DETROIT - General Motors says it will introduce its second-generation EV1, with an optional nickel-metal-hydride battery, this fall.
GM expected to release the car earlier this year but has delayed as it validates the EV1's new electronic propulsion system. On June 2, current EV1 owners received a letter from Bob Purcell, GM's executive director of Advanced Technology Vehicles, explaining the delay and saying GM still was committed to its electric car.
Combined with this year's retirement of GM Vice President Ken Baker and the resignation of EV1 Brand Manager Frank Pereira, the delay had filled some EV1 advocates with doubt. Baker led the EV1 team from 1990-93 and headed GM research and development until 1998. Pereira, who joined GM in 1997, resigned for undisclosed reasons. GM has named Ken Stewart, former brand manager for the Oldsmobile Intrigue, to replace Pereira.
About 600 EV1s have been sold since the car was introduced in December 1996.
The optional nickel-metal-hydride battery will increase the range of the EV1 to 140 miles from about 90 miles. The battery will be supplied by Ovonic Battery Co., of Troy, Mich. It is a joint venture of GM and Energy Conversion Devices Inc., also based in Troy.