Electric Vehicles GM Makes Amends With Former EV1 Drivers; Even Chelsea Sexton Likes the Volt

Published on April 29th, 2010 | by Nick Chambers

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GM Makes Amends With Former EV1 Drivers; Even Chelsea Sexton Likes the Volt

Those of you familiar with the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” know exactly what kind of emotional connection former GM EV1 drivers had to their vehicles. The depth of their outrage and sadness when the EV1 program was killed off and their beloved cars recalled and subsequently crushed has led, in large part, to GM getting a bad next generation vehicle rap and inspiring a decided lack of confidence in their ability to make the upcoming Volt a success.

Recognizing that the final piece to moving forward was making peace with those disenfranchised EV1 owners, GM has has launched an effort to bring them back into the fold. In a kind of simultaneous homage to the past, mea culpa, and effort for atonement, GM is using the opportunity to show just how committed they are to making it work this time.

“Hindsight being 20/20, sure there are some things we could have done better,” said Phil Colley, Chevrolet Volt Communications, in a recent blog post on the Chevy Voltage site. “So much of what we learned from the EV1 has led us to where we are today with the Volt and if the video below is any indication, the Volt is resonating with the people who are part of the backbone of the EV movement, former EV1 drivers.”

Certainly from the quotes included in the video below, it looks like the effort is paying off. Even Chelsea Sexton, who was featured prominently in “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and has been a huge critic of GM’s plug-in car strategies, seems to be coming around. In a webchat today, Chelsea said in response to a question comparing the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt that the LEAF is “a good, capable EV. Fairly quick, handles well,” but the the Volt “is a sportier drive, more robust,” adding that the two cars serve “different purposes.”

In the same webchat, when comparing the EV1 to the Volt, Chelsea remarked the “Volt is more a real, ready for mass production car” and it has a “nicer fit and finish, and interior,” noting that standard features have come a long way since the time of the EV1 (late 90’s early 2000’s). She said she loves the EV1 because it had so much character, but that the Volt “is a real effort of its own merit.”

Even so, she doesn’t think it’s necessarily a step forward, but a “step different.” “I’d like to see them do a pure EV again someday,” she said, “but this is a step back into those waters, and with a vehicle that GM thinks will be appealing to the masses, which is what they need right now.”

Chelsea says she’s currently working on getting “Revenge of the Electric Car” — a follow up documentary — released into theaters by next spring, adding “I do think [the Volt] is a well built car, and I dearly hope GM keeps it that way. I have no intention of making ‘Who Killed the Electric Car, part II.'”

Source: GM




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  • Carbon Buildup

    Nick,

    For a real conciliatory gesture, GM should offer former EV1 drivers a big discount on a new Volt. They could be strong advocates for the car. Then again, Nissan could jump on this plan first and steal the opportunity from GM.

    • Nick Chambers

      Carbon,

      Nissan would have to have some pretty large cahones… and other people might get jealous of the special treatment… which could lead to other public relations problems of their own. Maybe it’s best just to keep it on the level playing field type game.

  • Carbon Buildup

    Nick,

    For a real conciliatory gesture, GM should offer former EV1 drivers a big discount on a new Volt. They could be strong advocates for the car. Then again, Nissan could jump on this plan first and steal the opportunity from GM.

    • Nick Chambers

      Carbon,

      Nissan would have to have some pretty large cahones… and other people might get jealous of the special treatment… which could lead to other public relations problems of their own. Maybe it’s best just to keep it on the level playing field type game.

  • Alex

    If the volt were an EV and not a plug in hybrid, i think i would be more interested. As it stands, I think the leaf has a better chance for success, if anything, simply because of the better press coverage imo.

  • Alex

    If the volt were an EV and not a plug in hybrid, i think i would be more interested. As it stands, I think the leaf has a better chance for success, if anything, simply because of the better press coverage imo.

  • Dave K.

    I’ve been agonizing over which car to buy, and have decided on the Leaf, mainly because the range is 2.5X greater. I almost never drive over 100mi. in a day and have another car for road trips. But if I were single, and had just the one car, or limited parking, or only access to 120V power,(40mile will recharge over night on 120V, for the 100mile car you really need 220V) the Volt would be a better choice. I think it’s great that they’re making two such different cars, more choices!

  • Dave K.

    I’ve been agonizing over which car to buy, and have decided on the Leaf, mainly because the range is 2.5X greater. I almost never drive over 100mi. in a day and have another car for road trips. But if I were single, and had just the one car, or limited parking, or only access to 120V power,(40mile will recharge over night on 120V, for the 100mile car you really need 220V) the Volt would be a better choice. I think it’s great that they’re making two such different cars, more choices!

  • http://Comcast Larry Sipe

    Screw GM,they treated their EV-1 people very badly. They didn’t need us then & I sure don’t need them now.

    My wife & I bought a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid last October. She really loves it,why should I ever buy GM again?? We own 3 vehicles: 1 2010 Ford

    2 1999 Chevy SL-2 saturn

    3 1997 Chevy S-10 pickup

    It’s not just the EV-1 people that was hurt. I could have waited for a Volt. If GM wants to do the right thing, then give all EV-1 owners a Volt. Until then, I will be switching to FORD.

    Larry Sipe

    Beaverton, Oregon 503-646-3056

  • Marshall Phillips

    The automobile market is huge – here and everywhere. Most people won’t want a Volt, but Chevy needs just a tiny tiny fraction of that market to buy one for it to been seen as a huge success. My drive to work is 40 miles. If I charge at work (which I can), then I’ll need no gas and the engine will last a very very long time. If I don’t charge at work, I’ll get the equivalent of about 80+ mpg (gas and electrical equivalent) and the engine will last for just a very long time. Brilliant move on GM’s part. The world will be trying to catch up to this one! Take my investment and Godspeed.

    ps. already sorting the car loan, insurance and charging station details!

  • Marshall Phillips

    The automobile market is huge – here and everywhere. Most people won’t want a Volt, but Chevy needs just a tiny tiny fraction of that market to buy one for it to been seen as a huge success. My drive to work is 40 miles. If I charge at work (which I can), then I’ll need no gas and the engine will last a very very long time. If I don’t charge at work, I’ll get the equivalent of about 80+ mpg (gas and electrical equivalent) and the engine will last for just a very long time. Brilliant move on GM’s part. The world will be trying to catch up to this one! Take my investment and Godspeed.

    ps. already sorting the car loan, insurance and charging station details!

  • http://EV1.org Doug Korthof

    Not ALL EV1 drivers forgive or forget GM’s lying and well-deserved BANKRUPTCY.

    Even Chelsea has reservations; IF GM were honest this time, it would be a good car.

    So far, the VOLT-hoax remains just that: a promise depending on the good will of immoral, perceivably crooked GM honchos who still have not apologized for killing the EV1, arresting willing buyers, and charging EV drives for ‘scratches’ on the cars that GM had already CRUSHED.

    Who believes GM, or Lutz?? Not too many, only the gullible.

    SO FAR, NO CAR. All hot air and promises.

  • http://EV1.org Doug Korthof

    Not ALL EV1 drivers forgive or forget GM’s lying and well-deserved BANKRUPTCY.

    Even Chelsea has reservations; IF GM were honest this time, it would be a good car.

    So far, the VOLT-hoax remains just that: a promise depending on the good will of immoral, perceivably crooked GM honchos who still have not apologized for killing the EV1, arresting willing buyers, and charging EV drives for ‘scratches’ on the cars that GM had already CRUSHED.

    Who believes GM, or Lutz?? Not too many, only the gullible.

    SO FAR, NO CAR. All hot air and promises.

  • ferrarimanf355

    Doug, unlike you, most EV1 drivers have this amazing capability to forgive. Yeah, I know it’s a foreign concept to you.

    And you keep saying the Volt is a hoax. You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means. Has Tesla built a factory for the Model S? No? Then why do people think that they’ll have it ready for sale by next year? And they’re talking about a SUV model? Can you say “gullible”?

    Job 1 for the Volt is November 1st, and I’m confident that GM will meet that deadline. And hopefully, GM will send you a package of humble pie made from only the finest crow.

  • ferrarimanf355

    Doug, unlike you, most EV1 drivers have this amazing capability to forgive. Yeah, I know it’s a foreign concept to you.

    And you keep saying the Volt is a hoax. You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means. Has Tesla built a factory for the Model S? No? Then why do people think that they’ll have it ready for sale by next year? And they’re talking about a SUV model? Can you say “gullible”?

    Job 1 for the Volt is November 1st, and I’m confident that GM will meet that deadline. And hopefully, GM will send you a package of humble pie made from only the finest crow.

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