In today’s world, Electric Vehicles are absolutely the future of transportation. Motorola’s automotive division had the fully functional electric car built in the 1990s as proof of concept. One of these, a Corvette C4 battery-powered Corvette C4, was found abandoned in a garage close to Motorola’s former Illinois headquarters.
The General Motors EV1 was not the only battery-powered vehicle made in the 1990s. However, Toyota and Ford released the RAV4 and Ranger EVs as electric versions of their compact SUVs and trucks. However, other companies were experimenting with e–mobility at the same time. Surprisingly Motorola’s automotive division produced an e-Vette prototype in 1992. It converted a Chevy Corvette C4 to a fully-battery-powered sports car long before Elon Musk had even considered it.
The electric Vette, which was found languishing in an Illinois garage recently, was part of a larger Motorola Automotive project that had other prototypes battery-powered as a feasibility study. Motorola had plenty of cash from its cell phone business and various patents. In addition, Motorola’s first PowerMac featured a Motorola processor, and Moto had a line for servers running Windows NT under its brand. In addition, the new generation BMW M5 is right around the corner and will come with massive changes.
Motorola was serious about its electric car project and wanted it to remain secret. Documentation of the car revealed that Motorola forbade engineers from working on the battery or plugging the vehicle in when visitors were present. The batteries have been lost since the car was abandoned in the cold by its previous owner during an Illinois winter. It is also unknown what the RWD electric motor specifications or the battery pack specifications were.
According to the “EV Power” sheet, the electric Motorola Vette was capable of 428 HP at 320V and 1000A, which may have been purely theoretical at the time. A stock Corvette transmission with an overdrive is used to drive the retrofitted vehicle. In addition, GM is en route to an all-electric future.
The directions for driving the electric Motorola car are provided. Engineers tried to make it as easy as possible. With the warning that the throttle should not be touched while they turn on the ignition switch, the driver would still need to activate the car’s engine. The driver didn’t have to push the clutch to turn the car on or off, but they could shift gears as the vehicle moved.
The only way to tell the Motorola Evette apart from a regular C4 was to look at the license plates ending in “EL.” This is an electric car requirement that Illinois has kept up until 2020. Behind the stock, the gas fuel door was also hidden in the NEMA L10 charging connector.
The electric Vette salvage yard owner is looking to sell it to a museum or someone who would like to make it roadworthy in tribute to Motorola’s pioneering electric car efforts during the 1990s.