Michael Moore did a documentary about Who Killed the Electric Car? – but it was about the wrong car.
It wasn’t the EV1 – also known as the Impact – that was killed by its creator, General Motors. It died naturally, from the same genetic defects – so to speak – that afflict all electric cars to this day. It cost too much money – and it cost too much time. Few people will willingly spend more to get less – and that is what you got with the EV1. It is what you get with all currently available electric cars, which don’t go as far as any other car and take much longer to get going again. They are mobility reducers, which is disincentive enough for most people.
But when you expect them to pay extra for the “privilege” . . .
It was hardly necessary to “kill” that.
Most people simply didn’t want it – or want to pay for it.
Moore should do a video about the Volt.
This was the electric car that GM did kill – via perhaps the most inept marketing campaign ever, which portrayed it as a hybrid rather than the practical electric car it was.
It was a unique ride. A true electric car, propelled by its motors that were powered by its battery pack, with a small gas engine onboard to serve as a carry-it-with-you generator, to keep the electricity flowing, rather than constantly draining.
The genius of this being the elimination of the necessity to stop for a recharge, as the car recharged itself – or could. With the ability to be plugged in when convenient. The last iteration (2019) could go about 50 miles on a charge, without any need for onboard recharging. That was sufficient to encompass most people’s daily commute, or very close to sufficient.
Yet the car could also travel hundreds of miles, too – its range extended by the onboard generator IC engine.
This is similar to the plug-in hybrids that are currently available but also very different. In all other cases, the hybrid’s gas engine serves a primary propulsive purpose – i.e., it functions as a gas (or diesel) engine does in any non-hybrid car. It propels the car, as well as generates electricity to recharge the batteries, which power the electric motors that help to propel the car.
This is a very important difference – if you are “concerned” about “greenhouse gas emissions” – because it means the hybrid’s gas engine is usually running about half the time – more, if you want rapid acceleration because in a hybrid, the gas engine’s power is used to regularly supplement the available power of the motors, which would otherwise not provide sufficient power to propel the car on their own.
Now, hybrids are a good deal – a much better deal – than electric cars, if you are “concerned” about “the environment.” Their battery packs are smaller, so there’s less environmental damage done extracting and processing the necessary materials, such as lithium, graphite and cobalt. The battery packs last longer, because they are used less often and not as hard. One of the huge technical issues – yet to be overcome – with electric cars is that of the effect of regular deep discharge followed by “fast” charging cycles, which rapidly age a battery and are also an intrinsic fire hazard.
Both are non-issues with hybrids because they do not “fast” charge – and because the battery pack is never fully discharged. The onboard governing electronics prevent that from happening by automatically restarting the gas engine to feed electricity back into the battery pack as needed, so that it never becomes fully discharged.
But the Volt was even better, in all respects.