With the usual caveats about the reliability of newsgroups posts as a source, I found this
interesting. Quoted in full:
"Some facts about the EV1, the research and development of which
was produced by _my_ division of GM, Hughes Electronics:
General Motors lost two billion dollars on the project, and lost
money on every single EV1 produced. The leases didn't even cover
the costs of servicing them.
The range of 130 miles is bogus. None of them ever achieved that
under normal driving conditions. Running the air conditioning or
heater could halve that range. Even running the headlights
reduced it by 10%.
Minimum recharge time was two hours using special charging
stations that except for fleet use didn't exist. The effective
recharge time, using the equipment that could be installed in a
lessee's garage, was eight hours. Home electrical systems simply
couldn't handle the necessary current draw for "fast" charging.
NiMH batteries that had lasted up to three years in testing were
failing after six months in service. There was no way to keep
them from overheating without doubling the size of the battery
pack. Lead-acid batteries were superior to NiMH in actual daily
Battery replacement was a task performed by skilled technicians
taking the sorts of precautions that electricians do when working
on live circuits, because that's what they were doing -- working
on live circuits. You cannot turn batteries "off." This is the
reason the vehicles were leased, rather than sold. As long as
the terms of the lease prohibited maintenance by other than a
Hughes technician, GM's liability in the event of a screw-up was
much reduced. Technicians can encounter high voltages in hybrid
vehicles. In the EV1, there were _really_ high voltages present.
Lessees were complaining that their electric bills had increased
to the point that they'd rather be using gasoline.
One of the guys I worked with transferred to the EV1 program
after what was by then a division of Raytheon lost the C-130 ATS
contract. He's now back working for us. He has some interesting
stories, none of them good, though he did like the
company-subsidized apartment in Malibu. He said the car was a
dream to drive, if you didn't mind being stranded between
Bakersfield and Barstow on a hot July afternoon when a battery
blew up from the combined heat of the day and the current draw."