Back in the late 80s and early 90s, people were tarting to turn to green technology, more often in thought than in deed, if one judges by sales of SUVs over the next decade or two, but whatever. The fact is that manufacturers were listening, more or less; this led to the introduction of the 1993 General Motors Impact EV-1, one of the world’s first modern, fully electric cars. Electric cars are powered by batteries, of course, which are wicked heavy, so the rest of the EV-1 was a wonder of lightweight composite material, which worked quite well. The interior was modern and au gout du jour, and featured digital instrumentation and air conditioning, something you simply can’t do without if you’re planning on selling cars in California.
In terms of performance, the EV-1 was no slouch, although it was no race-car, either. Equipped with 32 lead-acid batteries and two electric motors, it could reach a top speed of 100 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 mph in a very respectable 8.2 seconds. The motors were mounted directly on each front wheel, doing away with a lot of heavy gear found in conventionally-powered cars, allowing for further weight reductions.
The main drawback of the 1993 General Motors Impact EV-1 was the cost of the batteries, which would eventually need replacement, and the fact that the car had to be plugged in every night for 6 to 8 hours in order to be ready for the next day. It was sold through Saturn dealers, mainly in ther sunny state of California, where state laws required car makers to sell a certain number, or percentage of low-emissions vehicles each year.