Unfortunately, this film, "Who Killed the Electric Car" is referred to by the engineers who worked on the EV-1 as a "crockumentary." There was no conspiracy to kill the car, and the technology used for the 1st generation was not exactly an environmental triumph, unless you like lead plates and battery acid.
"GM never offered the EV1 for public sale. It was only available to consumers under a lease program that had a "no purchase" clause disallowing the vehicle's re-purchase at the conclusion of the lease. 660 Generation One EV1s were produced for the 1997 model year, using lead acid batteries;and each found a lessee.
In December 1999, GM released approximately 200 of the new Generation Two 1999 EV1s with the new nickel metal hydride battery. Over the next 8 months, the remaining 257 Generation Two EV1s were released to certain selected lessees which initiated a lengthy waiting list. In mid 2000, GM closed the EV1 plant. A total of 457 Generation Two EV1s were produced and all were eventually leased.
On March 2, 2000, 450 Generation One EV1s were recalled by GM due to a faulty charge port cable that GM determined would lead to heat buildup and even fire. Despite the initial claim of only sixteen "thermal incidents" and no property damage, at least one fire originating at the charge port actually occurred, destroying the car of Ron Brauer and Ruth Bygness as it charged. This did not affect the Generation Two EV1s.
Over the next two years, approximately 200 of the Generation One EV1s were re-issued to their original lessees on revised two-year leases including a new limited-mileage clause. The delays were due to design complications in retrofitting the NiMH battery. Due to the tenuous retrofitting process and limited number of recall replacement parts available, GM offered the waiting Generation One lessees the opportunity to terminate their lease at no charge, or the chance to transfer the lease to one of the few 150 Generation Two EV1s left ahead of those already on the Generation Two waiting list."
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