GM Impact Specifications

      ^ Dimensions ^

      Wheelbase                95.0 IN.
      Length                   163.0 IN.
      Width                    68.2 IN.
      Height                   47.5 IN.
      Curb Weight              2200 LBS.
      Aerodynamic
      drag coefficient         0.19

      ^ Performance ^

      Motor speed at 60 mph    9500 rpm
      Top Speed                Electronically limited to 75 MPH

      ^ General Data: ^
      Motors (2)               AC induction
      Horsepower               114 BHP (57 BHP each motor)
      Torque                   94 total LB-FT
      Electronic Control Type  Dual MOSFET inverters
      Maximum current          159 AMPS RMS to each motor
      Frequency range          0-500 HZ
      Battery charger          Computer-controlled, integral
                               with dual inverter package
      Batteries                32, 1O VOLT Delco-Remy recombinant
                               lead-acid batteries, wired in series
      Capacity                 42.5 AMP-HOUR, 13.6 KWH
      Drivetrain               Front-wheel drive, one motor per wheel
      Tires                    Low-rolling resistance radials
      Tire size                P 165/65 R-14
      Wheels                   14 X 4 IN. forged aluminum
      Steering                 Rack-and-pinion
      Suspension               Two control arms per wheel, coil
                               springs, gas pressure shock absorbers

Solar Cells

Some electric cars are equipped with solar cells located on the roof of the car, similar to a sunroof. These cells are used to collect sunlight and convert it into energy. The solar cell is used to augment the existing recharging system.

Shocking Developments

The first electric-powered road vehicle is believed to have been built in Scotland about 1839 by Robert Anderson, but it, along with others within the next several years, were generally unsuccessful. The steamer had to wait for a boiler to build up pressure and was very noisy besides. The concept of an electrical engine that could start immediately and run quietly was very attractive at that time. There were disadvantages, however. Electric batteries were heavy, bulky, unreliable, and needed recharging after a short run. In 1880, there was a general improvement in the development of longer-lasting batteries. There still existed, however, excessive weight and bulk of the batteries and a need for frequent rechargings, although electric cabs appeared on the streets of London in the late 1800s. Steamers and electric vehicles gained only restricted acceptance on the continent as well. In France, the electric had a shining, brief hour of public acclaim when Camille Jenatzy, driving a Jeantaud electric, pushed the cigar-shaped vehicle to a record of sixty miles per hour on April 29, 1899. The high-speed run, however, burned out the specially fabricated batteries and the interest in electrics died almost as soon as the cheers of the attending public. It was in America that steamers and electric cars gained their most sustained measure of success. Eventually twenty different U.S. car companies would produce electrics; and in the peak of popularity, 1912, nearly 35,000 were operating on American roads. But even America could not shake the limitations of the bulky batteries and the short ranges between recharging. Steamers were actually more popular. More than 100 American plants were making steamers, the most famous of which were the Stanley brothers factory in Newton, Massachusetts. The "Stanley Steamer" had the affectionate nickname, "The Flying Teapot," and with good reason. In 1906, a Stanley Steamer was clocked at 127.6 miles per hour on the sands of Ormond Beach, Florida. In spite of this, the steamers, along with the electrics, were only living on borrowed time. Experiments were being made on an automobile powered by a gasoline-fueled, internal-combustion engine, and the steamers and electrics would not survive the impact of the coming collision. Internal-combustion automobiles did not just burst forth on the scene all of a sudden to crowd the electrics and steamers off the road. The theories of internal-combustion engines had been on the way ever since 1860, when Etienne Lenoir applied to the authorities in Paris for a patent on his invention, an internal-combustion engine powered by coal gas. Two years later, Lenoir hooked his engine to a carriage, and, although it was crude, it worked. It worked so poorly and so slowly (about one mile an hour), however, that he became discouraged and abandoned his efforts. In 1864, a resourceful Austrian in Vienna, Siegfried Marcus, built a one-cylinder engine that incorporated a crude carburetor and a magneto arrangement to create successive small explosions that applied alternating pressure against the piston within the cylinder. Bolting his engine to a cart, Siegfried geared the piston to the rear wheels, and while a strong assistant lifted the rear of the cart off the ground, Siegfried started the engine. The wheels began to turn and continued to turn with each successive "pop." Marcus signaled the assistant to lower the cart and watched it burp along for about 500 feet before it ran out of fuel. Ten years later, he built the new, improved version of his motorcar, and then, mysteriously washed his hands of the entire thing, saying it was a waste of time. (The second model, which is preserved in an Austrian museum, was refurbished and taken for a test run in Vienna in 1950. It reached a top speed of ten miles per hour on level ground.) Although Lenoir and Marcus did not have the grit and determination to pursue their enterprises, they made some valuable contributions to the theory of internal-combustion engines. It would be overstating the case to credit them with the creation of the internal-combustion automobile, however.

Electric Landspeed Lady

Camille Jenatzy, of France, drove a Jeantaud electric a record of sixty miles an hour on April 29, 1899. The high speed, however, burned out both the specially fabricated batteries and French interest in electric cars.