There's an awful lot of hubbub surrounding the 2010 Chevy Volt, and rightfully so: GM is
whipping us over the head with PR talking up a mostly electric car that may actually be useful in the real world. This, of course, doesn't mean they haven't built EV's before. Everyone remembers the GM EV1, an experiment which was eventually pried from public hands and shredded to avoid the crushing liabilities of used cars. But few remember its predecessor, the 1973 GM Urban Electric.
In a piece of beautifully symmetric history, the Urban Electric was developed for the First Symposium On Low Pollution Power Systems Development held, basically, in the parking lot of an Ann Arbor, Michigan Marriott. The ultra-mini around-town runabout came in two wacky, Barris-inspired varieties as well: one with with a space-age lifting canopy entrance, and the other with an open-top featuring an Isetta-like swinging front door. As you can see, the Urban Electric had all the creature comforts the 1970's could offer — metallic paint, loads of plastic and chrome doo-dads on the interior, enough room to fit two stuffy-suited middle managers and even a curbside battery charger — the luxury! Expect to see the unveiling of the 2009 GM Urban Electric Car at the Second Symposium On Low Pollution Power Systems Development next year. [LostBrain and Wikipedia]