Scale Model of an Ev1 Car in a Small Display Case

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The EV1 was the first modern electric car designed for a mass market. In 1990, the California Air Resources Board required automakers to offer emission-free vehicles by 1998. Of the various makes and models of electric vehicles placed on the road in California, only the EV1 was designed from scratch. Its aerodynamic shape and advanced power management systems, developed by AeroVironment Inc., GM Electric Vehicles, Hughes Electronics, and other GM subsidiaries, made the new car practical, energy efficient, and appealing to consumers. Beginning in 1996, General Motors built 1,117 EV1 cars and leased most of them to consumers in California, Arizona, and Georgia. Lessees liked the EV1, but in 2003 GM abruptly canceled the program, citing high production costs and a small potential market for future sales of electric cars. But concerns about air pollution and climate change, and consumer interest in lower energy cost per mile, created a market for electric cars. In 2010 GM began selling the Chevrolet Volt, a hybrid car with a gasoline-charged electric motor. The all-electric Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S, Ford Focus Electric, and Chevrolet Spark EV expanded energy choice while eliminating tailpipe emissions.
Currently not on view
General Motors Corporation
Physical Description
wood (base and frame material)
clear acrylic (top and sides material)
overall: 24 cm x 59 cm x 32 cm; 9 7/16 in x 23 1/4 in x 12 5/8 in
model: 11 cm x 43 cm x 20 cm; 4 5/16 in x 16 15/16 in x 7 7/8 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Robert Purcell
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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