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GM EV1 Skeleton Sells for Nearly $24,000

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A gray 1999 GM EV1
Photo: RightBrainPhotography via CC

How much would you be willing to pay for an electric vehicle? For example, the 2020 Chevy Bolt EV — one of the best on the market — starts at $42,505. Now, how much would you fork over if the whole interior was removed, there was no motor, wheels, frame, hood, or trunk? If your answer is $23,662, then you’re probably part of the group that recently purchased the skeleton of a GM EV1 early in April.

Reintroducing the GM EV1

If you don’t have any idea what the GM EV1 is, don’t worry. The oddly Jetsonsesque car was only produced from 1996 to 1999, and just 1,117 models ever saw the road. GM did its best to collect and destroy every active unit, due in part to safety concerns and the fact that spare parts were no longer available.

Don’t worry, this one has wheels and a motor: The 2020 Bolt EV

However, the GM EV1 represents an interesting part of automotive history, especially as the industry races toward an electric future. In fact, the GM EV1 was the first mass-produced electric vehicle from a major player in the industry. Between its significance in the modern era and its rarity, the high price makes a bit more sense.

Preserving a legacy

Thankfully, the bones of this important — if not successful — vehicle went to a place that will honor its legacy. According to Autoblog, the winning bid came from The Beata Electric Motor Carriage Collection; a Colorado-based organization that collects EVs for the purposes of preservation, testing, education, and more.

Fascinatingly, Beata is also interested in restoring as many bygone EVs as possible. They’re currently about 80 percent done rebuilding the GM EV1 and have at least a dozen other projects in the works, including a Chevrolet S-10 Electric — an early electric pickup.

Even though 80 percent sounds like great progress, the sheer scarcity of components may make the rebuilding process difficult. So far, Beata’s success is due to acquiring more than 50 individual parts, but they’re still looking for more to complete the project. Their site says, “The Beata EV1 is usually in some sort of flux, building and/or rebuilding one system or another. Currently, we are working on RXT-G-style series-hybrid modifications, as well as several other wiring and systems projects.”

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Here’s hoping that The Beata Electric Motor Carriage Company can restore this relic to its former glory, and preserve the symbol of a major moment in the history of electric vehicles.