This Classic American-Made Car Was an EV in 1966

Author: Jason / Date: August 9, 2022 / Tags: Corvair

This Classic American-Made Car Was an EV in 1966

( – Tesla tapped into an emerging market for electric cars. Still, Tesla is far from the first electric vehicle (EV) ever made. In fact, Robert Anderson was the first to create a crude version of a battery-operated EV in 1832. But General Motors (GM) brought EVs into the spotlight in 1966 — yes, 1966. Even though gasoline was affordable, GM saw the writing on the wall and knew a zero-emission vehicle was the car of the future.

That’s right, in 1966 Chevrolet developed the Electrovair II battery-powered vehicle. Why have you never heard of it? Well, GM never actually planned to produce this car due to its high production costs and limited market. The Electrovair II’s predecessor, the Electrovair, failed because of its heavy lead-acid batteries. The second generation utilized silver-zinc batteries, which would only last around 100 recharges. 

These expensive batteries provided a range of 40-80 miles and took as long as six hours to recharge fully. While the Electrovair may not have been a functional hit, it provided a proof-of-concept and mapped a blueprint for the future of the EV industry. Technology in the 60s, coupled with inexpensive, stable gas prices, meant EVs just couldn’t compete and weren’t popular except as engineering novelties. GM did tinker with the EV1 in the 1990s, but production was minimal, and few models exist outside of museums today. 

While Tesla may not have invented the EV concept, it did revolutionize it by designing a better battery. Thanks to better technology allowing for over 300 miles on a charge and the option of overnight home charging or fully rebounding at a commercial supercharger in under 30 minutes, the legacy of the Electrovair II is now realistic and easy to achieve. 

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