Going Global: Los Angeles, 2000
At the end of the 20th century many people thought the world was interconnected as never before. Fast and inexpensive shipping, near-instantaneous communication, the spread of multinational corporations, and the mass migration of people looking for work and opportunity fueled a global sensibility. Changes in transportation helped alter the way people did business, the things they consumed, and how they lived.
Developed to meet California’s 1998 deadline for selling cars without tailpipe emissions, the EV1 was the first modern, all-purpose electric car designed for a mass market. Between 1996 and 1999, General Motors built 1,117 of the cars and leased most of them to consumers in California, Arizona, and Georgia. The program drew national attention to the possibilities of innovation and forced technological change to reduce pollution and oil consumption.
What Happened to Alternative Energy Vehicles?
Automakers ended their electric car leasing programs by the early 2000s, refusing to meet California emission standards and threatening legal action. The California Air Resources Board extended its deadline for production of cars without tailpipe emissions. The board also accepted sophisticated clean gasoline engine and hybrid engine technologies to reduce Los Angeles air pollution.
Electric car advocates protested automakers’ decision to suppress a promising, environmentally friendly technology. New demand for electric cars, and the market success of hybrid cars, prompted automakers to manufacture and sell battery electric cars by 2008. California motorists led the nation in adopting electric cars, with more than 100,000 battery and plug-in hybrid models on the road by 2014.
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