Trademark Suggests GM Looking to Tap into EV1 Nostalgia with “AV1”

GM Inside News has uncovered a trademark application from GM for the name “AV1.” Though the application is still under review, the name would apply to motor vehicles and may hint at a future Cruise Automation product.

Known informally as the Cruise AV (short for autonomous vehicle), GM is looking to create a fleet of driverless cars based on the Chevrolet Bolt. A commercial ride-hailing service with no drivers would get rid of one of those services’ biggest expenses.

The name, if indeed it is to applied to Cruise’s autonomous car, harkens back to GM’s electric Bolt-predecessor from the ‘90s.

The EV1, as it was known, went into production in 1996 and by 1999, when production stopped, GM had produced more than 1,100 units at its Lansing Craft Center.

Although production was limited and it was exclusively made available through a lease-only agreement, the EV1 was well received. Even now, the car’s performance is impressive. With an AC induction electric motor churning out 137 hp and a 26.4 kWh battery (in later models) that could return 160 miles on a charge, its performance is not wildly different from some of today’s electric vehicles.

That made GM’s decision to crush all but a few of the EV1s controversial, though it argued that the cost of producing spare parts (batteries had to be replaced every 450 discharges) to keep them on the road was too high. It may have been that abrupt end that minted the car’s legacy, though.

GM’s autonomous vehicles are currently testing in California, Arizona, and Michigan. The company plans to deploy a fleet of them in 2019, as a commercial ride-sharing pilot program making a name a priority.

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