The Sunraycer-General Motors

The EV1 traced its roots back to 1987 when General Motors and AeroVironment, an electric car specialist, combined forces to design a single-seat concept called the Sunraycer in a bid to win the inaugural World Solar Challenge – a trans-Australian race for solar vehicles. The Sunraycer project came about after GM’s Australian division pitched a … Read more

The history Sinclair C5

In the United Kingdom, electric vehicles were making headlines but, sadly, for all the wrong reasons. Although the much maligned Sinclair C5 is viewed as an object of derision in its home country, it was, until recently, one of the best-selling electric vehicles of all time. What is less well-known is that the C5 was … Read more

The Ford ETX-1

Bob King, of General Electric Global Research, had built his first battery car in 1972. Working with a Volkswagen chassis, a DC motor and lead-acid batteries, he built an electric car with a real-life range of 50 miles (80km). Since his daily commute to work was just 20 miles (32km) he could make it there … Read more

The eighties and nineties

In 1979, the Middle East was thrown into chaos when Islamic revolution swept the Shah of Iran from power and replaced him with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Foreign oil-workers fled for their lives and Iran was forced to suspend oil exports, prompting a second oil crisis in less than ten years. Although Saudi Arabia and other … Read more

The Energy Crisis 1973

Back on earth, the 1973 oil crisis gave governments around the world a wake-up call, none more so than in America, the country that had embraced the car more whole-heartedly than any other. An oil embargo by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in retaliation against US support for Israel during the Yom … Read more

California Dreaming

In 1967, the Governor of California, former actor turned politician Ronald Reagan, signed an act that established the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. The board’s job was to improve the state’s air quality by protecting the public from airborne contaminants. The automobile was directly in its sights. CARB’s other mandate was to examine and … Read more

Electric cars-british revival

Because of its size and population density, the UK was one of the first countries in the world to appreciate the damage unfettered automobile ownership could do to a small country. These fears came to a head in 1963 with the publication of the infamous Traffic in Towns report compiled by Professor Sir Colin Buchanan … Read more

Developments electric vehicles

Meanwhile, in Britain something of a silent revolution was taking place. A major post-war reconstruction phase saw new towns and prefabricated housing estates springing up across the country. To serve these concrete towns and housing developments, fleets of mobile shops and delivery vans were required. The Trojan Electrojan was a small battery-powered commercial van designed … Read more

Victor Wouk

The Kilowatt project wasn’t the end of electric vehicles for Victor Wouk. He continued his research and came to the conclusion that batteries as a power source were not practical. Instead, he advocated a hybrid – electric motor and internal combustion engine – as the answer to America’s pressing pollution problems. Wouk’s chance came in … Read more

The Henney Kilowatt

As the fifties drew to a close another company was preparing to launch an electric car on to the American market. Bankrolled by an ambitious would-be motor magnet, the Henney Kilowatt had a powertrain built by a vacuum cleaner company that was installed in the body of a Renault Dauphine. Quite why the Henney Motor … Read more