This collection documents the design, testing, production and promotion of the first zero-emission electric car produced by a major car company, the General Motors EV1. The materials include photographs, promotional booklets and marketing, press coverage, and publications, as well as design details and specifications, describing the process by which this ambitious and controversial vehicle was produced and released to the public in the mid- to late 1990s. This collection would be of interest to researchers in the areas of innovative design, automobile marketing, environmental initiatives, and the automotive industry.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains materials relating to General Motors's development, promotion, and production of the EV1, the first commercially-available zero-emission electric vehicle, between 1990 and 2005. Included are design diagrams, photographs, and internal communication, but the vast majority of items are publicity materials such as press releases, newspaper and magazine coverage, and promotional material for auto shows.
Due to the nature of the donation (twenty-three separate donors from the original EV1 design team) there is some duplication of materials throughout the collection, though efforts were made to keep duplicates to a minimum.
This collection is arranged into six series.
Series 1: Design, Testing, and Production Materials, 1991-1997
Series 2: Event Photographs, 1993-1994, 2000
Series 3: Press Coverage Materials,1991-2005
Series 4: Product Promotion Materials, 1990-2002
Series 5: Publications,1994, 1996-1999
Series 6: Post-Production Materials, 1999, 2002, 2004-2005
Biographical / Historical:
The General Motors EV1 is considered one of the most technologically advanced vehicles produced in the twentieth century and was the most energy-efficient car in the world at the time of its premiere. Manufactured for the consumer market by GM in 1997, EV1 featured many engineering innovations in aerodynamics, electric drive systems, electronic controls, and hydraulic braking, and was propelled by a rechargeable lead-acid battery pack, producing zero emissions. It was issued twenty-three patents for its advanced features, as well as winning several awards and competitions, including the electric vehicle world land speed record in 1994.
In early 1990, partly based on a boast by departing president of GM Roger Smith that electric vehicle technology was a reality, the state of California mandated that the major auto makers produce two percent of their vehicles emissions-free by 1998. Between 1990, when the barely-functional prototype car Impact debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and 1994, when a fleet of fifty Impacts were premiered across the nation in the prEView Drive Program, a team of engineers worked on design, manufacture, and proof of concept vehicles that would eventually develop into the EV1: the first zero-emissions car to be released to consumers. The car's components were manufactured in several stages and locations: the assembly plant was in the Craft Centre in Lansing, Michigan; the motors were produced by Delco Remy in Anderson, Indiana; the battery pack, consisting of thirty-two 10-volt lead-acid batteries was produced by Delco Remy at their plant in Muncie, Indiana; and the power inverter and magnetic battery charger were constructed by Hughes Aircraft in Torrence, California.The finished car emitted zero pollutants, could accelerate from 0-60 mph in eight seconds, and had a range of eighty miles between charges. During 1995, the manufacturing process was refined, and the EV1 was announced in 1996 at both the Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows. The following year it became available to consumers through the Saturn division of GM marketing. However, due to concerns about parts and maintenance for the life of the car, GM only offered it on three-year lease programs, never for sale outright.
Though the EV1 did relatively well in the California and Arizona markets its first year, the 1999 EV1 Generation II showed a significant decline in consumer interest. The lease-only option was not appealing to many, and the limited range of the car, combined with a lack of publicly available charging stations, was a significant deterrent. Despite initial plans to expand the fleet of EVs by producing an S10 pickup truck with the new technology, and enthusiastic support from EV1's small but loyal customer base, GM stopped production on EVs altogether before the year 2000. When the last lease ran out in 2003, the fleet was recalled into storage, and except for a few that were donated to museums and universities for engineering programs and design study, the remaining EV1 vehicles were crushed and recycled in 2005.
The legacy of the EV1 remains in most of the hybrid fuel-electric vehicles and fuel-cell technology produced in the twenty-first century. It vaulted General Motors into the lead for development of advanced technology vehicles, beginning the long and ongoing effort to reduce US dependence on foreign oil as well as addressing the environmental issues caused by gasoline-powered engines.
Related artifacts were donated to the Division of Work and Industry. See accession 2005.0061 and 2006.031-.034.
Collection donated in 2006 by Jill Banaszynski, General Motors Corporation; Patrick M. Bouchard, General Motors Corporation; Loran D. Brooks; Dan Brouns; Linda Ludek Brouns; Ray Buttacavoli; Laurel Castiglione, General Motors Corporation; Dennis H. Davis, General Motors Corporation; Robert E. DeGrandchamp; James N. Ellis; Hesham Ezzat, Marty M. Freedman, General Motors Corporation; Jamie Grover, Saturn Corporation; Steve M. Kunder, General Motors Corporation; Michael Kutcher, General Motors Corporation; Linda J. Lamar, General Motors Corporation; Kuen Leung, General Motors Corporation; Thomas M. Lobkovich; Joanne Mabrey, General Motors Corporation; Joseph F. Mercurio, General Motors Corporation; William L. Shepard, General Motors Corporation; Steven Tarnowsky; Lance Turner, General Motors Corporation.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
A-MAN (African American Male Achievers Network) Search this
0.5 Cubic feet (3 boxes)
Betacam sp (videotape format)
1995 June 1
Collection documents inventor Hal Walker and his research and development work with lasers and electric automobiles.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains original (Betcam SP), master (Betacam SP), reference (1/2" VHS) videos and photographs documenting Spencer Crew, Secretary I. Michael Heyman, Arthur Molella and Jerome Lemelson in honor of the establishment of the Lemelson Center and the first Innovative Lives Program (a series of lecture-demonstrations by American inventors and entrepreneurs for young people--by Hildreth "Hal" Walker. Hal Walker discusses his background and how he became an inventor. With John Travis, a chemist from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Walker demonstrates the properties and applications of lasers, including measuring the distance to the moon and voice communications. Walker developed laser equipment that projected images of the moon back to the earth during the 1969 Apollo moon walk.
Collection is arranged into four series.
Series 1: Original videos
Series 2: Master videos
Series 3: Reference videos
Series 4: Photographs
Biographical / Historical:
Hal Walker was born in 1933 in Louisiana. In 1951, he joined the Navy and served for four years as a qualified electrician's mate. In 1955, Walker joined Douglas Aircraft Company installing radar systems and at the same time began taking classes at L.A. City College. Soon after joining Douglas Aircraft, a series of layoffs occurred and Walker joined RCA working with the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). He continued to sharpen his technical and managerial skills developing industrial and medical uses for lasers, plasma, quantum physics, and holography. By 1981, Walker joined Hughes Aircraft, the organization that brought Laser Target Designator Systems (LTDs) to the United States Army's weapons inventory. Walker retired from Hughes Aircraft in 1989 and with his wife, Dr. Bettye Davis Walker, founded A-MAN, the African American Male Achievers Network, Inc. Science Discovery Learning Center. A-MAN's mission is to utilize Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related projects as a motivational tool and advance the educational achievement, and the intellectual and career development of African-American, Latino and other minority students pre-K thru 12thgrades.
Created by the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation in 1995.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions. Signed copies of releases for Hal Walker and Mark Lee Stephens on file.
Curtiss-Wright Corporation Records, Acc. XXXX-0067, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Generators ; motors ; regulators ; miscellaneous electrical apparatus : switches , relays , solenoid assemblies , overload breakers ; instructions and technical service bulletins ; with technical design drawings or blueprints ; electric starting and lighting systems for motor boats and automobiles ; electric starting and lighting systems in Haynes automobiles ; A.C. power system ; alternator ; voltage regulator .
Trade catalog, price lists and manual
Black and white images
8 pieces; 2 boxes
Type of material:
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Topic (Romaine term):
Industrial equipment or mechanical machinery (including supplies and components) Search this
[Trade catalogs on automobile analysis equipment; generator, battery and starter test equipment; coil testers; timing lights, tachometers, valve spring and clutch spring testers; exhaust gas analyzers; tune-up equipment]