Do you know where the electric car started?
While we all feel the Prius was the first true hybrid car to come to market it actually was simply the first affordable hybrid model and many feel the electric car market was born out of the Prius. This would seem to be a natural progression going from an all gasoline powered vehicle to one that has an electric motor as part of its power system and then finally on to have at least one variation that was all electric, but this was not actually what brought about the EV models we see today.
The first EV model actually showed up nearly twenty years ago, which dispels any idea you might have that the EV revolution is a new concept. The original EV was actually called the EV1 by GM who made this car to have a range between 70 and 100 miles and offered the car as a lease model for $500 per month. The EV1 offered a distinct and attractive style that was enjoyed by many to be a great look and feel for the car. After 450 charges you needed to replace the batteries in the EV1, but it actually had 137 horsepower; not bad for the 1990s.
Instead of continuing to develop this technology as we approached the 2008 crash of the auto world, GM chose instead to crush all but one of the cars in a controversial manner. Had they stuck with EV technology and the advancements needed they might have been the first to market with a 200 mile range car, but as the company that was expected to produce fantastic gas-powered machines such as the Silverado, Camaro, Corvette and plenty of sedans and SUVS, GM had to refocus in this area and abandon the thought of the EV1 and any successor it might have.
Although the Chevrolet Volt and soon the Bolt are both electric powered vehicles with a specific range, Tesla is credited with being on the leading edge of the EV revolution. Certainly Tesla has offered the longest range and found a way to make EV technology that lasts longer than 450 charges, but GM is not far behind with the Volt and soon to be released Bolt. With these two models and the offerings from Tesla, while not forgetting or leaving out the Nissan Leave or BMW i3, we see a major increase in the number of EV models.
For this advancement we can thank the original GM EV1 that had the right power and good range to show us this was certainly possible. Soon we may see that every auto brand has at least one EV model in its lineup and uses similar technology to Tesla by using the floor as the battery for the car. Until such time we can admire the huge strides already being made even if the range so far still leaves us with a need to remain close to home, at least until an EV model is made with a range of at least 500 miles.