Electrovair II

In 1966, Chevrolet created the Electrovair II concept car. It was an all-electric car that would go 40-80 miles before recharging, and had a top speed of 80 mph. Note that a specialized  silver zinc battery pack was used.

This promotional film details the engineering features and technological advancements of the Electrovair II, an electrically powered version of the second generation Chevrolet Corvair built by General Motors Research Laboratories as it tours the Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan.


The following was written by Bill Bowman

The battery-powered 1966 Electrovair II concept was a test bed for motor and control developments. Its power source was a silver zinc battery pack, in a 532-volt array, located in the front and rear compartments of a 1966 Corvair Monza sport sedan. Silver zinc batteries were used because they delivered high peak power and provided good energy storage but they were costly and were worn out after 100 recharges.

The battery pack was connected to a 115 horsepower AC-Induction motor that produced approximately the same performance as a conventional gasoline powered Corvair, except for its limited range of 40-80 miles before recharging. A tank full of gasoline would propel a Corvair 250-300 miles. Top speed was 80 m.p.h.

Electrovair II’s total weight was approximately 800 lbs. more than a Corvair, even with the comparatively light and compact silver zinc battery pack. If it were propelled by conventional lead acid batteries, the batteries alone would weigh more than 2,600 lbs., approximately the total weight of a standard Corvair.

Some of the touches that set the Electrovair dash apart from the production car are large gauges for monitoring volts and amps occupy the space normally reserved for the radio and the in-dash gear selector has no “L” for low.
From the GM Heritage Center 

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