The GM EV1 was nothing short of General Motors’ first major effort in modern all-electric vehicles, with models like the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq arguably owing something of a debt to the streamlined little hatchback. Interestingly, The General secretly had another body style for the EV1 in the works – a two-seat roadster. Which begs the question – what if GM actually produced a GM EV1 roadster?
Per a report from The Autopian, former GM employee Jim Deidun was responsible for overseeing the GM EV1 roadster project. First joining GM as a mock-up technician in 1990 at GM’s Tech Center, Deidun was quickly promoted to manager at the prototyping shop responsible for the development of GM’s all-electric vehicle projects. As such, Deidun oversaw the GM EV1 from inception to final product, and although GM’s official plan was to build a two-door hatchback, there were other body styles in the mix as well, including a four-seater, and even a roadster version.
According to Deidun, the roadster was actually developed in secret, without the involvement of GM’s design staff. The project was initiated by the director of electric vehicle engineering, who asked Deidun if his team could build a GM EV1 roadster model without design staff support.
The roadster project went ahead with a 1/10 scale mockup, which eventually received approval for the fabrication of a full-scale model – all without input from the corporate design staff. Unfortunately, a design staff employee eventually caught wind of the covert project, and the next day, the EV1 roadster project was given the axe. Although Deidun secretly kept the incomplete GM EV1 roadster build in storage for 10 years, it’s believed the early build was eventually scrapped after he left the company in 2009.
GM eventually halted production of the GM EV1 in 1999, officially canceling the program in 2003, stating that the vehicles were unprofitable. A total of 1,117 units were produced. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to think about what the project would have looked like had a two-door roadster joined the lineup.