from the flashback dept
There's an awful lot of talk these days about efforts by both startups and big automakers to bring electric vehicles to the market, with the widespread expectation that they'll be commonly available in the near future. In fact, GM is apparently rushing the production of its Chevy Volt to get it to market faster than expected. That may actually be the case, but Chris Maresca writes in to point out that this all sounds mighty familiar. He was flipping through a 1980 copy of Car and Driver magazine and found the following:
The media are making all kinds of noise lately to the effect that electric cars are coming, that they’re going to help us kick our imported-oil habit, and that you’ll be able to drive them for pennies a day.It's good to remember that these sorts of plans don't always work out as announced.
A company that can develop a non-petroleum-fueled car palatable to the masses stands to make a pretty good buck. That’s why GM will shell out some undisclosed number of billions on electric vehicle development during the next five or so years.
It’s a tall order, but GM is already well on the way to pulling it off. Whether the buyers will be there, however, is a question GM is still struggling to answer.
A study commissioned by Gulf & Western predicts that we’ll have something like 34 million EVs - about one quarter of the national fleet - on the road by the year 2000. GM ... has publicly committed itself to mass-producing electric cars by the mid-to-late 1980s – probably 100,000 per year or more.