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One of the things I have been curious about is how much the EV1 and other electric cars, (especially the Impacts used in the preview program) differed. Here are some responses by other EV1 owners who were lucky enough to have also driven an Impact...

From Jay Sloat...

Even though I've been both an Impact and an EV1 driver, the Impact PrEVue drive program was back in 1994 and so my recollections may be a little flawed. I've been reading "The Car that Could" history of the GM EV effort while on Jury duty this week and I've already learned a lot that I didn't know, but I'm only half way through the book.

Here are my recollections of the differences between Impact and EV1:

  • Performance, handling, and interior styling seem identical between the two.
  • The capacity of heating and cooling system was vastly lower on the Impact. I seem to recall there was only one setting for heat/cool and I recall driving for 30-40 minutes on cool evenings and not ever getting warm.
  • Impact brakes made a clicking sound that was 2-3X louder.
  • Impact had slightly less ground clearance.
  • Impact motor whine seemed quieter than EV1 by 10-15%
  • The convenience charger cabling was reworked for convenience.
  • Our Impact was a silver color which they don't offer now.

From Margaret Cheng...

I have test driven a few electric cars in the last few years; G-van, US ElectriCar (sp?), Honda CUV4 and Toyota Rav4. None of them was as powerful as EV1. Rav4 was the only one quieter than EV1, the others were either louder due to the electric motor or not as well soundproofed. I rode in an Impact only around in a parking lot and did not remember much about the performance of the car. The only thing impressed me was the look! I felt in love with it. How superficial I was, but it is the truth.

To answer your question about Impact, I asked the manager of Edison's Electric Transportation Division, Ms. Wendy James:

  • Technically, EV1 is 80% a different car compared with an Impact, but driving wise, the consumer should not be able to tell the difference.
  • She did not detect any compromises of the power of EV1, even though there are many improvements which could have reduced the driving power.
  • There were some added features that she felt worthy of mentioning:
    • The windshield design was improved and got rid of the distortion.
    • EV1 has the built-in creeping power even without stepping on the accelerator, so that the car would not roll backwards on an incline. (The only other electric car I drove which had this feature was Rav4.)
    • EV1 has the day time drive light.

Copyright 1997-1999 by Dave & Jean Kodama Email: kodama@alumni.caltech.edu