General Motors Impact
General Motors Impact

Forgotten Concepts, Forgotten Concepts This is an installment in a series of posts looking back on show cars that we feel deserved a little more attention than they got. If you have a suggestion for a Forgotten Concept topic, please shoot us a line or leave a comment below.

Forgotten Concept: General Motors Impact

First Shown: 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show

Description: Electric-car prototype

Sales Pitch: “A Sunraycer for the real world.”

More Forgotten Concepts

General Motors Impact
General Motors Impact


First seen at the 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show, the GM Impact was a concept-car precursor to the maker’s pioneering EV-1 electric car. The Impact, which was driven by then GM CEO Roger Smith as part of the introductory presentation, was a small, 2-seat, hatchback, featuring an extremely aerodynamic profile and lightweight composite structure.

Per GM, the impact was designed applying technology developed for the maker’s Sunraycer solar-powered experimental race car, which won the World Solar Challenge in 1987.

The Impact was powered by 32 Delco lead-acid batteries, and per GM, with 110-horsepower on tap, would acceleration to 60 mph from a stop in under 10 seconds. The Impact was said to be good for 125-miles of range.

Though the Impact was claimed to weigh just over 2000 pounds, the production EV-1 came in at close to 3100.

Forgotten Concept: Chevrolet Electrovette

General Motors Impact
General Motors Impact

CG Says:

It’s interesting how the excitement surrounding the Impact was largely lost by the time the production EV-1 hit the market for the 1997 model year. Sadly, some of the Impact’s specs were dulled by the transition to becoming a street-legal production car. And, the realities of driving a tiny 2-seat car with just 74 miles of range—and which could only be purchased in limited warm-weather markets—certainly put a damper on things.

But the EV-1’s failure shouldn’t lessen the importance of the Impact. Credit Impact engineers for packaging both extreme aerodynamics and regenerative braking in a single package which was reportedly comfortable and fun to drive. Looking back, the only thing the Impact/EV-1 was really missing was more advanced batteries—which were still 15 years off.

Forgotten Concept: Mercury Marauder Convertible

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General Motors Impact Gallery

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Forgotten Concept: Briggs & Stratton Hybrid

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