Photo by Michael Caven | flickr.com

If you’ve ever been taught anything about the history of electric cars, it’s likely you would have heard of the EV1, a production of General Motors that escalated fast in popularity, only to be recalled and destroyed by the manufacturers within a matter of 7 years.  Back in 1996, this car became legendary for being the first mass-produced vehicle of its modern era to run entirely off an electric battery.

This enormous breakthrough after an enduring period of gasoline-powered vehicles was not the first of its kind.  As a matter of fact, electric cars greatly outnumbered those fueled by gasoline at the beginning of the 20th century.

 An environmentally inconvenient time of cheap oil, the dawn of mass production, and the invention of internal combustion systems unfortunately gave way to gasoline-dependent engines within almost every car manufactured up until now.

Important side note: this explosion of non-electric cars also gave way to an astounding increase in respiratory diseases and smog alerts worldwide in the past 50 years.

GM’s rash move to disregard the EV1 was not forgotten however, and Chris Paine in particular took initiative in promoting the vehicle’s electric benefits.  Paine directed a documentary in 2006 entitled “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, which focused upon the demise of the EV1 in such a short time period. 

The EV1, originally famed by its consumers for its smooth ride, fast acceleration and zero greenhouse gas contribution was fought against by small support groups working to rid the car from manufacturing lines. 

Extensive investigation revealed that these groups were funded by major companies across the oil industry.  General Motors further influenced the marketability of the car by searching for ways to decrease demand while slowly and silently shutting down the EV1 project.

The major point of awareness offered by this situation with GM was concluded by many that they intentionally tried to sabotage this small line of emerging electric cars in fear that it would leave its existing business dominated by gasoline-powered cars in the dust.  This is an ideal example of why those managing product lines in so many manufacturing industries (especially those reliant on petroleum products) must assume a more sustainable mindset in what they are offering the public.

Fortunately, enhancing public awareness is accumulating a push towards a greater percentage of electric cars hitting the markets these days.  The top projected electric cars for the US market in 2011 include GM’s Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, the Honda Fit EV, Mitsubishi’s iMiEV, and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. 

Electrically-powered cars are now commonplace in the car manufacturing business in order to comply with the vastly growing number of consumers looking for an environmental contribution out of the vehicle they’re driving day in and day out. 

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AuthorJeffrey Leon