Do you recall the GM EV1 electric vehicle back in the late 1990s? Go watch “Who Killed the Electric Car” and then come back. I’ll wait…
Still trying to figure this out after all these years, but after GM produced and leased 1,117 GM EV1 electric vehicles and let them out on the roads for a few years, they ceased to exist. Leases weren’t renewed and some enthusiastic owners offered to pay to own this ahead-of-its-time electric vehicle.
GM refused, and all but 40 went to the scrap yards, to be crushed. The other 40 GM EV1s though, are still out there. GM donated them to universities and museums, on the sole condition that they never be registered or driven on public roads. Who would see one of these and not want to resurrect it?
In Wisconsin, a lot of work was done to bring their GM EV1 back to life. Cobbling parts from a Ford Ranger EV and individual cells donated from University of West Virginia was just the beginning. Getting a controller to work would prove to be a big hurdle, besides trying controllers from Solectria and Ballard, they had to reprogram it and modify the suspension just to make the Ballard fit.
Probably to add insult to injury – the GM EV1 wouldn’t wake up – they’d installed it backwards. Oops. Once they got their stuff together though, after a year of work they were able to actually drive the car. They’re still not allowed to drive it on public roads, but that hasn’t stopped another enthusiast and his students from turning their attention to something they’re calling the “Silver Streak,” but more on that, tomorrow.