Over the years, the environment has become an important topic for many people. The technology is out there to change the way we produce electricity and drive cars, yet because of the influence that oil companies have in policy making in congress, we have yet to see any mainstream innovations.
One of the best examples of this was GM’s failed EV1 program in the late 1990’s. In the late 1990’s GM created a car called the EV1 that would do 90 miles on a full charge, which they thought would completely change the Automotive Industry. When they pulled the plug suddenly on the program in 1999, people were dumbfounded as to why and it remains a conspiracy to this day. A quote from Car and Driver magazine offers one explanation, “The EV1’s discontinuation remains controversial, with electric car enthusiasts, environmental interest groups and former EV1 lessees accusing GM of self-sabotaging its electric car program to avoid potential losses in spare parts sales (sales forced by government regulations), while also blaming the oil industry for conspiring to keep electric cars off the road.”
It’s funny, since now GM has spent billions creating it’s new halo car the Chevy Volt, a car that can run completely on electricity, but has a gas generator to prevent a lack of range. In the March 13, 2007 issue of Newsweek, “GM R&D chief Larry Burns . . . now wishes GM hadn’t killed the plug-in hybrid EV1 prototype his engineers had on the road a decade ago: ‘If we could turn back the hands of time,’ says Burns, ‘we could have had the Chevy Volt 10 years earlier,'” referring to the Chevy Volt which was hailed as the spiritual and technological successor to the EV1.
Nobody can be sure how this came to be. Oil companies, too expensive, low consumer demand, nobody’s sure. All we know now is history is bound not to repeat itself.
Check out the upcoming sequel the the 2007 documentary, Revenge of the Electric Car.