At the turn of the 20th century, more American automobiles were powered by electricity than by gasoline. Back then, electric cars were praised for being "noiseless, odorless, and free of smoke." Another plus was that you didn't have to crank them to get them started. While the frustration of crank-starting has long since been eliminated, the other advantages of electric cars remain. These advantages prompted at least one General Motors engineer to ask the question: "If a truly clean car could be created, wouldn't everyone benefit?" The answer came in the form of the EV1, the electric car that, like its predecessors, is noiseless, odorless and free of all emissions. A car that you start without a crank or a key. A car that you start with the push of a button. A car that is arguably one of the most efficient vehicles in the world.


The EV
1 electric car you see today is the result of more than ten years of research and development. It was originally inspired by the Sunraycer, a solar-powered car that raced almost 2,000 miles across Australia in five days 23 hours, or 2½ days ahead of the second-place racer. Next came the Impact, a concept car that stole the 1990 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. In 1991, a second-generation Impact was created from the concept car design in just 100 days. In 1992, 12 additional proof of concept cars were built, followed in 1993 by 30 Impacts developed specifically for use in the PrEView Drive Program. These PrEView Drive cars were driven by more than 700 customers for 2 to 4 week periods, and logged nearly half a million miles. With learning gained from this program, the 1997 production car, the Gen I EV1 was developed, and in 1999 the Gen II EV1 was launched.

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