Maybe GM's EV1 electric vehicle isn't a bust after all.
The battery-powered car, for lease in parts of California and Arizona, found only 648 customers in the past two years. But what GM engineers have learned about the EV1's parts may influence future GM hybrid vehicles. Also, a few of the EV1's parts might see use in electric and hybrid vehicles built by GM's equity partners — Isuzu, Fiat, Suzuki and Subaru.
"It all began with the EV1. It delivered the equivalent of 125 mpg. The EV1 laid the foundation with the electrical equipment and controls. And it's the foundation for our hybrids and fuel cell vehicles," said GM Vice Chairman Harry Pearce at a press conference Tuesday.
Pearce showed several vehicles that he says will give GM global leadership in fuel-efficient, low-emissions vehicles: The Suzuki Mini uses the same inductive battery-charging system and power converter as the EV1. The narrow jelly bean-shaped two-door car has a top speed of 60 mph and a range of about 150 miles and is powered by a 37.5-hp motor. A standard-looking Chevrolet Tahoe, powered by a 6.6-liter turbocharged diesel Isuzu engine, delivers an average of 35 mpg in combined city-highway driving.