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What really happened to the EV1:
How GM and Chevron colluded with Toyota to kill the Electric car


GM, Standard Oil, Firestone, others collude to buy up, dismantle and eliminate small urban railroads and divert rail subsidies to road construction. Rails are outclassed, can not compete and ridership declines; some rail owners cooperate by cashing-out, leaving the rail lines with unsustainable debt and deferred maintenance.

"The annals of auto history are littered with the metaphorical bones of companies which tried to compete with GM or Standard Oil" dd 03/10/2009 16:44
.. 03/10/2009 16:43
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GM, under pressure from VW Bug, produces the fuel-efficient CORVAIR. Ralph Nader (1965) conveniently kills it under false pretenses of safety and the danger of small fuel-efficient cars, perhaps for Standard Oil. Nader is rewarded with a big settlement from GM for "privacy rights".  


J. DeLorean, once the wunderkind of Chevrolet and NAO, is fired when he suggests building a sensible car; founds his own car company to do so, fails; sabotaged some say.


Ross Perot merges EDS into GM; but criticizes Board and CEO Smith. Perot fails to fix GM, bought out..





The late Roger B. Smith is perhaps embarrassed by criticism such as captured in Moore's docudrama "Roger and Me" (1989) about layoffs and the effect of shrinking GM on the industrial heart of America. GM still refuses to build sensible cars, but Smith is stung.

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Aerovironment, Hughes and the 1987 Sunraycer. Using a confidential budget of $3M, Roger B. Smith builds on the success of the GM "Sunraycer" to fund a modern Electric car concept, using two 3-phase 50 kW inductive motors and lightweight racecar construction, lead-acid batteries, 336 volts. This was the prototype of what became the "Impact".

.. 06/06/2010 14:29
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Struggles inside GM result in 50 prototype "Impact" EVs, loaned out to about 5000 beta-test drivers, who loved it, then taken back and crushed. Eventually, this became, 6 years later, the EV1. From garage to race course to GM car, a struggle highlighted in the book "The Car that Could", a highly redacted version of GM's internal disorder.

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Impact by doug 01/13/2009 9:44
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(date unknown) Limiting use of EVs, NEC 625 is designed to cut off the EV from the existing electric grid, losing their big advantage. By artificially requiring a special "charger", NEC created an obstacle to EV use. Curiously, there is no such requirement for RVs, which routinely plug-in to ordinary 220v outlets at RV parks.

 thx warren d 06/06/2010 14:30
Toyota unit PEVE purchases cross-licensing rights to the origianl NiMH from Ovonics occurred in 1990 Warren 04/14/2010 13:14
need data 01/13/2009 12:29
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Roger B. Smith Shocks the world -- and GM -- drives the Impact into the Los Angeles Auto Show, claims it shows GM's concern for the environment. This appears to doom Smith's career with GM.

know the exact date? 01/13/2009 12:29
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Roger B. Smith announces EV1 is slated for production.

GM hopes for a quick end to the EV program by doug 08/01/2008 17:58
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California Air Resources Board (CARB) decides to believe GM honest and, as a "fair broker", force all auto makers to produce 10% Zero Emission Vehicles by 2003. In the event, this is whittled down via auto and oil company lobbying, PR campaigns, and bribes.

Which month? 12/30/2008 8:57
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1990 Aug

Roger B. Smith loses position of CEO, EV1 backsliding begins.

Why did he leave? Forced out, what? 01/13/2009 12:30
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1990 Sep

Jack Smith regime. GM battles CARB to kill ZEV mandate; fails to kill it, but succeeds in rendering it useless.

Whatever became of Jack Smith? by Doug 01/13/2009 9:45
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Roger Stempel. Pretends to be in favor of EVs, but in reality is a roadblock. Revealed (2008) as not in favor of battery EVs.

Exact date needed by doug 01/13/2009 9:45
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Toyota unit PEVE purchases cross-licensing rights to the original NiMH from Ovonics.

ref needed by doug 12/29/2008 20:12
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GM purchases control of NiMH patent rights; forms GM-Ovonics, suppresses NiMH. The first EV1 is to be released with failure-prone Delco lead-acid batteries.

delco failure-prone batteries! There were good lead batteries. by doug 12/29/2008 20:13
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CARB workshop with bused-in "Californians against hidden taxation," GM retirees, WesternStatesPetroleum Assn. (WSPA). WSPA funded Joe Cerrell and Assoc.

WSPA is now on first-name basis with AQMD. by doug 01/12/2009 13:09
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CARB M.O.A. kept secret from the public.

If it had been shown to the public, as it legally should have been, the public would have pointed out that it had terrible flaws that favored big oil and hurt EVs. by Doug 12/30/2008 7:34
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1996 Dec

EV1 released with bad batteries and for inflated lease price of $599/month. Despite this attempt to kill the EV1, lessees step up and are enthusiastic, even standing battery failures and "christmas tree" events.

.. by doug 01/12/2009 13:01
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1997 May

Honda and Toyota blindside GM with release of HondaEV (lease to individuals possible) and RAV4-EV (lease only to fleets) at a cost of $499/month lease, and with Nickel-Metal Hydride NiMH batteries that were superbly reliable and had over 100 miles range per charge, were not affected by cold, and were better-built EVs than the EV1. Toyota, coming out of nowhere, using NiMH under a grandfathered cross-licensing deal with Stan Ovshinsky. Toyota had been excluded from the American Autombile Manufacturers' Assn, so had not been in touch with GM.

LESS affected by cold by dk 01/12/2009 13:09
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1997 Jun

GM reluctantly lowers lease price for EV1 with inferior-batteries to $499/month, still with no purchase option. Existing lessees are not allowed a refund for the overages they paid prior to the lower lease charges, engendering awakening to GM hostility to EV1 and EV1 lessees.

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.. by doug 01/12/2009 13:01
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Ovonics applies for and receives Japan recognition of its NiMH patent number 4,623,597 a critical danger as we later found out.

 .. 01/13/2009 12:30
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Recurrent EV1 GM-Delco battery failures.

Why did GM use DELCO? Internal dissention. by dk 01/13/2009 9:46
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Finally, GM begins replacing Delco batteries with PSB EV-EC 1260 "upgraded" batteries. This replacement increased range to as much as 110 miles, and the PSB batteries were as reliable as the NiMH. These upgraded packs generally proved flawless and reliable, all were shredded when EV1 crushed.



Jingoistic American Auto Mfg. Ass. (AAMA) disbanded, reforms as Auto Alliance (AAM), including Toyota, which had previously been excluded. Was this a payback for Toyota killing the RAV4-EV?

Was this a sop to Toyota, to get it to drop its EV program? And to preclude anything like the NiMH surprise of 1997? by Doug 01/13/2009 9:47
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1997 EV1 recall, based on one alleged fire. "voluntary" recall became "mandatory" when cars were taken away without a choice. 14 long months later, they were returned under new lease conditions. ONLY the upgraded EV1 were released, the rest crushed.

Exact date needed by dk 01/13/2009 9:47
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dd by dd 01/13/2009 9:47
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CARB Battery Technology Assesement Workshop estimates the cost of NiMH batteries at less than $13,000 per car, but auto makers still refuse to build EVs. CARB admits auto makers claim it's too expensive and that fuel cells are wildly more costly, ignoring contradiction. GM will later refuse to use NiMH in VOLT concept car, hoping for unproven, more expensive Lithium batteries.








2000 Oct 10

GM unloads GM-Ovonics to Texaco, which

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2000 Oct 16

six days later announces its merger into Chevron. Chevron, the successor to Standard Oil of California, thus works with GM to control the technology of competing transport.






Ovonics patent rights are adjudged valid in Japan, very unusual, but preparation for the tragic events to follow.

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2001 Mar

Ovonics files suit against Toyota et al.

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Chevron's unit cobasys funds and joins the lawsuit against Toyota

.. 01/25/2009 15:09
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Chrysler, GM and some GM dealers sue CARB in Federal Court to avoid any requirement that EVs be mass-produced and sold. GW Bush Administration files amicus brief in favor of automakers. Case settled by Memorandum of Understanding tying EV production to consumer demand (makers actively suppress demand by several means, aside from failing to promote their EV products.) [heh 01/22/2009 11:39] Thus snapping the trap that the Auto Alliance laid for CARB back in 2000, when CARB foolishly allowed ZEV credit for high MPG cars.

.. 01/25/2009 15:22
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2002 Mar

Toyota, after covert signals, unaccountably becomes the only modern car company to offer an Electric car for sale to the general public. Toyota agreed to sell, without trick or artifice, the Toyota RAV4-EV to the general public, the only time Electric cars were ever offered for sale. What Toyota failed to disclose was that they only had about 300 Toyota RAV4-EV left, and that they used an obsolete 1996-99 RAV body that no longer was in production; and they did not reveal the uncertainty about being able to support the batteries, due to the Chevron lawsuit.

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.. 01/25/2009 15:21
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2002 Nov

Toyota abruptly cancels RAV4-EV sale by taking the information off its website. That is the only signal, but Toyota honors committments, taking until Sept., 2003, to put together the last RAV4-EV. RAV4-EV sales program is abruptly cancelled because of "low demand". Toyota did not claim it was too expensive or impossible to build. No admission that this might be a quid-pro-quo for allowing Toyota in AAM, or might be a condition of settling Chevron's lawsuit, or not deliver the RAV4-EV without redesign using newer RAV.

.. 01/25/2009 15:21
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2002 Dec.

Settlement agreement negotiated between Chevron-Ovonics on the one side, and Toyota-Panasonic-etc. on the other. Toyota agrees to pay royalties, agrees to eliminate certain transportation applications of its use of NiMH, and pays a one-time fee of $30 million. No more new EV-95 replacement batteries are ever made available for sale.

Note this is simultaneous to Toyota killing the RAV4-EV by Doug 01/13/2009 9:48
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.. by dd 01/13/2009 9:48
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2003 Mar

CARB hearing on killing the BEV electric car, but Allan Lloyd avoid vote while 82 EV proponents are present with only 2 auto company opponents; closes public hearing, postpones vote until next month, when public comment can be excluded.

The worst of them was Ford, which shmoozed with Lloyd endlessly, wasting our time by Doug 01/13/2009 9:49
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2004 Jul 7

Settlement agreement signed and finalized between Chevron-Ovonics and Toyota-PEVE.

In reality, the agreement had been defined in Dec., 2002 by doug 01/12/2009 13:04
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"Don't Crush" campaign to save Th!nk started by Marc Geller; expanded by Ranchers Dave and Heather Raboy, contractor Will Korthof with aid of Rainforest Action Network to save RangerEV all-electric trucks. After this successful vigil in Sacramento, it is:

.. dd 01/15/2009 16:17
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"Don't Crush" expanded to try to save 77 or 78 remaining GM EV1 at the Burbank GM training facility. We knew GM would never agree to sell its cars, but had to try anyway. Used in the upcoming movie about the EV1 by Chris Paine.

There was also picketing of GM dealers dd 01/15/2009 16:18
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"Don't Crush" expanded try to save fleet-lease Toyota RAV4-EV (those purchased in 2002 were never in danger). Howard Stein and spouse Linda Nicholes were paradigms of lessees who didn't want to lose their RAV4-EV, including SCE and others. This culminated in vigils and picketing of Toyota dealers. In response to Customer requests, Toyota changed its policy, allowing Santa Monica and other fleet lessees, including Linda, to keep their Toyota RAV4-EV. A major victory, and thanks to Toyota.

Toyota later went around and bought-back these "rights", particularly at Newport Beach, paying $500 for the right to repossess each RAV4-EV. But they were donated and used, no longer crushed. doug 01/15/2009 16:19
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 GM arrested would-be EV1 buyers Alexandra Paul and Colette Divine. L.A. Times' Dan Neil calls for shakeup at GM; GM re-evaluates its ad budget with L.A. Times.






2006 Aug

Who Killed the Electric Car is released, a public relations disaster for GM. GM pays for Google "hot words" for all those in the movie, links to "the real reason we killed the EV1".

.. dd 01/15/2009 16:03
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2006 Fall

GM announces its intention to produce a serial hybrid, tentatively called the "volt". But GM refuses to use proven lead or NiMH batteries, either of which can easily yield the required 40 miles all-electric range of the Extended Range EV ("EREV"), as GM terms the serial hybrid. GM rationale is supposed to be:

 .. dd 01/15/2009 16:03
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NiMH is "too heavy" to sustain an EV for 40 all-electric miles. But this shows more about the ignorance of the GM folks who say this than it explains about the car.

 .. 01/15/2009 16:03
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NiMH is said to be "scarce" and not in sufficient supply for a production program. But most Nickel is used for Monel and stainless steel, use in batteries is a tiny, tiny fraction of total use -- and it recycles with a scrap value, like aluminum, lead, iron, copper, etc.


NiMH is said to be "too expensive" ... but Lithium is always more expensive than NiMH...


GM says Lithium has superior energy density and space parameters; but on the VOLT, GM has to pay for 16 kWh to access only 8 kWh in useable energy for 400 lbs., while the 1000 lb. NiMH battery in the Toyota RAV4-EV has 30 kWh of accessible energy or 50% more, in practice, than Lithium. A 400 lb. NiMH battery pack would have 12 kWh of accessible energy, more than could be accessed from the 16 kWh of the VOLT pack.


Any other GM arguments??

 .. dd 01/15/2009 16:03
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GM asks for "back-end" subsidies for previously sold gas-guzzlers via GMAC, and future subsidies for building and discounting existing gas-guzzling SUV.
Hon. Nate Holden calls for no bailout without EV1 production.
Dan Neil calls for GM to be nationalized.





2009 Jan

Detroit Auto Show at which Wagoner claims GM's future is electric but doesn't know the difference between "assembled in US" and "manufactured in US". Still no revision of GM's false claims about why it had to crush the EV1 and fight against ZEV mandate.

.. dd 01/15/2009 16:06
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I enjoyed your website, and appreciate the time invested in it. Until seeing the documentary on Planet Green on television, I had completely forgotten about the EV1. I now remember seeing them, and didn't pay much attention to them then, as I thought they were hideous. Now, after remembering them, and seeing the story behind them, I believe it is a really sad thing that we don't still see these great little cars today. I'd love to have one myself. I'm completely and thoroughly disgusted that those great cars were destroyed. Thank you again for a great site and such a wealth of information. Long live the EV1!!!! Clint Lowe 12/03/2009 21:42
comments welcome 01/13/2009 12:31

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Hugh E. Webber

Jan. 2009