The EV1 aluminum structure, the lightest, simplest structure for any vehicle of its size, weighs a mere 290 pounds — just 1/10 the total vehicle weight. By comparison, a steel structure for a vehicle this size weighs about 500 pounds — or 1/6 the total vehicle weight. The vehicle curb weight for the Panasonic high-capacity lead-acid (PbA) EV1 is 3,086 pounds, and 2,908 with the GM Ovonic nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) pack. Approximately forty percent of that weight - 1,310 pounds for the PbA and 1,147 for the NiMH - is the battery pack.
Why so light? The engineers had to find ways to keep the weight of the electric car down, but without compromising efficiency, performance or safety. Though light, the EV1’s structure is extremely rigid at 25 Hertz — which means it is excellent at isolating driver and passenger from the rigors of the road.
How on earth did the EV1 engineers do it? They made ingenious use of aluminum stampings, foldings, extrusions and castings to create a structure with only 168 components, all of them bonded with a structural adhesive specially formulated for aluminum.
This extensive use of aluminum had one important side effect. It made the EV1 structure 100% recyclable.
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