EV1 Electric Car

The story of the EV1 is a fascinating one. EV stood for "electric vehicle." In fact, it was the first modern mass-produced electric car. And just as quickly as they appeared on California's roads, they were gone.

General Motors made 1,117 EV1s between 1996 and 1999. They were available for lease only in California, although a small number were leased in Georgia.

People who leased the cars were part of what GM called a "real-world engineering evaluation" to determine if the EV1, which could travel about 60 miles on a charge, was feasible for American roads nationwide.

In 1999, however, GM decided it was not feasible, and canceled the project. Leasees were ordered to give their cars back to GM. Many objected, but since GM actually owned the cars, they had no choice.

The 2006 documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" theorized that GM killed the car amid pressure from the oil companies. GM denied that, saying the car was just too expensive to build and operate, and not practical for American drivers.

A couple of the cars were donated to museums, but the rest were crushed and shredded, much to the chagrin of former EV1 leasees.

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