12 most innovative and eccentric electric cars - GM EV1

These electric cars are at the vanguard of what’s possible

GM EV1

The GM EV1 was the first mass-produced electric car from a major carmaker. Leased to American motorists, it promised the emission-free future states such as California were desperate for. The whole project looked promising, with more than 1,100 EV1s finding homes, but after some eight years, General Motors pulled the plug and took the cars back. Almost all the cars were crushed, with GM denying drivers the option to buy them back. A handful escaped, were stripped of their batteries and motors and have become museum pieces.

The decision to cancel the programme remains controversial today, with some claiming GM was in cahoots with the oil industry. By the standards of the day, a range of up to 100 miles was excellent, although the EV1 was powered by heavy lead-acid batteries, rather than the lighter lithium-ion cells that would follow a few years later. It remains an interesting insight into what might have been.

Whatever GM can do, its rivals have to have a go at, too. Read on to find out about Ford’s programme.