'99 NiMH EV1 Impressions

Derry Kabcenell

The following writeup is taken from the EV1 Club email list...

Date sent: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 13:12:38 -0800
From: Derry Kabcenell
Subject: Re: [EV1-CLUB] NiMH test drives

I had a chance to drive one of the NiMH demonstrators for a day. I didn't get a chance to test out the extended range (a good many miles had been driven to get the car to me) or charging; the reported numbers seem to speak for themselves there. I noticed several other changes in the '99, though, unrelated to the battery.

  • The '99 seems to mostly fix the slight fishtail that the '97 has at full power accelerations from a stop. I could still detect a little bit but I'd describe it as ignorable. (This is based on a single data point, however.)
  • The '99 power unit is noticeably quieter than my '97. Very subjectively, I'd say it's about half the sound or less. My specialist says that the new battery cooling fan is noisy when it comes on. I heard what I THINK was that fan, and it wasn't at all objectionable. (It may have been something else, however.)
  • The detent in the charge slot cover is indeed a nice feature. This will make it a lot easier to insert the paddle with one's hands full.
  • Trunk space is increased since the convenience charger is gone. :)
  • Smaller power electronics means that it's easier to show off the power unit to interested friends and strangers. :) :)

I did not have the occasion to check out the changes to the heating system. Also, this was not a normal production vehicle and so it did not have the interior fabric improvements I've heard about; possibly it lacked other '99 improvements as well.

Overall, I think that the greatly increased range, along with a reduction in even the minor inconveniences in the '97, should allow this car to turn the corner in customer acceptability. The average customer should now be able to fit comfortably into the available range without having to worry about driving habits or other power usage. There's no reason why demand shouldn't greatly increase with this model. I hope that this is understood well by the General Motors people who make production decisions.

Some more colors would be nice, though...

-- Derry Kabcenell

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