
code, press a button, light the lights and you're off.
The car passed the pickup test, accelerating from zero to 60
quickly (GM says the car can go from zero to 60 in less than
9 seconds). And many drivers may find the experience of
thumbing their noses at gas stations truly exhilarating.
Service station owner Steve Speckman noted that the car "does
make a whining noise that I guess you'd get used to. It's
like a motor."
But exceptional acceleration and a keyless start come at a
price. The EV1 will sell for about $33,000, excluding the
large battery charger needed at home for the three-hour
charge or the portable unit that takes 15 hours to do the
GM would prefer you lease the car, but that can set you back
more than $600 a month, depending on where you live.
And at least with this version of the electric car, you can't
even think about going on a long trip. The car's maximum
range is 90 miles on the highway with a top speed of 80 mph.
"Where I live, people commute 120, 150, 200 miles a day,"
auto columnist Jim Powell said. "This car may not work for
By the year 2003, California will demand that 10 percent of
the cars an automaker produces be zero-polluting. GM hopes
that by introducing the EV1 now, it will be able to pass the
Related sites: Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.