Back in 1996, GM came out with the EV1, one of the most successful mass produced electric cars. Toyota and Honda too launched the RAV4-EV and EV+ respectively. Over 1100 EV1’s were produced and leased out to their happy lessees, with hundreds more waiting patiently on the lists.
Then in 2002, almost suddenly, GM decided to call back all its electric cars and to discontinue the production of electric cars. Amidst customer protests, GM decided recall and scrap all the EV1 cars, stating not enough public interest electric cars to ever make them profitable. Quite a dubious claim, given that there were thousands on the waiting lists for their electric cars.
Why then did these big car companies pull the plug on electric vehicles, even though they showed significant potential? They succumbed to pressure: Pressure from the multi-billion oil industry, pressure from the spare-part industry which felt threatened by electric cars (which have almost no moving parts apart from the motor), but most importantly pressure from itself. Electric cars posed a threat to the whole model of the Auto Industry, and a change to which they were not prepared.