GM EV1 NiMH
Oddball classic electric cars turn up on internet classifieds from time to time.
Last week, we may have pointed to the ultimate example—the first of 43 1960 Henney Kilowatts, made by an upstate-New York limousine and ambulance company that had fallen on hard times.
It made us wonder what types of classic electric cars our readers might be most interested in restoring or owning themselves as icons of progressive EV milestones.
1960 Henney Kilowatt [for sale on Hemmings]
Our Twitter poll last week asked, "Which classic electric car (or truck) would you like to restore?"
We came up with four possibilities from different electric-car eras.
On that scale, the forlorn Henney Kilowatt garnered the fewest votes in our poll, with only 11 percent of our respondents picking perhaps the most iconic electric car of the 1950s era (though they were sold to the public only in 1960.)
Beyond that, our readers split evenly between the original electric-car era more than 100 years ago, before inventor and GM engineer Charles Kettering came up with the electric starter that gave gasoline engines life, and the most recent classic-car era for electrics, the late 1990s: 22 percent each chose the 1909 Baker electric, of the type that comedian Jay Leno occasionally drives around LA from his collection, and the 1998 Ford Ranger Electric pickup.
EV-startup Rivian seems to have revived interest in the few electric pickups that Ford and GM produced in the late '90s.
By far the largest proportion of our readers, however, sought the ultimate forbidden fruit of classic EVs: the 1996 GM EV1.
More than any other electric car, the EV1 provided a proof-of-concept for the modern electric car. It also became a movie star in "Who Killed the Electric Car?"—the movie that some might say justified the EV1's existence more than the car itself did.
Which classic electric-car car (or truck) would you like to restore?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) May 7, 2019
Finding an EV1 to restore, however, could be an insurmountable challenge for the 45 percent of our respondents who chose the EV1. Out of the 2,200-some GM built, it crushed all but about 60, which were donated to museums and research institutions. All but one of those had their electrical systems disabled and their recipients were subject to agreements not to rebuild them to drive on public roads. The only working example is in the Smithsonian museum in Washington.
Perhaps that won't dissuade a few members of our intrepid audience.
As always, remember that our Twitter polls are unscientific, because of their low sample size, and because our respondents are self-selected. In this case, we're pretty sure no one is expecting scientific results.