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interview > eberhard > eberhard 2

Eberhard 2 (1:29)
Topic(s): Car Culture / Electric & Hybrid / Government
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Eberhard

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We'll, there's a couple of periods of electric car history. There's the hundred-year-old electric cars and those are interesting from a historical perspective but don't have a lot of bearing on today's market. After the gasoline crisis of the 1970s, a whole crop of small electric car companies came around and they were for the most part small companies making very, very low-cost cars and not much different than a golf cart with a body on it; not particularly interesting except to the real enthusiasts. The next big period of electric cars was during the 1990s when we had the zero-emissions mandate here in California that obliged the larger car companies to all make electric cars available to the public and they were for the most part electric drives put into existing gasoline powered cars and were, again, not particularly nice cars. The EV-1 was, maybe, an exception to that. It was a purpose-built electric car that was better than any production electric car that was ever built before. Even so, it had its limitations. So, when I look back at all those electric cars, at least since the 1970s, they all had the feeling to me of cars that were made by people who thought of driving as a necessary evil. You should walk, you should take the bus, you should take your bicycle and if you must drive, then a utilitarian vehicle is all you need. And maybe that's in an ideal world that's the right answer. But we live in this world not some ideal world. We have to make cars that people want to buy or they won't succeed.

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