(This post was originally written for, and appeared here, at Hooniverse.com.)
From 1996 to 2003, GM built an electric car called the EV1. The car was a huge hit with environmentalists. Actor Ed Begley Jr. had one and sung its praises from the rooftops. The electric car was finally being built by a full-scale manufacturer and times were good in EV land. Alas, all of GM’s good ideas needed to be squashed to make room for more Cavaliers and Suburbans. GM recalled every single EV1, which could only be leased, not bought. Save a precious few that ended up in museums, they were sent to the crusher. GM sited lack of sales (despite a waiting list for new EV1s) and an inability to support such a small number of vehicles profitably as reasons for ending the EV1 program. The interesting saga can be witnessed in an overly dramatic documentary called Who Killed The Electric Car by Chris Paine (2006).
While all this was going on, Chevrolet quietly adapted the electric powertrain technology to their trusty S10 pickup. Most of these were made available as fleet lease vehicles, although some 60 of them were actually purchased outright. This one is now available on a government liquidation auction site. Click it for more on this ultra-rare truck.
The truck looks like it has been sorely neglected, but it also looks like it is in decent shape. Currently, it is doing its impression of a hippo wallowing a mud puddle.
Outwardly, the only real difference between the electric S10 and any other S10 is the air damn below the front bumper and the “Electric” sticker on the door. Under the skin, however, it is a whole different story. To start with, S10EVs were front wheel drive. The electric motor is mounted transversely. A heat pump operated both the A/C and the heater. The battery pack of 27 lead-acid Delco batteries was mounted in the bed of the truck, and weighed in at 1,400 pounds.
The ad doesn’t give much information, but it does state the the truck only has 13,633 miles. With miles that low, this could be a real steal if the bid amount stays low. (If the tuck wasn’t located at the Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, I would be starting with the minimum bid of $150.00 today.)
The entire text of the ad reads:
“1997 GM Corp Chevrolet Electric S-10 2X4 pick up VIN 1GCDE14H8V8190213, odometer indicates 13,633 miles, AM/FM radio, AC, electric motor info unknown, battery is in bed of truck Type unknown, truck has key, operating condition of truck unknown due to battery being disconnected with no charge, Buyer Load, No GL Assistance Available”
All of the S10EV trucks that were on leases were gathered just like the EV1 cars and crushed. So there are probably, at most, 60 of this particular model in existence. It could as easily be a museum piece as a shade tree hoon’s summer project. It will be of particular interest to see the final sale price of this EV.
My hope is that one of you hoons buys it and keeps us updated.
(For more information on the S10EV, see this previous post from Hooniverse writer Jim Brennan.)