3000 MILES IN THE ALL-ELECTRIC GM EV1 AUTOMOBILE
MAY 13, 1998 - JUNE 2, 1998
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GM EV1 ELECTRIC CAR COMPLETES 3,000 MILE CROSS-COUNTRY ODYSSEY
Factory Fetes Film Editor Following Triumphant Textbook Trek
Troy, Michigan - June 2, 1998 - Completing 3,275 miles in an electric vehicle designed to go only 80 miles on a charge, L.A.-based film editor Kris Trexler piloted his personal GM EV1 electric vehicle across an impromptu finish line in front of General Motors today, ending a personal odyssey which began in Los Angeles three weeks ago. The silent, fire-engine red sports car broke through a paper barrier set up in front of the GM 's Advanced Technology Vehicles Division headquarters, as additional EV1's, which linked up with Trexler at his final Farmington, MI charging stop, formed an honor guard. This is the first time that such a cross-country trip has been attempted by a modern era, production electric car.
"All of us at GM Advanced Technology Vehicles are thrilled with Kris Trexler's achievement," stated GMATV executive director Robert Purcell, who was on hand for the welcoming ceremonies. "His cross-country trip lends credence to the outstanding engineering and manufacturing evidenced by the EV1." Trexler, for his part, profoundly agrees: "GM created an incredible car. It performed flawlessly during this challenging trip, as it has for the entire 17,500 miles that I have owned it."
Trexler, a film editor who recently won an Emmy® for his work on the Ellen television series, began his self-financed, self-organized "Charge Across America" on May 12 th in Los Angeles, to a rousing send-off by officials and dignitaries at the L.A. Department of Water and Power. For the balance of his trek, he was to receive uncommon support from similar electric utilities in nearly every state he crossed. "I set out on this adventure," said Trexler, "to make a very public demonstration of the viability of electric vehicles. I am passionate about cars with electric propulsion as a permanent alternative to internal combustion engines. I think I have succeeded." Trexler received constant media coverage along his route, and a Web site set up to chronicle his daily progress -- which he personally maintained from his motel rooms each night -- received over 12,000 visits since the "charge" began.
The 3,275-mile journey took Trexler across from L.A. to Phoenix, then up to the Grand Canyon and I-40, to follow the path of historic Route 66. After St. Louis, he continued on up through Indianapolis, where several GM plants building EV1 components rolled out the red carpet for him, and then on into Michigan to Troy, the birthplace of the EV1. The high point of the trip, he said, was a rather emotional and unforgettable visit with GM employees at the Indianapolis plants, where his arrival was cheered. "Their pride in the workmanship put into this revolutionary vehicle was very evident in their faces," said Trexler. "They were obviously thrilled to see their creation perform so admirably on my cross-country trip." The reception at the finish line was similar, where perhaps as many as 150 ATV employees turned out for the event, some driving in from outlying sites. Trexler presented GM's Purcell with his AAA "Triptik," a mile-by-mile customized map booklet outlining the entire route.
The undertaking was logistically challenging. The EV1 depends upon internal lead-acid batteries which under ideal conditions will power the car for about 80 miles. Mountainous terrain, such as that which Trexler crossed for the first third of his trip, as well as cold weather, significantly reduce the range of the car. In normal use, batteries are charged overnight with a 220v, hard-wired home charging system, or at public inductive charging stations arrayed around the markets where the EV1 is currently available. For emergency use, owners can carry a 110v "convenience charger." For his "Charge Across America," most of which would be outside the EV1's normal territories, Trexler mounted the 220v charger on wheels and carried it with him in the EV1. Since 220v is not a readily-available form of power, Trexler spent months prearranging charging stops with electric utilities, some of whom went to great lengths to assure availability. "Arizona Public Service, for example, dropped a line and an outlet box from a pole in the middle of the desert, painted it red, and gave me directions to the pole," said Trexler. At other times, getting 220v was impromptu: at fire stations, schools, and machine shops. In all, Trexler stopped to charge 60 times over three weeks. He used the slow 110v convenience charger only 8 times.
The charging infrastructure and current battery technology are the limiting factors to widespread adoption of electric vehicles, Trexler maintains. Currently, there are about 450 EV1's on the road, mostly in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix, and Tucson. In cooperation with local electric utilities, GM has been installing public charging stations at locations such as shopping centers in those metropolitan areas. "Unlike gas stations, however," said Trexler, "there is certainly not a charging station 'on every corner.' " On the battery front, GM recently announced the availability later this year of EV1's with a new nickel-metal-hydride battery (NiMH) which is expected to double the car's range, and make it immune to cold-weather range problems. Also, yesterday, in a joint announcement with Toyota Motor Corporation at the Department of Energy-sponsored Clean Cities Conference in Washington, D.C, GM announced a joint-development with Toyota for a common inductive charging system, a move towards standardization which should hasten the proliferation of public charging sites. Says GM's Purcell: "The viability of the electric vehicle will rapidly improve as the industry develops a common infrastructure."
That couldn't happen fast enough for Trexler, or for other ardent EV1 supporters like television producer Marvin Rush, who commandeered several actors from the Star Trek: Voyager television series, self-produced, personally paid for, and ran a series of four 60-second radio commercials for the EV1 on L.A. radio. Trexler, as he looked out over the Grand Canyon during an early stop in his journey, was saddened to see the Canyon blanketed with smog, blown in from Las Vegas, Phoenix, and distant Los Angeles. "This is what it is all about," he said. "This can't continue."
Details of Trexler's Charge Across America, including EV1 information, planning, logistics, and a day-by-day trip log and diary, can be accessed on the World Wide Web, at www.ev1.pair.com. The site contains a wealth of interesting information, numerous photographs, and personal anecdotes and observations.
All trademarks are those of their respective
owners. The Charge Across America was not
sponsored or promoted by General Motors Corporation. However, GM's cooperation and
the enthusiastic reception of GM employees is specifically noted.