Blast From The Past: 1979 Chrysler ETV-1 (videos)

MAY 16 2015 BY STATIK 12

Chrysler ETV-1

Chrysler ETV-1

Recently, the folks over at Gas2.0 dug out some interesting old Department of Energy footage pertaining to a “New Beginning” for electric cars – circa 1976, focusing on the Chrysler ETV-1, that we figured we would pass along.

Chrysler ETV-1: “The first electric test vehicle developed for US Department of Energy’s Near Term Electric Vehicle program.  It is the result of two years of hard work.  Two years of bringing together the best ideas of a dedicated team of scientists and engineers”

The challenge:  to build suitable car for “mass production in the mid-80s”.

Some specs:

0-30 mph: 9 seconds
-ability to maintain 50 mph up a mile long, 5% grade
passing speed of 60 mph
target range (urban driving): 75 miles – with 4 passengers
-18 lead acid batteries in a Chevy Volt-like configuration
-cost: $5,000 in 1976 dollars  (based on production of 100,000+ cars), which translates to $22,000 USD today

You Don't Want To Know What Happens If You Press The Big Red Button

You Don’t Want To Know What Happens If You Press The Big Red Button

As we know today, this program was wildly successful and lead to the complete domination of plug-in cars that we all enjoy driving today over the traditional internal combustion products of the 70s.

Or rather, the lone prototype – a 1979 model, ended up recently being sold off on ebay (as outlined in this Autoblog story) for $3,500 and the world had to wait another 30-odd years for EVs to become a reality.

Video Below:  Design of the ETV-1

Gas2.0

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12 Comments on "Blast From The Past: 1979 Chrysler ETV-1 (videos)"

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jdbob
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jdbob

That takes me back, I haven’t designed-in a Darlington transistor in decades. So glad we have IGBT’s and lithium batteries these days.

Steve
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Steve

Very nice video!
Imagine putting todays lithium ion batteries in that battery tray. The thing would have 250 mile range!

Back in the day the automakers were already pretty far in developing EV’s it seems. With todays technology, it becomes just a matter of willingness to do it.

Jay
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Jay

You are absolutely right about their willingness. Today’s EV’s have about the same range as an electric car prototype built the year I was born. It just goes to show they could do so much more considering engineering and battery technology has come pretty far in the last 40 years. As a side note, it seems that the design was kept by Chrysler to be used as a Dodge Dayton some years later 😉

Lensman
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Lensman

I think this serves as a reminder of just how big a leap forward the GM EV1 was in its day. Even the first generation of that car used lead-acid batteries!

Priusmaniac
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Priusmaniac
You mean Chrysler with the ETV-1 in 1979, almost two decades before the GM EV1. GM basically just took back where Chrysler left it many years before. If NiMH batteries didn’t show up as a true enabler it would have been a mere me to product. The more, once GM saw those new batteries could make it real they saw ev as a treat to their standard cars and canceled it at once instead of further developing them. GM did nothing but stand in way. Even worse they give false hope to the specialist involved that subsequently saw their efforts being crashed literally. GM retarded the ev and they would still be golf cars if it Hadn’t been for the emergence of Prius modification kits to make the Prius plug-ins with extra batteries. Those eventually evolved to Lithium ions giving ever longer range. This attracted the attention of Martin Eberhard that subsequently equipped a TZero with Lithium battery. It was then the demonstration of the exceptional capabilities of that car that started the onset of the roadster and Tesla. Later GM came back to ev in the form of the Volt but only as the condition set by the government… Read more »
LuStuccc
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LuStuccc

I agree with both of you, and as a side note, the mother of the EV1 was the “Impact” developped from 1990.

http://www.carstyling.ru/en/car/1990_gm_impact/

LuStuccc
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LuStuccc

I mean steve and jay and priusmaniac.
Next time lensman 😉

philip d
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philip d
“if it Hadn’t been for the emergence of Prius modification kits to make the Prius plug-ins with extra batteries. Those eventually evolved to Lithium ions giving ever longer range. This attracted the attention of Martin Eberhard that subsequently equipped a TZero with Lithium battery. It was then the demonstration of the exceptional capabilities of that car that started the onset of the roadster and Tesla.” I don’t think this is totally accurate. The regular Prius only played a role in convincing Martin that an EV sports car with a price premium would sell. In different interviews he does mention the role that the Prius played. He noticed how his neighbor and many others owned what he called “a Porsche and a Prius”. What he meant was that people weren’t buying Prii to save money on gas but had disposable income and wanted to make a statement or do the right thing. This convinced him that there was a market for a fairly pricey sport EV. The timeline also doesn’t support this idea since AC propulsion had a prototype up and running with Li-ion cells a year before the first Prius conversions existed. The original tzero was first built in 1997.… Read more »
Mike777
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Mike777

Battery’s were designed to have water levels topped up from a common filler tube,( in Florida ). Wouldn’t work in the northern states.

Lead acid batteries: designed to have 500 charge/discharge cycles!

Mike777
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Mike777

Ok, maybe in a dealership heated garage.

Nick
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Nick

Sure it would.

The filter tubes are empty when they are not filling the batteries.

The Dodge TEVan used this system, and many of them were operated in Michigan. It also had an 8kw restive heater, do you know the designers were thinking about the cold. 🙂

Joel Lipperini
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Joel Lipperini

For those of you who might x are about these early historic cars…ETV-1 resides in a climate controlled facility in eastern Pennsylvania along side of the Globe Union Endura car both awaiting a ground up restoration. It’s nice to see people still talk about these pioneering cars.