The first modern electric car - EV1 Electric
The first modern electric car – EV1 Electric

There are lots of confusion regarding which one is the first electric car in the world and people often come to the conclusion that it might be Tesla or Nissan Leaf. But. According to the latest reports published by Interesting Engineering, the first modern age electric car was launched in 1996 and is the EV1 by General Motors.

The history of electric cars goes back to 200 years even before the launch of the first combustion cars. Professor Sibrandus Stratingh of Netherlands, in 1834 made the first electric car along with his assistant Christopher Becker. The car was basically, a four-wheeled cart with non-rechargeable batteries. In the U.S a chemist, William Morrison from Des Moinus, Lowa made tan electric wagon 1890. It was a 6 passenger vehicle with a top speed of 14 miles per hour.

The British inventor, Robert Anderson developed the first crude electric engine. It was in the late 1800s or the second half of the 19th century that the first useable electric cars came on to the roads.

The first modern electric car -  EV1 Electric
EV1 Electric

In 1996, General Motors released the first mass-produced electric cars of the modern era, EV1. It was a two doors subcompact coupe with a drive train. The General Motors EV1 was designed based on the model of the Impact electric concept car which was exhibited by GM in Los Angeles Auto Show in 1990. They received positive responses from the experts for their model and later mass-produced the EV1 vehicle following the same concept. The company stopped the production of this car in 1999.

GM EVI was a 2 door coupe as mentioned earlier, and measured 4310mm in length, 1770 in width. It had a height of 1280mm. The vehicle was not just the first to use electric power in the era but also the first to use Aluminium for chassis. The body panels were made of plastic instead of metals and wheels had magnesium alloys. This reduced the overall weight of the vehicle. The drag coefficient of the vehicle was 0.19 which was very low and made it more efficient.

This electric car had a three-phase AC induction motor and the electric motor could produce 137BHP and a torque of 149nm. The car was front-wheel drive electric vehicle with single-speed reduction transmission system. General Motors had also fitted the car with an Anti break locking system, traction control system, and low rolling resistant tires.


Although the EV1 was a technological trendsetter, it was a failure in the commercial market. The demand for the electric vehicle was not as big as that for other vehicles. Therefore, the production of GM EV1 was stopped in 1999 and they ended the project in 2003, the same year that Tesla came into existence. They released their first electric car in 2008 which was powered by Lithium-ion batteries.

The launch of Tesla Model S in 2012 had changed the face electric vehicles and their market.

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