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GM pulls the plug on its EV1 electric coupe

01 February, 2000

GM pulls the plug on its EV1 electric coupe

General Motors has decided to stop making its pioneering EV1 battery-powered sportscar, launched in 1996. The company says interest from potential customers is declining - last year it leased just 137 of the vehicles, bringing to the total number sold to around 600.

The EV1, which cost $350m to develop, originally had a range of 80 miles, severely restricting its appeal. Although the range was extended by using more advanced batteries, sales did not improve.

GM plans to shift its efforts from all-electric cars to vehicles powered by hybrid fuel-electric systems and fuel cells. It is working with Toyota on hybrid systems and last month unveiled a fuel cell concept car with a range of 500 miles, a top speed of more than 120 mph, acceleration to 60mph in 9s, and an efficiency equivalent to 108mpg.

GM says that this car could go on sale by 2004. GM`s arch-rival, Ford, plans to start selling a family-size hybrid electric vehicle in the US by 2003. The three-phase AC motor will assist the vehicle`s internal combustion engine when extra power is needed.

Ford expects the hybrid drive to add around $3,000 to the cost of the car but this could be offset by proposed tax incentive in the US. Honda, meanwhile, has announced plans to start selling fuel-cell-powered vehicles by 2003.




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