My Car Quest

June 16, 2021

1966 GM Electrovair II Electric Car – GM Could Have Been The World Leader In Electric Car Technology

by Mike

In 1966 General Motors experimented with an electric car based on the 1966 Corvair called the Electrovair II. It was powered by a silver zinc battery pack located in the front and the rear producing 532 volts.

GM Electrovair II Electric Car

GM Electrovair II Electric Car

Silver zinc was chosen because it delivered high peak power but the batteries wore out after 100 recharges and were expensive. The batteries powered a 115 horsepower AC-Induction motor that produced about the same performance as a gas powered Corvair except that the range was only 40-80 miles. The top speed was 80 MPH.

GM Electrovair II Electric Car

GM Electrovair II Electric Car

The Electrovair II weighed 800 pounds more than a regular Corvair and there were gauges on the dashboard for monitoring volts and amps.

GM Electrovair II Electric Car

GM Electrovair II Electric Car

This was just an experiment but one has to wonder where would they be if GM had continued developing electric car technology since 1966?

GM Electrovair II Electric Car interior

With the advanced electric cars that Tesla has developed from scratch – imagine what GM could have done if they would have funded this development and stuck with it since 1966.

GM Electrovair II Electric Car logo

These photos were taken at the Marin Sonoma Councours d’Elegance on May 15, 2011 by Michael Menetto. A version of this article was originally published in June 2011.

GM Electrovair II Electric Car

GM Electrovair II Electric Car


  1. Grifo4me says

    My family had a Corvair growing up and that front trunk was massive, it needed a bit of weight up there too, so this is a good candidate for a EV. I bet it could travel farther than a modern GM volt. Lets see the Corvair turbine car.

  2. Is there a reason my article stopped at ” 115 horsepower AC-Induction motor that produced about the”
    Sounded like a very interesting article, but I won’t be paying $3/month anytime soon.

    • BigGar,

      You received only part of this article because it is a Premium Article and apparently you have not signed up for the My Car Quest Membership.

      It is a very interesting article that can be read by all My Car Quest Members who pay only $2.99 per month for full access to all of the Premium Articles (not $3 per month).

      Non-Members have free access to non-Premium Articles.

  3. David Ince says

    Pinterest does not recognize me as my E-Mail address?

  4. georgeg20 says

    Perhaps as a big business, GM did not feel comfortable stepping on another big business – the oil companies. Just a thought…

    • But the oil companies are much much bigger than the car companies.

      The US car companies have almost gone under at a time when the oil companies are setting all time record profits for any company in any industry.

      Seems to me the car companies lost sight of their purpose.

      • georgeg20 says

        I’m thinking about back then… Perhaps it was not a “voluntary” decision to cease research on electric powered cars. BTW, GM came back some 20 years later with an EV1 that, although much more successful than the Electrovair, met the same fate.

    • oldevguy says

      As a long time EV owner I have always felt that the American auto makers didn’t want to lose all that revenue they get from servicing ICE cars. About all service an EV needs is tire rotation and fluid levels checked once a year for the first 5-8 years depending on milage per year. JMHO, Dave

  5. Steve Withers says

    GM don’t really innovate. Not the guys at the top. Maybe some engineers had some fun with this project….but at GM it never had a future. Much like the EV1 in the 1990s. They did it to pay lip service to California’s zero emissions regs while at the same time moving heaven and earth to get those regs overturned. Once that was done…….no more EV1.

    GM is your “Me, too” car maker.

    Tesla is showing what a company with vision can do…..and to some extent, so is Nissan with the LEAF. They were selling a pure EV 5 years ago.

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